Despite the millions of apps currently on the market, the number in regular use is actually quite small. TechCrunch reports that nearly a quarter of app downloaders abandon their new acquisition after the first use, while nearly two thirds give up before the tenth. Apps in the middle stages of their development – stable and viable, but with new features rolling out and frequent changes to functions – tend to do better, but as the app reaches peak functionality, customer usage actually dies off.
Here are seven steps you can take to reverse the trend, and retain users by keeping your app at the front of their minds.
- Offer value. Apps must actually solve a problem experienced by users. All the bells and whistles in the world are useless if the app doesn’t address a specific need. Ask yourself “why do people need my app?” – if you don’t have an answer, ask if an app is really what your users need in the first place.
- Offer ease of access. The harder it is to start using an app, the less likely it is to be used. Mandatory logging-in with a password that you can’t see while typing it on a touchscreen is not a great user experience. Streamline your security process to get rid of that first alienating stage, and don’t force users to repeatedly input security data where this isn’t necessary. Make sure images and menus scale to different devices, and – this is one many developers forget – don’t clutter your interface with too many buttons.
- Offer a smooth user experience. Apps which are awkward, counter-intuitive or just plain unattractive will be deleted from users’ homescreens. Design your app with usability in mind – remember, people are using your app because they want something, so help them to get it with the minimum of fuss.
- Use push messaging – but not too much. A push message is an invitation to a lapsed user (“hey, remember this app you haven’t used for a while?”) but it’s also an intrusion on their day (“yeah, I stopped using it because it bugged me…”). Learn how to push message effectively and with caution – then go for it.
- In-app messaging. As above, so below. In-app messages can prompt users toward features they’ve forgotten or options they don’t know they have, but don’t invite them to a live chat when they just want to check a fact and get on with their day – and don’t hide the feature they were trying to use.
- Set user expectations. Promising the earth and failing to deliver it is bound to leave your app abandoned. It’s better to do one thing well. Efficiency and reliability will keep the users coming back.
- Listen to feedback. If your users have something to say about your app, listen to them and respond appropriately. You can pre-empt the feedback too, by keeping an eye on best practice. Stay abreast of trends and you’ll know what new apps are training your users to expect from yours.
Calvium build beautiful, intelligent apps for forward-thinking brands. Working closely with heritage, engineering and agency groups, we provide award-winning app development that drives customer engagement and boosts innovation in business.
Peacock via Flickr under CC license 2.0