Every mobile app has engagement problems. Yes, every. On average, apps lose about 80% of their mobile audience over time. But no one likes to be average- do you? Luckily you don’t have to be. There are a lot of tactics you can employ to re-engage mobile app users without spending any money.

To make your mobile product a naturally engaging experience that attracts persistent usage, you eventually have to start pinpointing problem areas and looking at solutions. The following list of mobile app re-engagement strategies is designed to solve your product’s problems organically, at the root of its issues.


1. Focus on Your Email List

Email is one of the most reliable forms of “insurance” that you have against losing your users’ attention. Because, once you’ve captured your audience’s best email addresses, you will always “own your email list,” meaning that your email list is actually yours to keep (at least until your app is sold).

This provides you with an excellent way to actively engage and re-engage your users before they forget about using your product. Maintaining an email re-engagement strategy will also provide you with a “last resort” shot at re-converting users in case they decide to uninstall your product. And finally, this should go without saying, but building an email list is also an excellent way to limit your dependence on Apple or Android for managing user re-engagement.

To start building a mobile app re-engagement strategy via email, you can use a general email marketing tool like Mailchimp, which is effective and free for start-ups to use. Meanwhile, more advanced email tools will allow you to automatically email users who haven’t interacted with your product in a number of days, re-engage users according to their geolocation and interests, and carry out many other high-level tactics that can seriously increase your retention.

tripadvisor email
Tripadvisor’s ingenious behavioral report email to re-engage users. Source: Unbounce.com

2. Get Personal

Personalization is the act of building one-on-one relationships with your users through your mobile product. And, if your mobile app isn’t already designed to provide users with the level of personalization and service they would receive while staying at a Four Seasons, this could be a reason why you aren’t piquing your audience’s interest.

Everyone loves hearing their own name. But, personally greeting your users each time that they use your product is only the beginning of in-app personalization. To completely personalize your mobile app, you can also suggest micro-targeted products that your users might be interested in purchasing (in the case of Amazon), or show your users recently viewed deep links that they could have forgotten about (as per Airbnb’s “recently viewed” vacation rental listings). Personalizing your product sometimes even requires the gamification of your UX and taking your user’s geolocation into consideration, as you can see with Snapchat’s geofilters, which act as location-specific picture overlays.

By filling your mobile app with highly-contextual greetings, services, products, and information for your users, you will almost certainly be able to create a five-star environment that millennials and Generation Z users tend to respond really well to.

Amazon personalization


3. Diversify Your Social Media Strategy for the Long Run

Building a social media presence is an amazing opportunity to re-engage your users organically, as long as you maintain profiles across multiple social networks. Go where your users spend most of their time, and begin building your brand’s presence on each of those platforms.

This is what top grossing apps like Clash of Clans and Big Fish Casino have done to maximize their social reach on multiple fronts. Diversifying your brand’s presence on social media will help you re-engage your audience on multiple social networks, while also limiting your dependence on any single social platform for organic traffic. There is always the chance that your favorite social media platform of choice will shift to a primarily paid advertising strategy, so it’s best to keep your options for organic social traffic wide open.

It’s for this reason that you should also anticipate what the future of social media has in store, and prepare your app with a diversified and long-term social media strategy that keeps your brand on the edge of social trends. You never know when the next big organic opportunity will come in social media, either. And thanks to social sharing tools like Hootsuite and Buffer, you can even blast your social media posts across the most important six or seven social platforms to cover all of your bases. Don’t forget to consider including valuable apps like Snapchat as part of your social media re-engagement strategy too. Snapchat is consistently being used by Generation Z and millennial-aged mobile users, and the company is pushing hard to overtake traditionally popular social networks in terms of daily usage. It certainly appears that social chat apps like Snapchat is where the future of user re-engagement may lie.

Snapchat provides brands with a powerful platform for re-engaging younger mobile users, but provides less reach to more established demographics that hold greater buying power Source: comScore Mobile Metrix
Snapchat provides brands with a powerful platform for re-engaging younger mobile users, but provides less reach to more established demographics that hold greater buying power Source: comScore Mobile Metrix


4. Be Strategic about Your Push Notifications

Depending on your app’s category, your audience could respond very well to receiving push notifications, or they could view push notifications with hostility. Either way, the point of sending strategic push notifications to re-engage your users remains the same:

It’s in your own best interest to offer lots of value in your push notifications, in the form of a simple message, deep link, offer, reward, or any other incentive that appeals to your users’ self-interest on a contextual level. It’s also important that you give users value without any expectations of reciprocation, as this is normally how you’ll create the best environment for re-engaging users in your app.

Because, if users feel that you need them to engage with your product, they won’t give in. Users don’t care about what you want. They simply want your push notifications to “be worth it.” So, give your people exactly what they want, even if it requires over-delivering. Just don’t come across as needing something from them. That’s exactly how you’ll be able to re-engage your audience using push notifications the right way.

MyFitnessPal Push Notifications
MyFitnessPal’s push notification strategy is helpful and non-intrusive – a great style that you too can use. Source: Littlebigdetails.com


5. Take an Objective Look at Your UX

It’s no secret that the best re-engagement strategy of all requires having a compelling product in the first place. And, while good mobile apps deliver a wide range of emotions, solve pains, and entertain users, great mobile apps do all of these things plus more. Great mobile apps do all of these things and they build new habits, gain organic referral traffic, and naturally keep users engaged throughout the long-term. The reason for this is as simple as you probably believe it to be. People genuinely love mobile apps that make their life better.

The reality is that most apps aren’t great. This is absolutely healthy to accept, since building a compelling mobile product is usually a long and draining process that should be respected. It’s challenging to get your product to a point where people will actually want to keep your app installed. But once you make it to that point, it will all be worth it.

To get your UX on par with world-class mobile products, you have to look at your UX objectively, preferably under the lense of real-life people who actually use your product. This can only be done with a qualitative analytics tool that allows you to see how your users are actually experiencing your app. Using this kind of qualitative analytics platform will provide you with the opportunity to get to the root of your product’s problems, and fix whatever “disconnect” your app may be having. There is always something in every mobile product that can be improved, and you should always take an active approach to solving your UX’s underlying issues rather than a passive one.

user recordings appsee
Appsee’s qualitative analytics allow you to see how users are actually experiencing your app.


Wrap Up

Overall, if you can implement these five strategies in your own brand’s strategy, you will have an actionable plan to re-engage your mobile app users organically. And best of all, you will also be taking progressive steps towards solving your app’s engagement issues at its core, rather than ignoring them or worse – giving up. We all face challenges in the mobile app economy, but re-engagement doesn’t have to be one of them if you simply attack it early on.

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