13 Best Practices for Engaging and Retaining Mobile App Users

Members of the Young Entrepreneur Council offer some effective ways to keep users coming back to your mobile app.
Young Entrepreneur Council
Expert Contributor
January 7, 2021
Updated: January 8, 2021
Young Entrepreneur Council
Expert Contributor
January 7, 2021
Updated: January 8, 2021
mobile web engagement
Top row, from left: Fritz Colcol, Matt Bertram, Jared Atchison. Second row, from left: Kelly Richardson, Solomon Thimothy, Chris Christoff, Tony SCherba. Third row, from left: Amine Rahal, Blair Williams, Thomas Griffin. Bottom row, from left: Syed Balkhi, Stephanie Wells, Daisy Jing.

Everyone with a smartphone or tablet uses mobile apps, and businesses have increasingly seen the value in creating their own. Despite this popularity, it’s hard to stand out in crowded app stores where many competitors are doing the same thing.

Even if you do get people to download your app, the real challenge lies in getting them to come back and continue using it. To help, we asked 13 members of the Young Entrepreneur Council how they recommend engaging and retaining mobile app users. Here are their suggested strategies and why each is so effective.

1. Create an Efficient, Beautiful User Interface

Its all about efficiency and beautiful UI. If the app’s user interface is beautiful and easy to use, then users will engage a lot more. TikTok and Instagram are both prime examples of this principle. They have the most engaged mobile app users at all times worldwide! Why? Because of how easy they are to use. Even children or older, less-tech-savvy adults are able to use them. Plus, they have sleek designs. —Fritz Colcol, ABN Circle

2. Improve Readability and Navigation

To be engaging on mobile, your website should be responsive. Everything should be formatted to fit all versions. If users have trouble navigating a mobile site because of giant picture ads or walls of text, they will immediately look elsewhere. To get readers to stay, the mobile view should catch their attention, be clear and concise and have quick load times. —Matt Bertram, EWR Digital

3. Take Advantage of Influencer Marketing

To better engage mobile users, you can try using influencer marketing. Influencers on social media have a lot of power when it comes to encouraging action from their followers. If they promote your products or content, you can easily boost brand visibility and drive traffic to your mobile app. —Jared Atchison, WPForms

4. Remove Intrusive or Low-Quality Experiences

Have you ever downloaded an app that felt very fake? This problem can lead to lower rates of engagement and, eventually, uninstallation. With the high potential for online crimes, people should feel protected and safe when they use your application. Practices like avoiding irrelevant and disturbing ads, poor page navigation, too many notifications and bad visuals should be fixed prior to the apps release. —Kelly Richardson, Infobrandz

5. Build a Community

Mobile apps are so common now that creating one is easier than ever before. Once you build the app, you also need to create a community of users so that there’s a reason for it to stay on a persons phone. Even if its a utility app, you can have a troubleshooting forum to create a community that supports the purpose of your app. Engage with this community to learn about necessary improvements and get feedback to increase numbers and retain users. —Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

6. Complete a Mobile Design Overhaul

Youre going to have a hard time engaging mobile users if your site isnt optimized. I suggest doing a full overhaul of your mobile design and testing the process on different devices before it goes live. Most mobile users will leave your page if they cant easily navigate your site and click various links and buttons. This small change can dramatically improve engagement and retention. —Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

7. Map the User Journey

Its incredibly important to document the expected life cycle of a user when you are building an app. Someone will come to your app for a reason. Once they have solved their immediate problem, you must continue giving them value, or theyll leave. Do user interviews to understand what your app can continue to provide and document it well as you design. —Tony Scherba, Yeti

8. Optimize Your App Store Listing

Practice app store optimization, or ASO. When creating your listing for app stores, make sure you write a compelling, descriptive title with a preview video and keyword-loaded description. This way, your app is more likely to rank higher when folks search for apps in your niche or industry. —Amine Rahal, IronMonk Solutions

9. Add a Social Aspect

If you can add a social aspect to your app, then youre far more likely to engage users. Encourage users to add friends and to share some kind of information with them. Since people are drawn to social interactions, adding a social feature will make your app more attractive and something users will want to check on time and again. —Blair Williams, MemberPress

10. Offer Incentives

The most important way to engage your mobile app users is to offer incentives. It can be a free e-book, an infographic or anything similar. People love such content because its focused on problem-solving and comes for free. —Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

11. Leverage Push Notifications

When used correctly, push notifications can be a welcome form of communication to customers. You can update them on shipping and deliveries, discounts on products they liked and more. Push notifications are made to be user-friendly and to fit on a mobile screen. Since theyre intuitive and can provide information users actually want, theyre a powerful tool to leverage. —Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

12. Collect Consistent Feedback

You need to consistently collect feedback from your users to see what they have to say about the experience on your app. You can do this with pop-ups, email surveys, conversational surveys and more. Too many businesses fail to reach out to their mobile app users and, as a result, they dont get the performance they were hoping for. —Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

13. Create a Seamless User Experience

Make everything a breeze. Don’t ask for a lot of details when someone is creating an account, make the app load faster images and videos, make the checkout easy, have push notifications that will remind people that they have this app and so forth. The app should be so good the user wont opt to use the browser anymore. Stop adding so many ads, and make it simple. —Daisy Jing, Banish

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