What is app engagement? 6 effective tactics to drive user retention

Sara Ana Cemazar
January 12, 2023
min read

Our daily lives now rely heavily on mobile apps, with millions of people using them for everything from messaging and social media to shopping and entertainment. 

However, with so many apps available, it can be challenging to stand out and attract a large and engaged user base. This is where app engagement comes in.

Data plays a crucial role in interpreting app engagement. By tracking engagement metrics, companies can make data-driven decisions to improve the app and increase conversion rates. With over 230 billion apps downloaded in 2020, the potential for conversions is enormous. Companies need to track engagement data to take full advantage of these opportunities.

In this article, we'll dive deeper into the topic of app engagement, exploring what it is, its measurement tactics, and optimization. Whether you're a mobile app developer, marketer, or business owner, read on to learn how to create a more engaging and profitable app.

What is app engagement?

App engagement measures how much time and attention users spend interacting with your app. It's crucial to your mobile app's success because it directly impacts user retention and revenue. The more engaged your users are, the more likely they will continue using your app and make in-app purchases.

Measuring app engagement can be challenging, but several key metrics can clearly show how well your app is performing. These include things like active users, session length, and retention rate. These metrics can help you oversee your user engagement and problem areas to focus on. 

Additionally, app engagement can also be affected by various factors, such as the app's design, user experience, and features. For example:

  •  A well-designed and user-friendly app will likely have higher engagement levels compared to an app that is poorly designed or difficult to navigate.

  • Features that are relevant and useful to the user can also contribute to increased engagement. For example, incorporating game-like elements or personalization options can make the app more engaging and enjoyable for the user. 

Overall, app engagement is a multi-faceted concept that takes into account various aspects of the app, its design, and the user experience.

A breakdown of user retention rates

Here's a comparative study to better understand the average mobile app retention rates across different industries.

app engagement

So, according to the data, the finance apps have the highest retention rate on day 1, with 22.7%, and business apps come in second place with 24.5%. 

Creating a top-notch app is essential for companies looking to establish a long-term relationship with their audience. The user experience must be satisfying to keep customers engaged and loyal. 

However, even the most beautifully designed and developed app can fall short if it doesn't drive engagement.

Why app engagement matters for user retention?

Here’s a list of 5 aspects featuring how app engagement can play a crucial role:

1. Returning users

App engagement influences user retention because it directly impacts how likely users are to continue using your app.

When users are engaged with your app, they are more likely to return and spend more time using it. 

According to a study, app users in the US, on average, uninstall 43% of the apps they install on their phones after 30 days. This highlights the importance of retention for mobile app success. With such a high percentage of app uninstalls, mobile apps must focus on improving retention to establish long-term success. 

2. Catalyst for growth

So by focusing on user engagement, you can increase the likelihood that users will continue to use your app and become long-term, loyal users.

Additionally, active users are more likely to share their positive experiences with friends and family, leading to organic growth and increased user acquisition.

3. Improved in-app purchases

They are also more likely to make in-app purchases, resulting in increased revenue for the app. 

4. Enrich brand credibility

Furthermore, engaged users are more likely to provide positive reviews and ratings, which can improve the app's visibility and credibility in app stores.

5. Identify problematic areas

Understanding and improving app engagement can also help identify potential issues with the app, such as usability problems or lack of value proposition. App developers can make data-driven decisions by analyzing engagement metrics to improve the user experience and increase retention.

How can you measure app engagement?

Several key metrics can be used to measure app engagement, including:

1. Sessions

It is the number of times a user opens and uses your app. It's a good indicator of how often users access your app and how valuable it is to them. 

Understanding the number of sessions can help you identify usage patterns, such as peak usage times, and make informed decisions about when to push notifications or introduce new features.

2. Screen views

Screen views suggest the number of screens or pages a user views within a session. This metric can provide insights into the user's journey within the app and how they interact with different features. 

For example, if a user is viewing many pages within a single session, it may indicate that they are engaged and finding value in your app.

3. Stickiness

This metric is a measure of how often users return to your app. It is often calculated as the daily active users (DAU) percentage divided by the monthly active users (MAU).

A high stickiness ratio indicates that users regularly return to the app, while a low ratio suggests that users are not finding the app engaging enough to return to. A high stickiness ratio is a good indication of user loyalty and engagement.

4. Active users (daily & monthly)

It is the number of unique users who engage with your app daily or monthly. This metric is important for understanding the size of your user base and how it changes over time. Monitoring active users can identify trends in user acquisition, retention, and engagement.

5. Churn rate

The churn rate is the percentage of users who stop using your app over a certain period. High churn rates can indicate that users are not impressed by the app’s value or are encountering some issues. 

By tracking churn, you can identify and address issues causing users to lose interest in your app.

6. Conversions

It suggests the number of users completing a specific action or goal within your app, including making purchases or signing up for a service. This metric can provide insights into your app's effectiveness at driving user engagement and achieving business objectives. 

Also, you can identify which features and actions are most effective at driving user engagement and revenue by tracking conversions.

7. Session duration

Session duration is the amount of time users spend in your app during a single session. This metric can provide insights into how engaging and valuable users find your app. Longer session durations are generally considered a positive sign of user engagement. 

By tracking session duration, you can determine which features and actions are most engaging and make informed decisions about optimizing your app for user engagement.

6 crucial strategies to improve app engagement

We have compiled for you some effective strategies to consider for increasing user engagement in your app.

1. Setting the stage for success: Clearly define your app's purpose

The priority should be identifying the target audience and understanding their unique needs and pain points.

Ensure your app's value proposition is clearly communicated and that the app's features align with what the users are looking for.

This will help you attract users who are more likely to engage with your app and stick with it long-term. 

Additionally, focusing on the most critical features that align with your app's mission and purpose will ensure that users can quickly and easily find the value in your app.

2. First impressions matter: Optimize onboarding for long-term engagement

The onboarding process is the first impression that users have of your app, and it's crucial to make it as smooth and user-friendly as possible. Make the sign-in process as easy as possible and use a guided onboarding process that is short and effective. 

Consider using in-app messaging techniques to make the onboarding process more engaging and interactive. This can help users quickly understand how to use the app and what value it offers, increasing the chances that they will continue to use it.

3. Gamifying the experience: Add fun and interactivity to keep users engaged

Gamification involves incorporating game-like elements into non-game contexts, such as mobile apps. Incorporating gaming elements like points, badges, and leaderboards into your app makes it more engaging and fun for users. 

This can help increase user retention and engagement, as users will be more likely to return to your app to beat their high score or unlock new levels.

4. Personalize the conversation: Utilize in-app messaging for a seamless experience

In-app messaging is a powerful tool for increasing user engagement. Personalizing in-app messages based on in-app purchases can also increase engagement. Additionally, in-app messaging allows you to develop two-sided conversations and also automate simple requests, which can improve user experience.

5. Empowering users: Allow customization for push notifications and permissions

Giving users the ability to customize their push notifications, and third-party permissions can increase engagement. By allowing users to choose how and when they receive notifications, you can ensure that the notifications they receive are relevant and valuable to them. 

6. Listen and learn: Gather user feedback for continuous improvement

Collecting feedback from users is an essential step in improving app engagement. Use simple and quick surveys to get feedback from users on what they like and don't like about your app. Use this feedback to improve the app and make it more engaging for your users. 

This can help you identify any pain points that users are experiencing and address them, increasing user retention and engagement. Additionally, by showing that you value user feedback, you can increase trust and loyalty among your users.

Wrapping up

App engagement is crucial to your app's overall success. To boost retention and keep users coming back regularly, it's essential to focus on ways to increase engagement at every stage of development. 

Whether improving the onboarding process, introducing new features, or gathering user feedback, every change can enhance the user experience and lead to sustainable growth. 

A personalized and seamless experience keeps customers engaged with your app. This is why Rocket.Chat, an open-source platform for delivering personalized in-app messaging, can help you take your engagement efforts to the next level.

With its scalability, flexibility, and customizability, Rocket.Chat enables seamless two-way communication and supports multiple integrations and a sizeable collaborative app marketplace. 

Do not hesitate to contact our team for more information. 

Get started with Rocket.Chat’s secure collaboration platform

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Sara is an SEO Strategist at Rocket.Chat. She is passionate about topics around digital transformation, workplace experience, open source, and data privacy and security.
Sara Ana Cemazar
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