In-app messaging: A solution for enhanced user retention

Sara Ana Cemazar
January 19, 2023
min read

In-app messaging is becoming an increasingly popular to reach product and app users, making it a critical component of a strong customer engagement strategy. It has proven to be an effective tool for improving user engagement, driving sales, and increasing user retention. 

With the rise of mobile app usage and the ever-increasing competition, it's essential for businesses to understand the value of in app messaging and how it can benefit their growth prospects. It enables businesses to build a personalized rapport with customers by engaging with them in real-time while they use the app. 

By tailoring the messaging experience to individual preferences, companies can significantly enhance the overall customer experience and drive action. In this blog post, we will explore the key benefits of in app messaging and how it differs from push notifications. 

What is in-app messaging?

In-app messaging is a form of communication that takes place within an application. It is a targeted way to reach users who are already engaged with your product or service. It usually takes place within an in-app chat.

The messages can be pop-up notifications, banners, or full-screen displays designed to enhance the user experience and encourage specific actions.

For example, let's say you have an e-commerce app. An in-app message might appear when a user starts to browse your products, reminding them of items in their shopping cart and encouraging them to complete their purchase. 

in app messaging

In-app messaging vs. push notifications: What’s the difference?

Push notifications and in-app messaging are often confused or used interchangeably, but there are distinct differences between the two. 

  • Push notifications are alerts

Push notifications are alerts sent directly to a user's device outside of the app. They appear as banners, badges, or alerts on the home screen, lock screen, or status bar. 

Push notifications are a medium to communicate important updates, news, or reminders to users who have installed your app. In a separate article, we've explored the dichotomy between in-app chat and text messages for customer communication.

  • In-app messaging is personalized communication

In-app messaging, on the other hand, happens within the app. It is a targeted, real-time communication channel that allows you to reach users while they are actively using your app. 

Generally, in-app messages are leveraged to make the customer experience more personalized and relevant. They are triggered by specific actions within the app, such as making a purchase, browsing a particular product, or reaching a certain level in a game.

How in-app messaging helps you boost user retention

In app messaging has several key benefits that make it a valuable tool for boosting customer retention and improving the overall user experience.

1. Built into the app experience

In app messaging is integrated into the app experience, making it a seamless and natural way to communicate with users. Unlike push notifications, which can feel disruptive, in-app messaging is a more subtle way to reach users and provide valuable information or guidance.

2. Greater personalization

In-app messaging allows you to personalize messages for each user based on their behavior and preferences within your app. This level of personalization can help to improve the user experience and make customers feel valued and understood.

3. Driving better user experience

In-app messaging can help you provide a better user experience and thus app engagement by allowing users discover new features or use existing features the right way. For example, you might use in-app messaging to guide users to use a new feature they haven't tried yet.

4. Improving product through in-app feedback

In app messaging can be used to gather feedback from users, helping you to understand their needs and improve your product. For example, you may ask users for feedback on a new feature or give their opinion on a design change.

5. Offering immediate customer support within the app

In app messaging can also be used to provide immediate customer support within your app. This can help reduce frustration and improve the overall user experience, as users can quickly and easily get the help they need quickly and easily.

By providing valuable information and guidance, personalizing messages, and offering immediate customer support through in-app messaging, you can improve the user experience and see the positive impact it can have on your customer retention.

Some popular in-app messaging use cases

As mentioned above, leveraging in-app messaging can be crucial in improving customer retention by offering an engaging and personalized experience for customers. Also, it can be used at different stages in the user journey, such as onboarding, adoption, and retention, to drive engagement and provide value to the customer

Here are some examples of in-app messaging strategies that companies can use to delight their users. You can also check out in-depth coverage of in-app messaging examples here.

1. Guided onboarding

Guided onboarding refers to a step-by-step process that introduces new users to an app's features, functionality, and benefits. This process is designed to help users understand how the app works, what they can achieve with it, and how they can get the most out of it.

The goal of guided onboarding is to provide a smooth and intuitive user experience, ensuring that new users quickly become confident and proficient with the app. 

Typically, guided onboarding includes interactive tutorials, tooltips, and other visual aids to help users understand how to navigate the app, access its features, and perform key tasks.

2. Welcome messages

Welcome screens can be an effective way to personalize the onboarding process and make it less intimidating for new users. Companies like Postfity and Kontentino use welcome screens to identify the size of the customer's business and set user expectations, respectively. 

For example, Canva uses welcome screens to start the customer segmentation process early on.

3. Introducing new features

To drive feature adoption, companies can create in-app messages that educate users about the features they're missing out on and give them a reason to opt-in to using them. Userpilot uses full-screen modals and slideouts to promote its in-app resource center and webinar, while Loom uses checklists to focus solely on its core offering. 

As for example, uses checklists and interactive walkthroughs to show off the core product and secondary features.

4. Driving new feature adoption

In-app onboarding messages can make a huge difference when it comes to product adoption. Companies can use checklists and interactive walkthroughs to drive users towards the "AHA" moment and fast-track user activation

By driving feature adoption, in-app messaging can also reduce the number of laggards in the product adoption curve.

5. Collecting user feedback

Now that users have adopted the product, the next step is to ensure they continue using it long-term. BacklinkManager uses secondary onboarding checklists for advanced feature discovery, while Appcues uses in-app feedback forms to gather user insights and improve their product.

So, what is it all about?

In app messaging can offer a rich and engaging customer experience and play a key role in improving customer retention. 

By using in-app messaging at different stages in the user journey, companies can drive adoption, retention, and customer satisfaction, leading to increased revenue over the long term.

Build a fast and efficient in-app messaging engine with Rocket.Chat

Rocket.Chat provides a quick and efficient solution for building a white-labeled in-app messaging platform. With our open-source and ready-to-use chat engine, you can implement in-app messaging into your product in a matter of minutes. This will save you valuable time and resources compared to building an in-app messaging platform from scratch.

Additionally, Rocket.Chat provides a secure and compliant in-app messaging experience for your users. Our chat engine is built to meet industry data privacy and security standards, so you can be confident that your users' personal information is protected.

Implementing in-app messaging with Rocket.Chat will improve the user experience, increase engagement and lead to improved user retention.

Take the first step towards improving your app's success. Contact us!

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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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