Acquisition & Engagement

5 Proven Ways to Empower Your Apps and Increase Engagement

Becky Doles

When it comes to your app’s health, acquiring users is only half of the equation. You must also keep them coming back and hold them there for as long as possible. We can all take a lesson from Jerry Seinfeld, who explained this universal principle the best:

Jerry: I don’t understand. Do you have my reservation?

Rental Car Agent: We have your reservation, we just ran out of cars.

Jerry: But the reservation keeps the car here. That’s why you have the reservation.

Rental Car Agent: I think I know why we have reservations.

Jerry: I don’t think you do. You see, you know how to *take* the reservation, you just don’t know how to *hold* the reservation. And that’s really the most important part of the reservation: the holding. Anybody can just take them.

Get to know the important tools that can help attract new users to your app, and *hold* them there:

1- The re-engagement ad – retain your users

There are a few reasons to support balancing your app marketing efforts with a combination of traffic acquisition ads, versus placing your focus exclusively on user acquisition/install ads. As you have no-doubt experienced, the cost to acquire new users last year (2013-2014) rose 34 percent and continues to climb, so it pays to focus attention on getting your existing users to hold on to your app for longer.

While new devices such as iPhone 6 and constant speculation about the latest models drive new and steady demand for apps, the 3 million+ apps in market compete for attention causing users to delete apps for new ones. App love is fleeting. There are also space limitations on some devices, prompting users to delete apps. Acquisition and retention is a delicate balance, but you must focus on both to support your app’s long-term sustainability.

Note: Although Google Play banned third-party push notifications across Android devices in September 2013, compliant targeted out-of-app formats are not the enemy. In fact, when used very carefully to inform your existing app customers about something new on the app, they provide value and remind your users to return.

Consider a re-imagined format that offers a similar result using smart, multilingual messages delivered in the user’s local language. Users return to your app with ease by tapping on a branded design.

2 – Cross promotion – achieve installs

Have multiple app titles in your portfolio? Promoting your new titles to your existing users can achieve installs without cost or effort, and improve new app rankings with help from your own network.

Don’t forget to utilize another free option, house ads, to maximize ad inventory fill across all ad types and build a user base for your new titles.

3 – Rewarded video ads

You may already be familiar with the benefits of enabling video ads within your app. High-quality beautiful ads captivate audiences, and deliver strong performance for advertisers and higher returns for your app. Rewarded video takes traditional video ads to the next level, and goes further to deepen user engagement within your app. With rewarded video, users get in-app perks and privileges such as extra lives, coins, access to advanced game levels, and more, in exchange for viewing a :15 or :30 video ad at precisely the right moment in their game or app experience.rewarded_video

A rewarded video ad experience pleases all three parties: Developers provide a desired reward to users (e.g., extra lives at death-point of a game), keeping them engaged in the app for longer, while advertisers get attention from a patient, happy and interested user. The app user benefits from an ad experience that is relevant to their behavior and interest, and feels valued and appreciated for their time.

4 – Ask about ad targeting and relevancy practices

In general, ensuring that your users receive an ad that is relevant to their behavior and interests can be accomplished by asking your ad network partner about their ad-serving algorithm. A strong algorithm will take into account a range of factors such as connections characteristics, velocity, concentration, context, and many more data points to select and deliver the best-matched advertising campaign into every app. Smarter delivery ensures that the most effective and user-appropriate ad is displayed into your app each and every time, for maximum user enjoyment, optimized campaign performance, app efficiency and return.

5 – The value of knowing your users

This conversation wouldn’t be complete without mentioning some basics about using the data that is available to you. Dig deep into the behavior of your loyal app users, (those who use your app three times a week). Measuring specific actions within the app will help monitor user progression, identify drop-off points and improve user flow of purchasing and other actions.

By understanding where users spend their time in your app, when they close the app, how and where they spend, you can uncover strategies to improve their experience. Perhaps users stop playing your game when they reach a level that is too challenging. You might consider adjusting the difficulty of that level, adding hints, or introducing a rewarded video ad as an opportunity to extend their gameplay.

Your app data is the best tool to reveal your high-value users and uncover opportunities to better serve them.

In conclusion

Whether you’re just beginning your app business or are a seasoned developer or marketer, please don’t be shy about asking your service partners for the support you need as new challenges appear. As an app owner, your job is never done. Each app has a unique user flow, unique challenges, and goals to hit. Every incremental improvement has an impact on your app’s success, and finding ways to continually optimize your app performance and return is the most rewarding part of the business.

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Becky Doles

Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.

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