Fixing the Leaky Bucket – Prevent App Uninstalls By Using App Push Notifications Cleverly

We’re in the app economy today, with people eagerly installing Apps for anything and everything. As an App marketer, you are probably putting in all efforts to drive app installs. But the real problem is that most people uninstall their apps just as quickly as they install them.

A Forrester Research study from 2015 found that while today’s consumers are spending over 85 percent of their time on their smartphones using native applications, the majority of their is spent using just five apps they’ve installed from the App Store. And the corollary is that if people are not using your app, they’re likely to uninstall them. Here’s an interesting statistic: If a user does not return to your App within the first 7 days of an install, chances are she never will!

Not surprisingly, App uninstalls is the biggest problem that App marketers are battling today. Driving installs is simply not good enough if you have a leaky bucket in terms of user retention.  Let’s say you put in 100 new users into the bucket, but keep losing 40 of them every day. The impact amplifies when you ramp down your install campaigns and keep losing some users incurring a net negative on the users added to your App. App stickiness is a measure of engaged and loyal users on your app. Growing this number is the key to prevent app uninstalls. While it’s important to build an app that solves a problem for your user, how do you make sure that you continue to stay relevant and add value to your customer’s purchase journey? This is possible if you understand your users well and are able to build 1:1 conversations at the right time and simplify purchase decisions for your customer.

And Push notifications can help you engage and subsequently retain users effectively. Here’s how you can get started:

Understand reasons for uninstalls and identify potential dropouts

If you closely track users who have uninstalled your App, you can gather valuable behavioral attributes and determine specific trends that many of the uninstalled users have shown. The next step then is to analyse this data around factors such as drop in activity, number of inactive days before uninstall, device-based challenges and so on. This analysis will help you find other existing users with similar behavioural patterns. Based on your analysis and the use of tools such as Vizury’s Uninstall Prediction and Tracking, you will be able to identify other app users who might uninstall your app in the next seven days. This critical insight allows you to run targeted retention campaigns to re-engage and retain dormant app users.

Run an active retention campaign using Push Notifications

Push notification is probably the only channel that opens up a direct communication line with the user. And since it’s on the mobile, it can be accessed anytime by the user. You are not left waiting for the user to open his emails, visit a third-party website/app to start an engagement. Since push does not have any costs attached, the costs per engagement with push notifications is negligible.  Here are the ingredients to run a successful retention campaign for your mobile app.

1.    Get data on your users

Gather In-app data to understand your users and their behavioural patterns. This data is very important to determine engagement scores for all your app users. Based on the score, you can evaluate users who are likely to uninstall your app. The data also tells you about individual users interests and this helps you build personalized conversations with them. There are several useful tools to access data using postbacks through analytics partners, server to server integration and event loggers. Identify the option that is best suited your purpose and platform.

2.    Segment and customize

It is very important to get your audience segment right. Use the insights you’ve gathered to define niche user segments based on parameters such as inactivity period and purchase cycle. Also, use behavioral attributes like products last seen, bought earlier, response to Push Notifications for targeted messages and offers and engage efficiently.

3.    Use Targeted Push Notifications

Customize your push notifications to deliver personalized offers and recommendations. Make custom offers, remind them about pending purchases or tell them how much they are missed with 1-1 personalized Push notifications. Rich Media Push Notifications allow you to include relevant images, custom offers and a CTA that help in catching attention and typically boast of 20-30% CTR. Time these notifications and send them when your user is most active.

rich media push

4.    Measurement and Feedback

Find out how effective your retention campaign has been. Some key campaign indicators for this could be impressions served , clicks and conversions. These stats will tell you the effectiveness of your campaign. Also, look for a decline in your app uninstall rate. To find out how effective your campaign has been in re-engaging inactive users. Another important metric to measure is the average time that re-engaged users have clicked on your app. This will tell you if your personalization strategy needs any tweaks.

If the user has turned off push notifications, don’t give up on them. Make sure you use other channels like email or social to connect with them. Display reengagement/retention campaigns also work great. With a little bit of concentrated effort, you can drastically reduce the number of app installs. Remember, a user retained is a user gained!

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