Do You Have Their Attention? How to Sustain Mobile App Engagement

How to Sustain Mobile App Engagement |

Attention is hard to come by in the modern world. There’s a constant influx of media, content, and distractions. That’s especially true in the mobile app realm. So, how can you obtain and sustain mobile app engagement? 

It’s not an easy endeavor and comes with many challenges. But with the right strategy, data, and tactics, you can acquire and retain your very valuable users.

Mobile Engagement Is Up, but Uninstall Rates Are, Too

The telltale sign of slipping engagement is uninstalls, which increased by 70% in 2020. Last year, app downloads did increase by 33%, which certainly impacted the rate surge. In digging into the day, we know that the majority occur within the first 30 days. That offers some context on the why.

The other piece of data relevant to this discussion is that experts expect consumer mobile engagement to grow in 2021. That colors the narrative a little more, with the possible conclusion that users are spending more time on mobile and thus in apps, but they are doing so in more purposeful ways and in specific categories. Not surprisingly, the most used app categories are social, gaming, communication, and entertainment.

Taking these data points into consideration, you’ll need to step up their engagement and retention game.

How Can You Increase Mobile App Engagement and Create Loyal Fans?

If you want your app to stay top of mind to users, you’ll want to consider these tactics to increase and sustain engagement.

Onboard Effectively

Onboarding applies to all apps, no matter the category or simplicity. It’s the first experience your newly acquired users have with your app, so you want it to be as intuitive as possible. If the learning curve is too complex, you’ll likely see abandonment. That’s a trackable metric if you look at uninstall data patterns.

Simplify user onboarding by:

  • Reducing the number of steps to register and provide options (i.e., login in with Facebook or Google). 
  • Featuring tips and education through onboarding that dives into the main functionality but doesn’t overwhelm the user. 
  • Allowing users to skip steps and restart onboarding at their pace.
  • Making learning fun through gamification.

Two mobile app marketing tactics that support onboarding are:

  1. ASO (App Store Optimization): Add videos and descriptions to your profiles to set expectations.
  2. Offerwalls: Use these non-intrusive ad units to move along the process, so users can initiate when they are ready.

Use Push Notifications Strategically

push notifications

Push notifications are opt-in, so you have an audience that’s willing to hear from you, so that’s a good start. Personalization of these can actually lead to more engagement, but that’s the hook; they must be relevant. They should align with the customer journey. For example, those that newly download should receive a welcome note. Other options include alerts for new features, milestones, or additional information that users would find valuable.

Build Out Compelling In-App Messages

When users are on your app, it’s the best time to communicate with them. Again, it has to be relevant. When it is, you can see retention rates rise. In fact, apps that send targeted messages based on data and have dynamic content capabilities witness user retention improve from 61% to 74% in the first 28 days.

What kind of messages could you send? First, you’ll want to segment your users based on shared attributes, so the content applies to them. For example, it could include account notifications, promotions, upgrades, or other usability tips. 

Deliver Exclusive In-App Promotions


For brands trying to shift users from their mobile web pages to their app, exclusivity is key to keeping them interacting on the app. They need a compelling reason to use your app instead of the website, so delivering special promotions is the way to do it. Those could include discounts for purchases, loyalty programs, or other rewards.

Improve App User Retention Through Re-Engagement Opportunities

Just because a user downloads your app doesn’t mean they are spending time in it. All you need to do is look at your analytics. You may be able to identify events or actions that then led to disengagement. The important thing is how will you win them back?

There are several options to re-engage. You could send push notifications with enticing offers. If you have their email address because they registered, you could target them in this channel. 

Rewarded ads, specifically CPEs (cost per engagement), are a great option for driving engagement at scale. They often focus on rewarding the user for completing high-value actions like sign-ups, survey completion, adding a payment, or starting a free trial. If you can rope them into these interactions, you are more likely to keep them longer.

Energize Mobile App Engagement with AdAction

Mobile app engagement is a moving target. Multiple factors impact it, and every app is unique. Take these recommendations and customize them to fit your needs and audience. If you need help, we’re here. Contact our mobile app marketing experts today.

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