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How to reduce app uninstalls using in-app messages?

Since April of 2020, mobile app downloads have gone up by 23.3% globally. Mobile usage continues to scale greater heights, giving rise to growth avenues for brands in a digital-first world. On the flip side, 89% of app users stop using an app due to a poor experience. And, nearly 66% of the users that uninstall an app will perform an action that negatively impacts the brand like competitor research, reduced purchases, negative reviews in the public domain. In-app messages are an effective way to engage new users and retain existing ones. Brands can target users with contextual and personalized in-app messages to increase app engagement and drive revenue.

In-app messages come in various formats and have varied purposes. You can have anything from a full-screen overlay to a tiny container or even a notification badge that directs user attention. You can reduce the friction in user onboarding, send transactional and promotional updates, communicate new feature releases, or even play games. The possibilities are endless.

However, poorly executed in-app notifications can turn your enthusiastic users into an army of annoyed users tapping ‘uninstall’ even sooner than you can say ‘spam’.

Developing an effective in-app notification strategy

A great in-app notification has three primary characteristics: It is personalized, relevant, and well-timed. These are possible when a data system backs your in-app notification engine. Whether you’re using an in-house system or a 3rd party platform, integrating with a customer data platform can help you hyper-personalize your messages with user-generated data like usage patterns, purchase history, and other demographic information. For example, say you have an E-commerce app, you can send a hyper-personalized in-app notification to the users who’ve purchased in the last three days to leave a product review.

Sending relevant messages to your users is crucial, as there is a thin line between contextual messaging and spam. For example, say you open a food delivery app and see a notification that reads – “Get 50% off on your first order!” However, you’ve been an active customer for over two years now. The messaging doesn’t add value to you as a user and creates a perception that you can ignore all in-app notifications in the future. Segmenting users based on user lifecycle can dramatically improve the engagement of your in-app campaigns.

Despite having a CDP and a Recommendation Engine in place, your in-app strategy can still fail if it is not well-timed. Sending “smartphone” recommendations to users who’ve just purchased one is an example of mistimed communication (though relevant). Thus, it is essential to introduce checks before pushing out the subsequent in-app notification.

With In-app notifications, engaging users is easy. With the support of rich media, multiple formats, and deep linking, you can take your user engagement game to the next level. Some apps like Swiggy take the in-app design to a Picture-in-picture mode where users can do multiple things on the app simultaneously. Some gaming apps use this space for minor missions, and some ‘freemium’ apps use it to promote their paid services.

Hitting the right nail

While there are endless use cases with in-app notifications, here are 3 that every brand must use for their apps:

  1. Start with the onboarding Experience:

Create a first-time user journey that walks your users through all the bells and whistles of your app and familiarizes them with in-app navigation. This increases user comfort resulting in user stickiness.

  1. Celebrate user milestones:

Keep track of your user activity and celebrate user milestones. “Yay! You’ve just completed one year with us! Here’s a small gift for you – Use ‘ANNIVERSARY’ on checkout and get a flat 50% off on your next purchase.” Edtech brands can use activity tracking to motivate their users to complete courses on time or start new ones. E-commerce brands can show prompts for re-stocking of consumables.

  1. Send updates, reminders, and transactional intimations:

Users appreciate brands that are proactive and communicate with their users on matters that concern them. For example, payment reminders, subscription updates, price drops, or even discount coupons. If your in-app messages are relevant, your users will be looking forward to more brand communications.

Parting thoughts

In-app campaigns focusing on customer experience lead to a higher engagement rate, higher brand affinity, and increased conversions. But most importantly, it dramatically reduces your app uninstall rate. Create micro-segments using a powerful combination of user insights and behavioral data and understand what appeals to each group. Send them discounts, offers, and other relevant messages that they best relate to, and you’ll never have to worry about app uninstalls again.

By Forum Sheth, AVP – Content, WebEngage

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