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App Growth Dilemma: Who Should You Target, New or Active Users?

By Jorge Lara - WhereIsMyTransport México
Country Manager


By Jorge Lara | Country Manager - Thu, 06/08/2023 - 14:00

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One of the keys to the success of any app is a high number of daily and monthly active users. Typically, the more time users spend on the app, the more content they consume and the more screens they interact with, the more engaged they are. In fact, according to Harvard Business Review, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60%-70% and selling to a potential customer is only 5%-20% (Hüify). Despite all this, many startups disproportionately pay more attention and resources to customer acquisition than to activation and retention. 

In fact, an important and relevant fact shared by Harvard Business Review is that 28% of apps are uninstalled in the first 30 days. And that 71% of all app users churn within 90 days. This means that after performing a thousand and one actions to get users to download the app, it is possible that after a few days, only a tiny fraction of them will stay. Hence the importance of focusing first and foremost on user retention and making sure that users are active to ensure they continue to use the app. 

The ideal active user is generally considered to be a user who participates in at least 10 interactions per month. However, defining an active user for an app will depend on the specific objectives of each company. Typically, about 25% of users abandon an app after using it only once, so it is important to do everything possible to capture and keep users’ attention and maintain their engagement.

It even costs between five and 25 times more to attract a new customer than to retain one; increasing the retention rate by 5% translates into a profit improvement of between 25% and 95%, according to Harvard Business Review. The more active users an app has, the more engagement and revenue it can generate. Active users can also provide valuable feedback, which can help developers improve the app and add new features that meet the needs of all its users.

Our app, Rumbo, is a mobility app for Mexico City and the metropolitan area. Our purpose is to be the main daily ally when planning the perfect route to work or to conduct daily activities. Although the promise is the perfect route, when people become daily commuters, they start learning their way around without any kind of help. To counter that, we increased the use of the app by creating real-time alerts on those elements that can affect the status of the route, such as protests or accidents, in addition to showing real photos of the company to which the buses belong. 

At Rumbo, we always try to relate to users and through various actions we seek to generate conversation inside and outside the app at all times in order to be constantly learning and to make any necessary changes in terms of improving usability and especially the way our app operates. That said, here are some key points to keep in mind when creating a strategy to keep your users active.

  1. Develop an efficient onboarding process:

The first experience people have with your app involves onboarding sequences, so you need to optimize this process. Without an efficient onboarding process, you will not see active users in an app. Instead, they will abandon it before they have a chance to really engage. From the beginning, you must drive users to complete actions that bring them real value. Ensure that all users understand the various functions of your app and what they are for.

  1. Design your message:

The specific messages you display in your app can make the difference between interested and uninterested users. Every piece of copy included in the app, from feature descriptions to call-to-action buttons, will need to help ensure that users complete the desired action.

To do this, it is important to use conversational language that keeps things clear and simple for users. This means avoiding complicated terminology and keeping sentences short and concise. In some cases, the text should sound as if it was written by the audience itself. Feel free to make your text entertaining and fun to read if this is appropriate for your brand. Obviously, some applications may want to keep a more professional tone to their copy but copy that is as engaging as the app itself can keep users engaged.

  1. Keep developing new features to update the app experience:

Over time, if your app continues to offer the same experience, it may become boring for users to the point where they will look for something new. The fact is the app will suffer if you don't spend some time updating the user experience (UX) and user interface (UI). While you don't need to continually update the app, you can try to add a new feature that people respond to once a month or every other month. You can add anything from new visual elements and magnification buttons to different features that offer something new.

  1. Improve the performance of your app:

One thing that can quickly reduce engagement in an app is if it doesn't work properly. Users want features that load quickly and work as they should, and few things are more annoying than bugs that crash the app completely. If you want to keep users happy with their experience, you need to identify and eliminate any issues that may hinder the UX. In addition, it is important to constantly test the application on various platforms to ensure that all users enjoy the same experience within the app, regardless of the devices and operating systems they use.

Market conditions change by the minute, and your app interaction strategies must adapt to the latest consumer expectations by putting your customers first. Listening to users, asking for feedback and analyzing behavioral data can provide timely information to optimize the app experience, deliver relevant content and create meaningful interactions.

Adding a colloquial, local and fun touch to the copy in our communications has proven to be a winning strategy for us and for many apps because the community component offers a sustainable way to retain users and increase engagement.

Photo by:   Jorge Lara

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