There are thousands of apps that go on app stores every day and there are hundreds that get downloaded too. But accordingly to Localytics, most of these downloaded apps are not even used a second time. So basically, user acquisition can be nailed when you pump in the right resources in the right channel. But the stickiness of your app is the core challenge for your growth and some user monetization mistakes are dragging your app down.
So what decides if your app will stick or not?
User engagement and monetization.
Here’s where most apps go wrong.
Common user engagement and monetization mistakes
1. Skipping engagement altogether
Your app could be offering the best of features, but that’s not enough to keep your acquired users engaged. That’s where focusing on the hook strategy comes into play for effective monetization. Imagine if your user never even came back to see what in-app purchases you offer!
To make your monetization strategy work, focus on optimizing your user engagement. Here are a few tips:
  • List down your core user engagement metrics (daily active users, number of screens per session, session length and others)
  • Analyse the user journey closely to personalize every app session
  • Set up channels to communicate with your users actively – in-app chats, push notifications, email marketing, social media retargeting
  • Create an in-app social media platform for them to connect with their friends on – instant gamification, guaranteed
2. Making spamming a practice
What’s the first thing you do when an app starts sending you way too many notifications? You block the messages because they add absolutely no value to you. Take for instance an app that tells you what day of the week it is every day, without anything meaningful attached to it – now, wasn’t your phone’s calendar enough already?
Users hate being spammed. So even if you do end up offering something really valuable in between, there is a high chance that they ignore the message and move on to the next app in the market.
What can you do?
  • Create opportunities to send out regular push notifications. For example, how the Runtastic app does it. It reminds the user to get back on track or tells them it is time to go for a run because it is healthy for them!
  • Leverage content marketing to the fullest. Adding fresh content to your app will not just keep your users hooked, but also help in ASO. For instance, Calm is known to have one of the best social media pages and share really relatable pieces of content.
  • Get creative with push notifications – personalize as much as possible. Try localising your messages, using slang, emojis and other tactics to be your user’s next best friend.
3. Not digging deep enough into data
Most app developers don’t believe in tracking their user’s journey too closely. Failing to monitor these metrics, makes it hard for them to identify where most of their users are dropping off. So even if your app’s able to acquire users through the week, it struggles to keep them engaged because they never know where they lose interest.
What is it that you need to track?
  • The average ROI of your app – is your monetization game as strong as your acquisition or does it struggle to keep up
  • The user lifetime value (ULV) – the longer he sticks, the more likely he is to convert on purchases
  • Closely measure metrics like ARPAU, ARPDAU, retention and engagement rates
  • Compare these metrics to industry trends and benchmark against top grossing apps frequently
4. Creating a single monetization strategy for all OS
There’s a big difference in how users on iOS interact with an app and how the Android users tend to engage with their apps. In fact, there’s a lot of difference in the monetization policies as well between the two popular OS.
A simple example of this is the difference in spend power of the smartphone users. While the iOS users are more willing to spend, considering their affluence; sometimes, it is the vast market of Android users that helps apps monetize more.
What should you do?
  • Identify what OS majority of your users are on
  • Create different sets of monetization strategies for various platforms
  • Segment your users based on engagement levels, in-app journey and spend power
  • Consider if you can offer dynamic pricing models on in-app purchases
  • List down different streams of monetization and don’t rely on one
5. Making use of intrusive advertising
A typical user is engaged with an app as long as his experience is up to the mark. In their zeal to monetize from every user they acquire, a lot of developers end up push marketing either their own in-app conversions or setting up advertisements promoting similar apps, or products. Since this tactic does not consider the user’s in-app journey and is not personalized at any level, it is considered intrusive. There are barely a handful of users who convert on this format of advertisements.
What do you need to keep in mind while advertising?
  • Focus on blending ads within the app content with native ads to make it more valuable
  • Ensure that the ad experience is enriching, engaging and does not hinder the user’s in-app journey
  • Always take into account what stage the user is at, before promoting something to him Measure the different formats of advertisements and optimize your strategy accordingly
For example, using a brand identity, multiple times within a game, creates curiosity. By the time a user is done with his session, he wants to know more about the brand and is closer to converting on the ad you’re targeting him with.
Pro tip: A Forrester study suggests that smartphone users tend to respond more positively to advertisements that are linked to a reward based model.
6. Not focusing on app performance
It is important to understand that your app’s growth does not just rely on how many people convert on in-app purchases or your native advertisements. It also depends on your app’s overall performance and this includes how often you’re pushing out updates or new features.
Users are more likely to remain hooked to an app when they have something new to look forward to. They are even more likely to become a loyal user, if they know that you understand what they are looking for and are working towards offering them the same.
So, how do you really do this?
  • Interact with your users on a 1:1 basis to understand how their journey has been so far
  • Take feedback from your active users regularly to understand common drop offs and what peaks their interest the most
  • Measure the suggestions you incorporate in terms of engagement and optimize it for higher engagement rates and monetization
Monetizing right!
A lot of developers put all their resources and efforts into creating an app that offers the best of features and a great user interface. But one of the biggest challenges that indie developers face, is keeping their users engaged enough to drive them towards an in-app conversion.
To monetize right, it is important for developers to start focusing on their user’s in-app journey, understanding their purchase behaviours and then creating a strategy that keeps them engaged with the app over a longer period.
Simply put, the longer they remain engaged with your app, the greater are your chances of monetizing from them.
“Designing your product for monetization first and people second, will probably leave you with neither.” –Tara Hunt

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