Tips To Improve Your Mobile App’s Social And Engagement Signals

Tips To Improve Your Mobile App’s Social And Engagement Signals

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The app stores collect various data about how users use your app, and gauge the app’s quality and relevance to people’s needs from that data. That data is called engagement signals and social signals. They track how engaged users are with your app in various ways.

You might also be interested in this video on some of the top mobile app marketing strategies:

Every app developer wants to increase the time users spend with their app. It is a great proof that the app is a good product, it helps with app store rankings, and the more time people spend with an app, the more likely those users will warm up to the idea that it is ok to spend money buying something on the app. I’ll share some of the things I did to help my apps have better social and engagement signals than my competitors.

The first thing I did that helped my apps get great reviews in the app stores and increase the social engagement on the apps is I enabled chat. I added a feature to the apps where users who were planning a business (since it was a business planning app) could ask me questions, and I would answer their questions right on the app. Sometimes we would get into long conversations and many questions would follow people’s initial questions. Each comment, of course, meant that they would have to open the app (engagement signal) and write a comment (extra time spent on the app which is another engagement signal). But the best part of this was that my users truly got amazing personalized help planning their business. No software can give personalized advice as well as a person can. Because of that, people were thrilled about the kind of help they were getting from the app, and were leaving great reviews about the app (social signal). This single feature helped the app boost many of its social and engagement signals. Whatever your app might be, if you can add some sort of an interaction either between you and your users, or between your users and other users (this is even better because you don’t have to be involved), it can help you boost your engagement signals quite a bit.

Another thing you must include in your app are sensitively conceptualized push notifications. Push notifications can feel very intrusive to users so you must be very careful not to overwhelm or spook your users with push notifications because if you do it will backfire, and they will delete your app. Your push notifications must always be welcomed by your users. To accomplish that, you should only alert them of things they opted into, and that they truly look forward to. In the case of my apps, I only use push notifications to alert people when they are getting help with their business if they requested help or asked a question. Every time you get a user back on your app, it is a little win for your app store rankings. But be careful not to overdo it with the push notifications. If they annoy your users, those users will delete your app, and you will lose any ASO benefits or any chance to make money from that user. They may also leave a bad review. So be very careful with how you use push notifications.

Ideally you would make users talk to one another instead of with you because your time will need to be spent on other jobs related to growing your business. Think of features you can add to your app where users engage one another. It can be something like a turn-based game where every time it is a user’s turn, they get a notification. The game itself can engage users by giving them extra free points every day with the user having to open the app to accept the extra points. That gets the user to open the app daily, and gets them to re-engage with actually using the app. Messaging features have this advantage “built in” because every time a user gets a message, they get an alert that they need to open the app to see the message.

You can notify users in two ways. You can use email or push notifications. Push notifications are more effective to get users into your app, but you can’t use push notifications in every case. When you can’t use push notifications, fall back on plan B, which is notifying them via email. On Android, users must opt into push notifications when they download the app, and on iOS, users have a choice of whether they want to receive push notifications from your app, after they download the app. There is an important nuance here when it comes to the Android platform. To enable push notifications, your app must require extra permissions. Some of these permissions may feel intrusive to your users, and they may decide not to download the app due to the extra requirements. So when you add push notifications, make sure that they bring a significant enough amount of benefit because to enable them, the extra app requirements will cause a slight decrease in your overall download numbers. Just keep that nuance in mind when you are making the business decision of whether to enable push notifications on Android. Although push notifications are more effective at getting people back into your app, there may be some cases when it makes sense to decide to notify users via email instead.

Inviting friends is another strategy that can help you boost your engagement signals. Adding such social features to apps is great because it helps you to get more downloads. A great side effect of inviting friends and getting more downloads is that your download acceleration goes up. App stores track that, and you begin to outcompete your competition on this metric. Social sharing isn’t just great because it gets you more app users. It has further benefits because it helps you rank better at the same time.

Another interesting trick I like to use in my apps is adding video that can be watched right inside my apps. If an average session length for an average app is about a minute, and you get people to watch a video that is five minutes, you just increased your app session length average, and thus beat your competition on that metric. In my own apps I took this to an extreme. Since my apps cover business ideas, business planning, marketing and fundraising, I started a YouTube channel covering these topics in amazing depth. Over the past year I have been releasing at least one YouTube video every day. Sometimes I released two or three videos per day. After a year of doing this there are 500 videos on my YouTube channel, all of which can be viewed on my apps. Since I released a video every day, it meant that the app had fresh content daily, and that gave people a reason to open the app daily to watch the videos. This helped me raise a few engagement metrics. My users were re-engaging with the app daily. They were deleting the app much less frequently, and when they did watch the videos, those sessions were at least a few minutes long. Additionally, many of my app users ended up subscribing to my channel on YouTube, and helped my videos become more prominent on YouTube. That helped me grow an independent large presence on YouTube that I then funnel back to download my apps, or sell any other product I have.

A fascinating thing about YouTube is that the audio from the videos can be taken and made into a podcast. This way you can increase engagement on your app by embedding your podcasts just like you embed your videos, and also grow a presence on iTunes that you can then funnel back to your apps, just like you did with YouTube.

If you are curious, check out my YouTube channel here.

NOTE: One important nuance to keep in mind is that you must embed the podcasts or YouTube videos right into your apps. Don’t just link to that content and allow users to go off your app to YouTube, but make sure that people are watching while they are still on your app. If people leave your app to consume that content, this will not help your engagement metrics. In fact, it will hurt your engagement metrics because people will be leaving your app. So YouTube or podcasts have to be embedded as a part of your app. To see how I did this with my apps, you can check out any of my apps here and use my example to guide how you embed this feature into your app.

Another tactic you can use to improve your engagement metrics is adding written educational materials or tutorials. This doesn’t apply to games, but if your app is a utility or a business app, or an app that serves some other practical purpose, most likely your app users can benefit from a little bit of an education about the subject matter. Consuming written content will also serve to increase the time your users spend on the app just like with watching videos or listening to audio content. Written content is also great because you can code that it your app, and your users won’t need an Internet connection to consume that content like they would if they wanted to watch a YouTube video or listen to a podcast episode. Plus, if you have written, audio, and video content on your app, you can be sure that you are satisfying many different kinds of people. Some people prefer to read while others prefer to listen while other prefer to watch. Now, no one can complain that you don’t have something for them.

I’ve mentioned it earlier, but if you can make it so that there is constant new content being generated on your app, your users will log in and explore that new content on a regular basis. Every time they open the app, you get a tiny boost in ASO to help your app rank better in the app stores. Let’s recap the strategies for how to continuously get new content. You can engage with users personally (it can be powerful, but I rarely see this on apps outside of my own apps), users can engage with each other, and you can create original content that your users can consume. The more this can be done without your direct involvement the better, because it will save you time to work on other things related to your app.

Lastly, I want to go over the advantages of having a marketing budget. If you are able to pay to enhance some of your marketing efforts, your life as an app marketer can be much easier. For example, remember how increasing the acceleration of downloads can help you boost your engagement signals and give you an advantage over your competition in app store rankings? What if you were able to afford either hiring a PR agency or paying $1 per download (that is close to the going rate) for thousands of downloads? If you are an individual developer or a part of a small team, you probably can’t afford that yet. But consider that if you decide to compete in any competitive niche, some of your competitors will have deep pockets, and will be able to superficially boost their engagement signals by paying for downloads this way. For your part, you will only be able to pay to advertise at rates that are sustainable. That means paying less per download than the revenue your app generates per download. And that usually is far less than richer companies can afford.

Mobile App Marketing Book And Course

This tutorial is just one section of my mobile app marketing book. Check it out on Amazon. It is available on the Kindle which means that you can read it on the Kindle app of any smart phone. Or take my mobile app business course on Udemy.

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