June 8, 2023

Managing a user-friendly app

You’ve built your app and published it. Now what?

You’ve built your app and published it.

Now that your app is available in your app store, you can begin the process of understanding how your users interact with it. You will want to know things like how often they use it, how much time they spend on it, what features they use and how they navigate through it. Understanding these types of user behaviors is important to you as an app developer or marketer, as they can help you identify areas for improvement and optimize your app for better engagement and user satisfaction.

It may seem like a daunting task to sift through countless amounts of data, then try to make sense of it all in order to figure out what your users like and don’t like about your app. Fortunately, there are now many services, in addition to the analytics available in the app stores, that can help you uncover measurable results that support the behavior you may already be observing.

Some common metrics used to track app user behavior include:

  • Retention rate: This refers to the percentage of users who return to the app after their first use. A high retention rate indicates that users find the app valuable and engaging.
  • Session length: This measures how long users spend on the app during a single session. Longer session lengths can indicate that users are highly engaged with the app.
  • Frequency of use: This measures how often users open the app. Frequent use can indicate a high level of user engagement.
  • Click-through rate: This measures the percentage of users who click on a specific feature or link within the app. A high click-through rate can indicate that users find the feature useful or interesting.

By analyzing these types of metrics, you will be able gain valuable insights and thus, confidently make data-driven decisions to improve your users’ experiences and keep them engaged for the long-term. For apps that primarily depend on ads for revenue, it is crucial that you are providing an experience that ensures many return visits.

As you establish greater app loyalty, you might offer access to premium features or content through in-app subscriptions. In-app subscriptions are a common way for app developers to generate stable, recurring revenue over time - on a weekly, monthly or annual basis. From the developer's perspective, this is prized revenue, because it is more predictable than one-time purchases or ads. However, it's important to balance the value of the subscription with the needs and preferences of users, to ensure that the subscription is a compelling and worthwhile investment for users.

Examples of in-app subscriptions include:

  • Access to premium content or features: Many apps offer a limited set of features or content for free, with the option to subscribe for access to additional content or features, such as regularly scheduled workout plans.
  • Ad-free experience: Some apps offer a paid subscription that removes ads from the app, providing a more seamless user experience. Many publications offer ad-free versions of news stories or video content.
  • Premium support: Some apps offer a paid subscription that provides access to priority customer support, such as faster response times or access to a dedicated support person or team.

In order to increase in-app conversion rates, it is important to implement a well-structured subscription funnel. This represents the user journey from initial awareness of the subscription offering to the point of completing the subscription purchase. The in-app subscription funnel typically includes the following stages:

  • Awareness: The user becomes aware of the subscription offering within the app, such as through a promotional message or a dedicated subscription page.
  • Consideration: The user considers the benefits of the subscription, such as exclusive content, additional features, or enhanced functionality.
  • Decision: The user decides to purchase the subscription, based on the perceived value and benefits of the offering.
  • Payment: The user provides payment information and completes the subscription purchase.
  • Activation: The user begins using the premium features or content that they have gained access to as part of the subscription.

To optimize the in-app subscription funnel, app developers and marketers can use a wide range of strategies, including:

  • Clear messaging: Clearly communicating the benefits of the subscription offering and the steps required to complete the purchase.
  • Personalization: Offering personalized recommendations and incentives to encourage users to subscribe.
  • Simplification: Streamlining the subscription purchase process, making it easy for users to complete the purchase without encountering unnecessary barriers or friction.
  • Testing and optimization: Continuously testing and optimizing the subscription funnel, using data and user feedback to drive improvements over time.

By optimizing the in-app subscription funnel, app developers and marketers can increase the likelihood of users subscribing, leading to increased revenue and engagement with the app. It is important to note that users are more likely to opt in when they know exactly what they are paying for and when their journey through the funnel is a pleasant one. Free trials are an easy way to familiarize your users with everything they can expect as a paying customer, and can also entice your users to subscribe. People who love your app and develop a connection to it will be willing to pay to use it indefinitely.

Ongoing management and optimization are fun and rewarding parts of owning an app. But those tasks can also be an equally tedious, and at times, intimidating challenge. The key to managing a successful app is to first understand your users.

By Ken Lawrence / ken@loyal.app