App Walkthroughs: Improve User Engagement and Retention with Interactive Onboarding

Have you ever been on a rollercoaster ride? If yes, then do you recall the edge-of-the-seat ups and downs, the head-rush from the varying speeds across the entire course?

Well, marketing your mobile app can be similar!

There are several challenges that marketers like you face when it comes to marketing your mobile app.

To begin with you’ve developed an app and have gotten it listed on major app stores. To increase your app downloads and boost visibility, you fine tune your App Store Optimisation (ASO) strategy. Unfortunately, your challenges don’t end there!

How do you make your app stickier and drive greater user engagement and retention?

According to a study by Statista, almost 21% of mobile apps have been used only once during the first 6 months of app download.

Mobile Apps Usage

And with approximately 6000 mobile apps being added to the app store every day, this percentage is only likely to increase.  

As a growth marketer, you are bound to have a tough time improving your app user engagement and retention rates. In fact, the problem of anticipating actual downloads can be easily solved as opposed to getting repeated active usage from downloads.

This can be solved if your app has the following:

  1. Ability to address a real-time problem, quickly and consistently
  2. Fewer bugs (no bugs in an ideal world!)
  3. Exceptional UI design
  4. Seamless user onboarding
  5. Ease of usage

The Importance of a First Time User Experience (FTUE)

The first time user experience is often poorly understood by most mobile marketers. It plays a pivotal role in user adoption, encouraging repeated app relaunches and higher average session duration.

The fact that 21% of users’ drop-off right after first time usage indicates that something is either wrong or broken within the app.

By leveraging the capabilities of a robust analytics platform, you can understand why the user has dropped off immediately after the first time usage.

If there’s something wrong with the app such as an app crash, poor UI, or any design/product-related flaw, it can be solved easily.

But, how do you briefly highlight how your app functions to your users on first time app launch?

How do you educate a user on the various benefits that he/she can benefit from by using certain app features?

This is precisely where user onboarding becomes crucial.

In a world of declining attention spans, unread push notifications, and lack of user manuals, how do you effectively teach your users how to use your mobile app to gain the maximum possible value?

The solution: App Walkthroughs!

What are Interactive App Walkthroughs?

Interactive app walkthroughs are assistive screen pop-ups that let users navigate through the key features on your mobile app. They appear as a drop-down or pop-up tip that highlight a particular feature within your app.

It puts users in control of how to use the app. Take a look at this food app’s walkthrough for example:

Interactive App Walkthroughs

Are you familiar with Facebook’s product tour? Facebook’s “Take a Tour” button gives users a guided tour of its app. The focus here is to acquaint the user with the capability and usability of each of its key features.

Facebook Product Walkthrough

How Can Interactive Walkthroughs Boost User Engagement and Retention?

Remember the golden rule of mobile marketing - “Activation is always more crucial than acquisition”?

Walkthroughs have a high level of situational awareness. They help users get closer to their very first Aha! Moment by merging the right product tour UI pattern to specific users’ needs.

When a user first launches the app, you need to ensure that the ease of usage is highlighted right at the start. Communicating that effectively can mean the difference between a user choosing to keep your app for the future or uninstalling your app right then!

The faster your user experiences his/her first Aha! Moment, the higher the chances of user retention.

Walkthroughs can act as a catalyst to your apps’ engagement, not just during user onboarding, but across the entire app user lifecycle as well.

Understand your users’ diverse in-app behaviour and send them micro-nudges, directing them to the feature that you’d want the user to use. This will not only make the user explore the feature but also amplify their engagement within the app.

For instance, if you happen to be a gaming app themed around word puzzles, walkthroughs can serve as a sure-shot recipe to success. There can come a point when the user gets stuck at a specific level and is unable finish it, despite his/her best efforts.

His/her frustration can result in a complete activity drop-off, especially after he/she has used up all his available lives. But, he/she can still use a hint but has forgotten about it completely!

The next time when he launches the app, a subtle nudge using a walkthrough to “Use a Hint” can amplify in-app engagement while also driving instant feature recall. 

Gaming App Walkthrough

Walkthroughs also play a crucial role in improving your user retention rates. The app marketing space continues to grow more competitive and retaining user remains an evergreen challenge. Uninstalls on Day 1 remain a significant problem for mobile marketers like you.

According to a report by Appsflyer, almost 28% of the users uninstall their apps on Day 1.

Users Uninstall Graph

Source: Appsflyer

How Can App Walkthroughs Reduce Day 1 App Uninstalls?

Uninstalling an app is an extreme user action and is indicative of something wrong within your app. While there could be various reasons for app uninstall, the major reasons include:

  1. Confusing sign-up process
  2. Bugs in the app
  3. App Crashes
  4. Difficulty in usage
  5. Sluggish performance over a period of time
  6. Overuse of in-app ads
  7. Privacy and data-capturing concerns etc.

Two major reasons for users to uninstall your app on Day 1 also include a lack of product understanding and a complicated usage experience. This is where walkthroughs come handy and help marketers like you minimise the uninstall rate.

For instance, your’re a language learning app. When a user downloads your app and launches it for the first time, your onboarding has to be on point, emphasising your key features.

Walkthroughs have to be a part of your user onboarding flow. You can educate the user about your key features through the following:

  1. Feature Screen Flow: This is a great onboarding feature in itself and is widely used by most app developers. It focuses on key app features but doesn’t let the users act on it right away. Screen flows are more of a gist of what key features the app possesses.
  1. Interactive Walkthroughs: This involves educating the user on how to use the app - right from toggling the menu options to choosing a language to learn, how to check progress, etc.

Doing this will help users to better understand the app and continue using it without any hindrances. Walkthroughs can also re-engage your dormant users whenever a new update/version of your app releases. It quickly draws attention to new features embedded in the latest app version.

Interactive App Walkthrough


Interactive Walkthroughs: The Way Forward to Intent-Based User Engagement

With the increase in the number of new and innovative apps every day, your users are spoilt for choice. App discovery and user acquisition aren’t the only challenges you have.

But, don’t worry! We, at Smartech, have got your back!

To learn how you can leverage the power of interactive walkthroughs to elevate your user engagement and retention rates, complementing your personalised mobile marketing strategies at scale, get in touch, today!

 
Vijay Mandeep


Vijay Mandeep is a data-driven B2B Saas marketer with a vested interest in startups. He’s passionate about growth hacking, content marketing, and everything social media for B2B SaaS. He works as Senior Growth Marketer at Smartech.

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