This guest column is by Jenna Erickson, Creative Strategist, Codal
Mobile apps are no longer an extension of websites. There are plenty of companies which exist in a mobile only or a mobile first format. It is imperative for developers to follow the best practices, and stay up to day with the latest trends in app usage. In the same light, here are the ways for growing engagement on iOS apps. Some techniques are valid for Android apps as well.
1. Push & Local Notifications
2. Mobile App Deep Linking
3. Localization & Internationalization
4. Spotlight Indexing
6. App Analytics
7. Social Media Integration
1) Push + Local Notifications
One of the best ways to boost engagement and increase user retention is to utilize push notifications, and local notifications. These notification types allow the app to reach users (and perform small tasks) even when the app is not actively in use.
Push notifications can:
- Display a short text message
- Play a notification sound
- Set a badge number on the app’s icon
- Provide actions the user can take without opening the app
- Be silent, allowing the app to wake up in the background and perform a task
New to iOS 10:
- Images, GIFs, audio and video
- Expanded detail view with 3D touch
- Notification actions
- Target based push notifications
- Vendors in push notifications
2) Mobile App Deep Linking
Another way to boost engagement is to employ deep linking. Deep linking is the practice of using a within-app linking structure to direct mobile users to specific pages within the app, rather than directing the user to the app’s homepage.
This form of engagement is the mobile app equivalent of a URL, allowing users and developers to take advantage of a deeper layer of share-ability. Deep linking makes it possible to share a specific piece of application content with a URL, just as you would a web page.
3) Localization + Internationalization
Engage with your users on a cultural level by speaking to them in their own language. Localization is the process of translating your app into multiple languages. Traditionally, the option to choose a language is offered upon launch, however an option in the application settings can also be dedicated to this feature.
But before you can localize your app, you have to internationalize it. Put simply, it’s the process of giving your app the ability to adapt to different languages, regions, and cultures. In other words, design and develop the application in a way that makes it easy to localize the content.
4) Spotlight Indexing
Sometimes, increasing user engagement is as simple as letting users search the app. Search is such an innate part of being a 21st century consumer, that it’s only natural for a user to delight at the prospect of integrating more content into standard search.
Spotlight indexing gives developers the ability to index application content in spotlight search, allowing users to search the app without ever opening it. This is a subtle form of engagement, as it allows the app to still capture the user’s attention even after it is closed.
Sirikit gives your app the ability to converse with your users. Leverage the Siri interface to engage with users in a very natural way—via conversation.
For now, Siri will only be able to engage with apps that fall into one of the following categories (updates will expand the list):
- VoIP calling
- Ride booking
- Photo Search
6) App Analytics
In order to engage with your users, you’ve got to know your users. When it comes to user engagement, analytics is your secret weapon. You’ll gain a wealth of knowledge about your user base which can in turn be used to tailor user engagement.
Imagine being able to see how many people downloaded your app, how much money you’re making off of each segment, and what users think of your app, among other things.
7) Social Media Integration
As social media use continues to dominate your users’ time year after year, its importance as both a marketing tool, and as a way of engaging with your app’s user base cannot be overstated.
While social shareability is critical to engagement, it ought not be intrusive, and must not interfere with the user experience. When done correctly, however, social shareability can you bring your business countless new users.