Disengagement is one of the main reasons why people uninstall mobile apps, apart from sluggish functionality and large installation files eating up internal phone storage space. Being disengaged from an app does not meant that the user no longer likes the app, but simply that they find no further use for it. They have not used the app in a while because they did not get any motivation to do so. And every once in a while people clean up their smartphones by uninstalling apps they feel that they no longer need.

From “Great App” to “Uninstall”

When people install an app they pursue the immediate satisfying of a need or solving of a problem. This can mean anything from accessing information to making purchases, or getting in touch with a company they are already doing business with in a simpler and faster manner.

Over time, the interaction with the app decreases as their motivation curve starts moving downwards. Maybe it was a one-time need and, once the problem was solved, the users no longer needed the app. Or maybe they simply forgot about it because the excitement was gone and they were given no extra motivation.

How can companies keep their mobile users motivated and engaged? In truth, the strategy for mobile app development should be an integral part of customer acquisition and retention programs. Just as email newsletters and social media communication follow a clear schedule, mobile app engagement strategies must be coherent, planned ahead and executed accordingly.

What Does It Take to Keep Your Users Engaged?

If you want to see your mobile app uninstall rates go down, you need to evaluate what your company is doing to remind users about your app. A statistical study conducted by Nielsen indicates that the average smartphone user has 27 apps installed on their smartphone, while another study, conducted by comScore, indicated that only three of all installed apps are used frequently (80% of the total app usage time).

These statistics are worrisome, but they should represent a motivation for companies to do their best and get their app among those top three most frequently used. So, how can this be done?

1. Push Notifications

Push notifications are a great way to keep your users engaged. Not only do they receive useful information in a timely manner, but they are constantly reminded of your company’s mobile app. The saying “out of sight, out of mind” applies to mobile apps as much as to any other aspect. Lost somewhere at the bottom of the third screen on their smartphone, your app would become a forgotten memory to users if you do not actively give them reasons to use it.

2. Mobile-Only Loyalty Programs

Rewards are still the number one reason why people interact with businesses and their digital properties. A discount or free eBook for signing up on the newsletter is the typical example of rewards which companies offer. In the mobile world, your loyalty and reward strategy should include mobile-only programs.

This kind of program can be created as an accumulation of loyalty points, tiered thresholds of discounts or access to premium features for a specific number or type of interactions with the mobile app.

3. Content Tailored for the Mobile App

Exclusive content should be created and shared only on your mobile app. After all, if people can access the same content through your social media accounts or website, why would they use the mobile app? Together with mobile-specific sale campaigns and discounts, exclusive mobile app content gives your users a good reason to keep your app installed and use it frequently.

4. Gamification

Everyone loves games, at every stage of life. And mobile apps are the perfect medium to develop your users’ engagement with your brand into a game. The term “game” is used loosely here – it can mean anything from a quiz or a challenge to perform certain actions and follow through with various calls to action, etc.

5. Make App Content Share Friendly

Adding social sharing buttons in your app is a great way to keep your users not just engaged, but also actively promoting the app and its content to their friends. Most people want to share meaningful aspects of what they do every day, from a purchase they’ve just made to the fact that they reached a higher level in the game they are playing. Not being able to share these from the app is a big damper on their enthusiasm to use it.