On September 8th, 2022, App Growth Summit hosted a full day of panels and networking sessions for app marketers and developers to exchange ideas and prepare for Q4. YouAppi’s Senior Vice President of Growth, Hilit Mioduser, joined the stage in London with fellow marketing experts to discuss how leveraging user psychology is one of the most important strategies you can utilize for your app’s growth and long term return on investment. Hilit went into detail on how to retain quality users using behavior analysis with key insights from her fellow panelists, Florian Gleissner Marketing Manager at Admiral Media, Marketing Manager, Olga Morozova, and CEO of Rap Tech Studios Alena Golden.

Olga: What are the main blockers that you experience within your business (app or marketing-wise) and how do you leverage user psychology to get around those blockers?

Alena: Our goal is to encourage users to complete a target action or have that “aha” moment as soon as possible after the initial download. For our app, the target action is to record a song and publish that to the community. It’s a complicated action to complete, especially in the first session, since it’s a very creative process. We remove all obstacles on the path of the user so that they can complete this action easily and quickly. What we have learned over the years is that the signup process can be a really big frustration point for users, especially for Gen-Z. In order to have users complete desired actions within the app, you need to understand these frustration points and how to mitigate them. 

For example, we have realized the Gen-Z users would rather not have signup information be sent to their email but rather go through their phones. Because of this, we allow users to use almost all of the functionality of the platform without registration, we also allow a 1-step registration process and request push permissions early in the process so that we don’t lose Gen-Z users that have short attention spans. 

Olga: Florian, what does a well designed activation phase look like to you?

Florian: The goal of the activation phase is to have users use the app without actually thinking about using the app. We want them to build a new habit in their daily routine. The hard part is actually achieving this goal. In order to get users to build this habit, we make sure that when they enter the app, they receive some sort of kind message or reward – similarly to how you would reward your pet if they are completing a good behavior. When the user doesn’t come into the app, you need to motivate them to come back and show them what they may be missing. Another way to get users to build the habit of coming back to the app is to give users a reason why to come back to the app daily. You can do this through gamification or spotlight new features, etc. My last piece of advice is to take your time. In my experience, it takes about 10-30 days to keep a user activated and motivated. 

Alena: I can agree with that – we try to keep our users activated by providing them with daily rewards. It’s actually very simple, the user will get a push notification inviting them back into the app to collect an award and the more days they collect in a row, the higher the reward gets. The key is to develop the user habit.

Hilit: I have one more thing to add in regards to the activation aspect – app developers these days have more signals outside of just install that help recognize what is that sweet spot where the user left. If we offer a trial, for example, we can see when exactly a user dropped off and what stage of the user funnel we should work on. The idea is to make that user stick and stay, whether it’s through in-app events or personalization. Using this data is crucial to find out exactly when the user has left or returned to the app. 

Olga: Now that we have talked about the activation, we can move to reenagment of users and the importance of leveraging user psychology for retaining users. Hilit, will you tell us a little more about this concept?

Hilit: Yes, for sure! One of the best things about working with gaming partners is that they are very advanced with their knowledge of data that they share and understand how we can leverage this data to build a strategy. We not only analyze the basic, raw data of users, but also need to dive into the psychology behind this data – aka seasonality, segmentation, etc. We need to make sure that our partner has the ability to make creatives that reflect the data we are seeing. We also want to ensure that we are being cost effective and by looking at user psychology, it helps us put more effort into users that will have a higher lifetime value rather than waste money elsewhere. 

Olga: Florian, will you share more about how to increase conversion rates?

Florian: One main thing I have learned about monetization is that if you are giving an offer to a user, the user needs to see why they are getting that offer. You can use seasonal events to offer users discounts to re-engage them in your app, for example Black Friday, Christmas, or Easter. Or you can create your own reason why such as certain achievements within the app. You also want to incentivize your users based on their behaviors. If you have a health app, you can reward users as they achieve certain goals so that these rewards make sense to the user and they have motivation to continue using the platform. 

You also need to think about the amount of rewards being given and make sure that they make sense – you wouldn’t want to give 90% off on the first day and then 20% on the next because the user will just wait until they get the 90% again. When you combine behavior based offers with timely ones, you end up with the best possible user offer journey and a good conversion rate.

Alena: I love these ideas! I want to add that we have learned that by splitting the user base into two groups – new users and existing loyal users. It is important to offer these two groups different subscription options. We see that newer users may not be ready for that commitment but if we offer that to the existing user base, they are more likely to sign up for yearly or monthly subscriptions. 

Hilit: I think the most important thing for the app developer is to test with the right audiences and make sure that you are taking a look at the analytics side to see if the tests are going well. Once you see the data, you can build the proper strategies. You can A/B test the messaging as well as the test users you are targeting with that same messaging. Like you said, Alena, having the same messaging for two groups of users may have two different outcomes and that’s important to understand for the future. 

Florian: The most important thing about A/B testing is to just do it! Any A/B testing is better than no A/B test. You also need to plan your test – success always comes with a plan. Write down exactly what KPI you want to focus on before you begin your test. Another key piece of advice is to make sure you are testing one thing against another at a time so that you know exactly what is influencing one another. 

Alena: I completely agree that A/B testing is crucial! I know some people are reluctant since it takes a lot of time but it always brings success after you run a successful test. 

Hilit: Because we are more on the media side, it’s really important to ask for transparency and to have a clear understanding of the buying environment and that there aren’t any noises that interfere with the test. Another thing that is crucial to a successful A/B test is to have clear KPIs set before you begin. It is also necessary to have bandwidth to implement the changes that can be found after the test. 

Olga: Before we wrap up, what would be your final piece of advice for how to leverage user psychology in retention efforts?

Florian: Get to know your user! You learn a lot from your user so conducting not only A/B tests but also surveys and user interviews can help you decide what changes will help with overall retention and re-engagement. 

Alena: I agree with Florian. I also will add that you should not always just trust your initial gut feeling – you need to go with the data and see what is actually working versus what you think might work. 

Hilit: I think it is essential to always be learning more about your users and to understand that every user is different. Also, like we mentioned before, having clear KPIs and analysis of data is crucial!

Takeaways from Apps Growth Summit London 2022:

  • It is important to understand that each user is unique. Because not all users are the same, understanding the psychology your user allows you to tailor in-app events efficiently. 
  • Test test test! A/B testing is a key component when finding what is currently working within your app and determining what messaging to use and when. Having set KPIs determined before your test and only testing two features are necessary steps in order to conduct a successful A/B test. 
  • Reward your user – make sure your user is motivated to come back into the app in order to make using your app a habit! 

Request an invite or book a meeting with us at the next App Growth Summit!