All the user acquisition activity in the world is useless if you don’t have a strong on-boarding and retention strategy. According to Alon Even: Most mobile experts agree that in the world of apps, retention is the most important measurement today to gauge just how valuable your app is in the eyes of your users. You don’t just want to be useful, you want your app to become a ritual for your user.
The first step in keeping a user is in welcoming them with a strong first impression of your app and the experience of becoming a user. With this in mind, what can you do to build a solid on-boarding strategy for your app?
Splash Screen — Valuable Real Estate or a Waste of Time?
For many apps, the very first thing a user experiences upon launch is a splash screen. Either emblazoned with a picture and large logo or full of useful information about the app, both do the job of pausing a user while the data for the app loads in the background. Some see the splash screen in an app as a valuable opportunity for branding since the user has to wait for data to load regardless. Other schools of thought feel that any blocking of the main app screen should be avoided at all costs and suggest instead to optimize for fast load times, allowing users to begin to see the app immediately.
The only way to know the best experience for your specific users during the initial load of the app is to test. Try both and see which method is more successful in getting your users to stick around past the first few screens of your app.
User Accounts — Ask for a Commitment Now or Just Date a While First?
How would you feel if you wanted to get into an exclusive store and you had to fill out a lengthy questionnaire at the door? What if you downloaded some app everyone had been talking about, but you had to become a member before you even understood what the app was for and what you were signing up for? That’s exactly what many apps do; ask you to commit to being a user without even a peek inside the app itself.
Again, there are many schools of thought on the topic of user accounts and when to request (or demand) that a user sign up for your service or app. Some feel that the payoff for getting users signed up — and accepting push notifications — as quickly as possible is worth the risk of losing some potential user who is turned off by this strategy. Others feel that the best login flow is undoubtedly no login at all. The problem is that 80–90% of apps are deleted after being used once. So ask yourself the question: Do you really need users to log in?
There are many options for the when and how of user signups. You can require a user to have an account only at the time of their first purchase. Some apps allow a user to browse the app and functionality but require an account to fully interact with the app.
Again, the only way to know what method will work best for your users and your business will be to rigorously test the options with real users in real time. You don’t want to leave this most important step to chance.
Test Your Brilliant Ideas
During each step and touchpoint in your on-boarding process, there are opportunities to delight your user as well as potential pitfalls. The most successful apps are those that take a results-driven approach to developing and testing their users’ experience.
From testing different versions of a splash screen to running experiments of social sign-up, utilizing a nimble and visual testing platform will help to create a culture of “test first” within your organization. These are the organizations with apps whose users not only commit but become evangelists of their app. With evangelists and users who are willing to get a tattoo of your logo, your user acquisition efforts get much, much easier. Apps with that kind of following, with that kind of test-first culture — these are the apps that win.