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How to Leverage Analytics for Better App User Engagement

February 21, 2024

From problem discovery to implementation and tracking effectiveness – this is how to use analytics to improve your app user engagement 

How do you use data to increase user engagement?

Once your product/venture scales to a certain level, you can’t rely on individual insights or contributions anymore – you need to be methodical and data-driven regarding product optimisation - see how to use big data to understand customer needs.

Here’s what you need to know about how to leverage analytics for better app user engagement.

First: What is user engagement?

It’s how people engage and use your app. From how many active app users you have at any given time, to app opens, session length (how long they use the app for, per session), the intervals between sessions, behaviour flow (what they do during a session), your conversions, in-app communication and your user retention rates (how well you keep users coming back). And you can use that information for more data-driven product development.

Discover some of the most common causes of low app engagement, and look at our guide on improving your user engagement strategy. Also see how data boosts customer loyalty and the key differentiation strategies in a competitive market.

And to fully understand the power of omnichannel in retail, see our POS integration case studies.

How do you measure & calculate user engagement?

Using your analytics tool(s) – Google Analytics, Amplitude, Mixpanel, AppDynamics, UXCam, AppFollow, etc. – you can track the following:

  • Daily Active Users (DAU) – people using your app in 24 hours
  • Monthly Active Users (MAU) – number of unique users per month
  • DAU/MAU rate – your DAU divided by your MAU gives you a stickiness ratio (anything above 20% is good, and over 25% is excellent!)
  • Engaged users – number of users who took the target step (clicked on ad, upgraded – whatever your main goal is for users)
  • Sessions –screen views and time spent in-app
  • Retention rate – users coming back to your app (Active Users divided by your total installs – aim for 42%)
  • Churn rate – lost users who’ve uninstalled or stopped engaging (2%–8% per month, the lower the better)

See how to calculate your app engagement rate and see the must-have retail app features for personalised user journeys.

Next, learn how one of the world's largest retailers do things in our in-depth case study on the Amazon omnichannel strategy and then learn how to perform in-depth customer feedback analysis.

9 Ways to use analytics for better app user engagement

1. User Retention Rates

You should already be tracking basic engagement metrics like daily (DAU), weekly (WAU), and monthly active users (MAU), but to get a handle on retention rates fast, use a cohort analysis – grouping users based on their sign-up date, or a similar common characteristic. (Setting up cohorts works differently in various analytics platforms, but basically, you’re trying to isolate only the people who signed up in a certain time frame – month, week, etc.)

Analyse like so

Review as many different cohorts as possible, looking at how long they stay active after signing up. Then identify where they drop off, looking for patterns – are they all dropping off at the same point perhaps, or generally at a few specific stages in the journey? Then those are your problem areas. 

Optimise like so

Improve onboarding: if it looks like people are coming in and not getting much further than onboarding, look for pain points in onboarding, see how you can streamline, and maybe personalise their experience a bit.

New content and features: If engagement’s dropping off further into the journey, see which screens/parts of the app have high engagement, to learn from there what kind of content and features you’ll need to introduce in poorly performing areas. Try to integrate some user feedback here, so you can get some guidance, and then A–B test any new features and content you add.

Re-engage users: You can always try to re-engage lost users with targeted campaigns, push notifications, and emails, inviting them to try out your new features.

Also, see how to increase your active users and how to do customer journey mapping to anticipate needs as well as in-depth customer journey analytics and how to hyper-personalise and drive engagement with full customer data analytics.

2. User Acquisition Sources

Your app's user base is built from various channels, such as social media, search engines, advertisements, or referrals. It's crucial to understand which of these sources are most effective at not only attracting users but also bringing in those who stay active and engaged. Different analytics platforms will allow you to track the origin of your users and follow their journey within your app.

Analyse like so

Focus on comparing the user retention and engagement levels from each acquisition source. Look for patterns such as certain channels bringing in users who engage more deeply with your app or have a higher lifetime value. Also, pay attention to any recent changes in acquisition trends – a new marketing campaign, for instance, might be bringing in a lot of users, but are they sticking around?

Optimise like so

Refine targeting: If certain channels are underperforming, consider refining your targeting strategy or creative approach on those platforms.

Resource allocation: Allocate more resources to channels that are performing well. This could mean increasing ad spend, focusing more on certain social media platforms, etc.

Enhancing user matching: Make sure your app's offerings align well with the expectations set by your marketing channels.

And see what causes low user growth.

3. Session Duration and Frequency

Session duration and frequency provide insights into how engaged users are with your app. A decrease in these metrics might indicate a loss of interest or a lack of compelling content.

Analyse like so

Use your analytics to monitor how long and how often users engage with your app. Look for trends over time and across different user segments. Are certain types of users more active than others? Are there specific times when engagement peaks or dips?

Optimise like so

Enhancing content: If session durations are short, consider adding more engaging and relevant content to keep users interested.

Improving user experience: Examine the app’s usability. Are there friction points that might be causing users to leave?

Targeted engagement strategies: Develop strategies like personalized notifications or in-app messages to encourage users to return to the app more frequently.

Discover the 6 signs you need a UX audit.

4. User Flow and Drop-off Points

User flow analysis helps you understand the paths users take within your app and where they might be dropping off.

Analyse like so

Map out the common journeys users take in your app and identify at which points users tend to exit. These drop-off points might be indicative of issues such as confusing navigation, lack of engaging content, or technical problems.

Optimise like so

UI/UX improvements: Make navigation more intuitive and user-friendly. Consider redesigning complicated or confusing interfaces.

Content optimization: If users are dropping off at points where they’re expected to consume content or interact with a feature, evaluate how you can make these aspects more engaging.

Technical fixes: Ensure that there are no technical glitches or performance issues at drop-off points.

Learn all about getting the perfect UI/UX for your product and get deeper insights with customer journey analytics.

5. Feature Usage

Feature usage metrics provide insights into which parts of your app are most engaging to users. Tracking how frequently and how users interact with different features is crucial to understanding what's working and what isn't.

Analyse like so

Your analytics platform can show you engagement rates for each feature. Look for trends such as features that are rarely used or have declining usage over time. This could indicate that these features are not meeting user needs or are not intuitive enough.

Optimise like so

Feature improvement: For features that are underperforming, consider how they can be improved. This might involve redesigning the user interface, adding new functionalities, or making them more accessible within the app.

Simplification or removal: If certain features are consistently underused and don't add significant value, it might be more beneficial to simplify or even remove them. This can help streamline the user experience and focus on what users find most valuable.

See how to build features and products in a third of the time with low-code apps and learn how to hyper-personalise and drive engagement with full customer data analytics.

6. Page Load and Response Times

Page load and response times are critical for user satisfaction. Slow load times can frustrate users and lead to app abandonment.

Analyse like so

Use performance monitoring tools to track how long it takes for your app's pages to load and respond to user inputs. Compare these times across different devices and network conditions to identify any performance bottlenecks.

Optimise like so

Optimising assets: Reduce the size of images and other media in your app to speed up load times.

Server performance: Consider upgrading your server or using a content delivery network (CDN) to improve response times.

Code optimisation: Review your app’s code for inefficiencies. Optimizing backend processes and database queries can significantly improve performance.

See why your product needs an agile development team.

7. Error Rates

High error rates can be a major turn-off for users. Tracking error logs and crash reports is essential to maintain a smooth user experience.

Analyse like so

Regularly monitor your app’s error logs and crash reports to identify common issues. Look for patterns in these errors, such as specific features that are prone to bugs or times when crashes are more frequent.

Optimise like so

Prioritise bug fixes: Focus on fixing high-impact bugs first. These are issues that affect a large number of users or critically impact the app's functionality.

Improving testing processes: Enhance your app’s testing procedures to catch potential bugs before updates are released.

Stability enhancements: Work on overall app stability improvements, which might involve updating libraries, refining code, and optimizing server interactions.

Learn how to get the help you need with a balance of insourcing and outsourced developers.

8. Feedback and Ratings

Feedback and ratings from users provide direct insights into their experiences and satisfaction with your app. These are invaluable for understanding user needs and preferences.

Analyse like so

Read and analyze user feedback regularly to identify common themes – both positive and negative – or repeated issues in the feedback, so you know what’s working well and what’s not.

Optimise like so

Addressing issues: Use updates to address common complaints and issues highlighted by users. This shows that you’re responsive and value user feedback.

Engaging with users: Respond to user reviews and feedback, both positive and negative. This engagement can build a sense of community and show users that their input is valued. And you can get additional info from ongoing conversations.

Feature updates and improvements: Incorporate suggestions from user feedback into your app’s development roadmap.

See how to improve your app conversion rate and gain valuable insights from customer journey analytics.

9. Demographic Data

Demographic data of your users (such as age, gender, location, etc.) can provide valuable insights into who your users are and what they might need or expect from your app.

Analyse like so

Break down user data by demographics; segment and look for trends in app usage, preferences, and feedback among different demographic groups. This can help identify if certain features or content resonate more with specific segments.

Optimise like so

Content tailoring: Adjust your app’s content, UI/UX, and features to better align with the preferences of your primary user demographics. For example, younger users might prefer different features or design elements than older users.

Targeted marketing: Use these insights to inform your marketing strategies. Tailor your marketing campaigns to appeal more directly to the key demographic segments of your user base.

Inclusive design: Ensure that your app is accessible and appealing to a diverse range of users, considering various cultural and demographic factors.

Next, get a more in-depth look at the costs, benefits and uses of various customer feedback and experience platforms and see how to hyper-personalise and drive engagement with full customer data analytics.

Also see how to outsource development with less risk and better results, and see how to use big data to understand customer needs.

In retail? See how to integrate your POS.

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