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Hacking Growth: How to Increase Active Users (DAU, WAU, MAU)

February 21, 2024

Marketing and growth, product team, and user support – this is how to increase active users using all of your roles and teams in tandem to drive product usage

How many users are logging in and actively using your product every day, week, or month?

Active usage often indicates users are realising value, which means you’re doing the right things. So when usage drops off (or doesn’t take off to start), it’s usually an indication that there’s some work to be done on your product/website.

(Note: “active users” here means people entering or logging into your product and actively engaging with it. Measured as either Daily Active Users (DAU), Weekly Active Users (WAU), or Monthly Active Users (MAU)).

So, how do you increase active users on your product?

We’re going to show you 10 strategic tactics that utilise all your teams/roles at once. But first, let’s start by asking exactly why you need more users…

Why would you need active users?

We’re going to out on a limb here and propose that, if you’re looking for ways to increase your active users, it's probably for one of two reasons:

  1. Either you’re new, just started, and need early adopters 
  2. Or you had users but are experiencing some drop-off

See how to use analytics for better app user engagement.

Getting active users for a new product

When starting out, getting the basics down is vital. So here’s a quick-fire checklist for making sure you’re user-ready:

  • Is your product concept validated? Complete with competitor and market analyses and a go-to-market strategy? See why you need to test your ideas first, how to validate your product, and all about concept validation.
  • Is your value proposition tested, refined, and optimised? It needs to be very clear to users why they need your product and how to use it from the first interaction. See how to develop a product engagement strategy and how to increase app engagement.
  • Do you have a marketing strategy? The old maxim of “build it and they will come” is a bit misleading, you need to actively go and fetch users by targeting the right user with the right message on the right platform.

Recovering active users from a drop-off

Here’s a quick discovery method for finding out why your users are disappearing:

  1. Look outside your business: Do a quick search around your competitive landscape and see if anyone’s launched a new, cheaper, faster, or better product that does the same as yours does. A new competitor is usually the most likely and easily discoverable cause for drop-offs.
  2. Look inside your business: Painful as it is to admit, drop-offs often happen when you’re on a growth streak and internal people or processes start slacking a bit. Go back and just check that everyone and everything is working and doing every task you know needs to be done daily, weekly, and monthly.
  3. Look to your data: If you still haven’t found the cause, jump onto your analytics and look for where the drop-offs are happening. If you’re lucky, there might be one place (step) in your funnel that’s broken down, allowing you to fix it quickly.
  4. Ask your users: If all else fails, organise user feedback sessions/interviews asap. Engage with users to try and find out why they might be going somewhere else.

In general, there are usually specific and discoverable reasons for drop-off. There’s no need to panic, just go through it step by step. Here are some common causes for low app engagement and low user growth. See why you need a digital consultant in today's market.

Now, let’s get into some serious strategies for increasing active users…

How to increase active users: 11 Strategies for you

For something as important as driving usage, you’ll probably want to engage your entire team and maybe deploy them at the same time. So we’ve divided these 10 strategies into specific tasks for marketing, product, and support functions:

Marketing and Growth team

1. Engage Active Performance Marketing

Start by running and perfecting Google Ads for acquiring new users – it’s short, text-based and targets users actively searching for solutions like yours, thus a little easier and more valuable to get right. Begin with low daily spends, testing various options till you find ones that stick, where your Acquisition Cost is 3x times lower than the return you get per paying user. Then slowly increase your spend to get scale.

(It’s a learning curve but just stick to the formula of A-B testing until you find a format that delivers about 3x your acquisition cost back in returns [conversions].)

Then, once you have search ads down, expand to visual mediums – LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok etc. and repeat the process.

2. Leverage Social Sharing

People today live on social media and, executed well, your social activities can create a great source of not only new users but also organic traffic. First off, creating sharable content on your own channels that puts your value proposition forward and piques interest can be a great way to engage new users. You can create entire engagement campaigns around showing the features and benefits of your product.

At the same time, you can leverage your current users by encouraging them to share content they generate within your product via their own channels. This works well if you can incentivise users to take action. 

3. Employ Content Marketing

Content marketing is a crucial strategy for attracting new users and keeping existing ones engaged. Marketing teams can focus on creating and promoting content that not only showcases your product but also educates and informs your target audience.

Develop a content strategy, generate high-quality content, and focus on Search Engine Optimisable origins for your content (i.e. start by creating it on your website/blog), then use that same content to multiply effectiveness across various channels – turn posts into videos, slideshows, podcasts and galleries to share across various channels.

4. Create a Referral Programme

Incentivising current users to acquire and refer new users is a powerful way to organically grow your user base. Start by creating enticing incentives for your users to refer others, and then be sure to communicate it properly to them and have them see the value.

It also helps if you can automate the process and maybe give your users a dashboard where they can track their benefits. This frees your team up to A-B test different incentives and campaigns for effectiveness.

Product and Development team

5. User-Centric Design

90% of users base their decisions to engage with a product on the user experience. It thus makes sense that your UX/UI Design should be top-notch. User-friendly interfaces with seamless experiences that are refined with user feedback are vital.

If you suspect your UI is not what it needs to be, have a look at the signs you need a UX audit and the business benefits of a UX audit.

6. Add some Personalisation

Studies show that 71% of users expect companies to deliver personalised experiences. And you can do this in stages. Start off with simple user acknowledgement – as simple as welcoming the user by name, and creating a personal profile space for them. Then enhance it by utilising data to give personalised recommendations and allow users to personalise their own experience a little.

Then you can start doing user profiling – use your data or AI – to gather info on different types of users and start delivering more advanced recommendations and experiences. Also, keep A-B testing different features, so you use what’s most effective.

7. Use Gamification

One of the biggest benefits of tech and software is its ability to package even the most complex processes in a more engaging way. Gamifying even the most menial task makes it more enjoyable and rewarding, so building in simple elements such as points, badges, leaderboards, and challenges can go a long way towards engaging users.

You can even build in rewards and incentives to drive engagement and build in feedback loops – notify users of their progress and tell them how to achieve their next reward, etc. See all the benefits of custom software.

8. Data-Driven Decision-Making

It should go without saying, but it’s best to give your user what they are looking for. Often we have an initial dream or vision of what our product can and should be, but when deployed in the real world you learn that users want something slightly different.

That’s why using analytics to review user behaviour and then get feedback from them so that you can iteratively build the product THEY want is key.

User Support and Engagement team

9. Investigate a Community Building Method

Building an engaged community around your product can be incredible for boosting usage. So get your support team to look at user feedback and identify opportunities for building a community – it can be around a specific user segment needing to do a specific task etc.

Then, have the support team collaborate with your marketing team to find a platform to host the community create content, deliver value, boost engagement, market it as a “feature” and build a funnel that drives straight back to your product.

10. Look for Ways to Optimise Onboarding

Slow, bloated, and unclear onboarding is the fastest way to lose users. So use your support team to actively gather feedback on what would help users realise value faster, better, and more often. Then have them collaborate with the product team to really streamline that onboarding experience.

11. Create Feedback Loops

Getting back to a user when they’ve maybe left your platform with valuable information or actions is a great way to go and fetch users back onto your product and prevent CHURN. Your support team can again collect data and collaborate with the product team to build automated feedback loops that enhance all the other strategies on this list.

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