You know the scenario: you’ve lovingly developed a new app that you and your team feel has the potential to take off, but after launch you’re disappointed by the user response. What did you miss? It looks great, loads quickly and is full of awesome features, but your stats show that many users are trying it once or twice and ditching it.

If this sounds familiar, you probably need to embrace app onboarding – but how do you do it?

What exactly is onboarding?

Essentially, app onboarding is about holding your new users’ hands while they learn how to use your app, and encouraging them to trust you with their data. Essentially it’s the same as any marketing activity – it’s all about relationship building.

It’s estimated that 90% of people give up on an app after one use – primarily because the developer and/or company haven’t done everything possible to keep them ‘on board’. If you don’t want to end up another statistic, you need to go back to your app and ensure you have the following parts of the user journey in place.

How do you increase app engagement?

Anyone who knows anything about digital design knows that they have barely two seconds to engage the visitor before they hit the ‘back’ button and move on to a competitor’s site – do you really think it’s any different for your app?

Okay, you may have a little longer to grab your user’s attention because they’ve already invested time in downloading your app, but you still have to hook them in from the opening screen.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Sell the benefits – explain quickly and simply why they need your app, what it does and how to use it. Focus on the key benefit first.
  • Develop trust – let the user play around with the features before you demand any personal information.
  • Make the learning process enjoyable – the learning curve is always uncomfortable. In today’s instant gratification society you need to make the process of understanding your app’s features and UI a pleasure, so they stay engaged and want to keep progressing through the stages.
  • Offer an immediate payoff – your users should be able to use your app effectively right from the start. If they have a negative experience that leaves them without the expected payoff, they’re highly unlikely to stick around or come back for more of the same disappointment.

Make your on boarding app apt!

When thinking about how to increase app engagement, it’s vital that you create an onboarding experience that’s appropriate for your audience and your app. So if you’re creating a game, make the onboarding process a walkthrough that’s visually stimulating and fun. Is it an app for improving productivity? Perhaps concentrate on the efficient use of language and simplicity of user experience.

Build a relationship with your user

Your goal is to reduce the stress or anxiety the new user will be feeling and creating the impression that you’re rooting for them and understand their needs – which, of course, should be totally true! Pitching your onboarding in the right way is essential to building a trusting relationship that will bear fruit when you develop your next app. Research suggests that brand loyalty is a real factor in the world of mobile apps, in the same way as the broader marketing sense.

As you can see, app onboarding is at least as important as great design and function. Make the most of it and your apps will create the kind of buzz that translates into profit, presence and increased engagement.