As a developer, have you ever wondered how you can improve engagement with your apps, and keep users, erm, using them?
The âengagementâ problem
The ultimate engagement problem is that with a mobile app, developers canât properly relate with their users because, unlike the Web, apps are âwalledâ and limited to what they do within the app. You generally donât see the bigger picture.
âMost users drop an app after after they download it,â says Ouriel Ohayon Appsfire co-founder. âHow do you keep them engaged? Apps are created liked sandboxed pieces of software where the user has to âfigure it outâ with whatâs in the app.â
Indeed, the issue generally is that users have lots of apps on their device â around 65 on average, according to some sources â which battle for usersâ attention. Of course, the likes of Gmail, EverNote, Dropbox, Facebook, Twitter and others do have significant traction and user-uptake, but itâs fair to say that most of a userâs â65 appsâ sit largely unused.
âIt is complex for a developer and, even more, a non-developer, to reach its users once the app is published, says Ohayon. ââPushâ [notifications] is usually tried, but itâs mostly for those who accept âpushâ â a big chunk of users never accept it.â
Ohayon also says that app users typically feel disconnected from the developers behind an app, and they have no real way to approach the developer. âAll they can do is interact with the app,â he continues. âThereâs no way to send feedback, ideas, kudosâ¦the mobile app industry seems obsessed by the number of downloads and ranking, but what about engagement? What s the point of having so many users if they are not really using your app? Engagement is particularly key as more and more paid apps turn to freemium, and free apps rely on usage to monetize through ads.â
What App Booster promisesâ¦
App Booster is a software development kit (SDK) aimed at helping developers and publishers keep their users active and engaged within the app. It lets developers integrate a 2-way inbox, making it look like a native feature of the app and allows the developer to broadcast in-app notifications, in whatÂ Ohayon calls a ânon-intrusive wayâ.
App Booster lets developers send a welcome message to new users automatically, inform them of new app updates, remind users of new features â âMost users never read update notes,â says Ohayon, organize contests and give tips on how to get the most from the app.
In addition to this, the SDK lets developers cross-promote their other apps, communicate issues relating to app maintenance and generally solicit feedback. âPositive feedback reroutes automatically to the App Store or Android market to post a review,â says Ohayon. âWhen a notification is broadcast, it triggers a âbubbleâ on the appâs icon and within the app. If the developer wishes, they can also send the message via Push notification â though only to those who accept âpushâ. All this is done and monitored via a Web dashboard. Zero technical knowledge is required.â
The story so farâ¦
The App Booster SDK has been privately tested by a few apps in the build up to todayâs launch, and Ohayon tells us that the developers in question have observed engagement with the notification-wall of âup to 50%, and click-through-rate (CTR) of between 15% and 50%.
âAppsfire is expanding its paid discovery solution to third party apps, but we wanted to do it with the partnership of developers, in a non-intrusive way, not conflicting with traditional ad formats which are themselves mostly intrusive, and providing superior interaction with the users,â he says. âMany large and popular apps have built their own notification systems, such as Facebook and Foursquare for news feeds, but this is very hard to build it right yourself. It took us eight months of research and development so far, and weâre not done yet!â
The current state-of-play
Push notifications are a way for an app to broadcast information to a mobile phone (e.g. an alert, or pop-up message), even when the app isnât actively being used. âMany [apps] rely on push notifications which are activated in at best fifty percent of the time, not mention the overload of notifications even with the new notification center â in both iOS and Android,â says Ohayon. âMost developers never talk to their users other than through their app update notes, which are rarely fully read.â
Ohayon adds that some may also use traditional âad unitsâ, which he says disrupt the app experience and try to engage with the user, whether thatâs to ârate the appâ, subscribe a newsletter and so on. âThe traditional âContact usâ option is often hidden in a âmoreâ sub menu,â he says. âThe bottom line is that, currently, the communication between users and developers is broken â and this has an impact on how an app is perceived and used.â
In terms of implementing the SDK, itâs essentially a few lines of code and it should take around twenty minutes to integrate into any app. App Booster is optimized for iOS (iPhone and iPad), Android and will soon be available in HTML5. Itâs free for developers to use.
â¤ App Booster