Strategies for Building a Loyal User Base in Mobile Apps

The statistics on the success of mobile apps reveal just how difficult it is to build a loyal customer base. 25% of people uninstall mobile apps immediately after downloading and using them just once. Over 70% of mobile apps are uninstalled within 90 days. There are numerous reasons why over 99% of all app projects fail. A lack of resources to improve features and fix bugs is a major contributing factor. However, a lack of commitment to excellence in service delivery is perhaps an even more significant reason.

If you are planning to build or have already built a mobile application, you need to figure out how to build a big enough loyal customer base for sustenance. Whether you are depending on ads or subscription revenue, loyalty is crucial for long-term survival. A small improvement in customer retention rate can yield a large multiple increase in revenue.

In this article, we explore ways to build and maintain customer loyalty.

Understanding Your Users

The first step in building customer loyalty has to be understanding your customers.  What this means is that you have up-to-date information on user demographics and how they interact with your app. You must have a way to collect this data on a continuous basis and then find ways to segment your customers to serve them better.

There are multiple ways to gain insights into who your customers are. The first is through the data collected during onboarding. The age, gender, and location of your users is normally useful when attempting to personalize content and offerings for them.

Another way to get insights is through conducting surveys regularly. You can administer these as pop-ups in the user journey. A lot of companies use this method to collect information on the overall experience of users. You could conduct interviews from a sample of your users although this is a more involving and perhaps expensive way to gain information.

However, automated analytics tools are the most powerful source of data when seeking to improve your app. These can reveal the average time users spend on your app, the most visited pages, the page from which people exit, and a lot more. These tools are not too expensive and are easily scalable as your user numbers grow.




Engaging Users

While data collection is key in understanding users, your engagement with users is the primary way to build a relationship leading to a longer customer lifetime. A simple personalized email or pop-up wishing them a happy birthday is a small example. However, you can extend this to make customers feel valued and part of your brand journey.

Perhaps you are testing a new feature or version of your app. You could invite a group of users to test it for a few weeks and offer their feedback. Some companies release a limited version of a product and avail them exclusively to a segment of customers on the app. Such campaigns are meant to drive a sense of connection between the brand and its most loyal customers.

Social media is a great way to endear a brand to current and prospective customers. By adopting a likable and relatable online persona, a brand not only remains top-of-mind but it also reveals its values and courses it cares about. Responding to questions and not shying away from criticism requires deliberate efforts in transparency.  Investing in well-trained community managers is perhaps mandatory in today’s world where a wrong statement can bring far-reaching reputational damage.

Offering Incentives

Depending on your revenue model, your marketing team should be able to come up with effective offers and deals to reward customers and boost customer retention. A popular way of doing this is through referral codes. See these as a way to have your current customers say good things about your app. Discounts are very effective in nudging customers to sign on to premium tier pricing.

For instance, if you have customers on a freemium tier, you could offer a significant discount to prompt them to become paying subscribers. Another example would be offering a significant discount for a yearly subscription compared to a monthly one. Companies are willing to make such deals to lock in customers for longer. It also improves the cash position of the business.

Your analytics dashboard of choice should help to you track how successful such a campaign was by revealing total conversions and the conversion rate.

Great Customer Service

There really is no substitute for great customer service. You may have built a great application, but customers will expect an equally great level of customer service. There are several layers to this.

First, your customers should have several avenues to reach you. A lot of premium applications have inbuilt chatbots to respond to frequently asked questions, but queries can always be escalated to live agents. Other ways to communicate include phone lines and emails. Politeness and speed of response are perhaps the greatest determinants of service quality.

Knowledge of products or services cannot be overlooked. Customers are filled with confidence in the brand when they realize they are dealing with knowledgeable live agents.

Knowledgeable staff improve first-time fixes where customers are facing problems with a product or service. They also help customers pick the right products or services, which is crucial for satisfaction. For instance, you wouldn’t want a new customer to a lower tier subscription with limited features when they were looking for a more premium experience of your services.

Offer a Great Mobile App Experience

Your app should feel natural and easy to use regardless of what kind of service or product you are selling. Attention spans have shrunk so much today that people do not have time to figure out a complex application.

First, pick the right colors and use them consistently throughout the application. They should capture your brand well. Pick the right font and font sizes.  Your UX design should make it easy to navigate the entire app. From the homepage, users should know where to go next to find what they want. Avoid taking users on a long chain of clicks to find a service.  In 1 or 2 clicks from the home window, a user should find the specific information or product they need.

A lot of applications tend to get their onboarding process wrong. With short attention spans, your app should take advantage of such things as social logins to autofill information users. Having potential customers fill long forms is too tasking for a lot of people today. Collect just the information you need to get them started on the customer journey.

Take Feedback Seriously

Collecting information from surveys, app reviews, and interviews with customers is great, but you need a structured manner to filter it and use it for your product roadmap. First, your product team needs to fix bugs within the shortest time possible. Next, there should be clear priorities on how to develop an app from its current state.

Customers may be expressing their wish to see a certain feature added. The team needs to decide on whether to build the feature based on cost and benefits projections. Sometimes a rebuild of the entire application may be deemed necessary. This may happen because of constant bugs or a need to move to newer technologies to improve speed, security, appearance, or integration with third-party applications.

You must bring along your customers on the journey. Most popular applications make small tweaks that customers barely notice. They release several updates each year which help to maintain familiarity with the customers. It’s a way to fix bugs while implementing customer feedback consistently.

Push Notifications and Social Media Sharing

There are added features that can quickly bump up your customer retention rates. First, push notifications are a great way to keep customers coming back to your app. There is a thin line between using these notifications wisely and intruding too much into users’ lives. However, you can use these notifications to remind users of carts they left pending, new content on your app, or an upcoming sale. If users find these useful, they are unlikely to find your notifications irritating. Remember, they always have the choice to block such notifications.

Allowing users to share content from your app to social media not only gives them a sense of achievement but it also amplifies your brand. Gaming, content streaming, and fitness apps have leveraged social sharing brilliantly.

Customer Education Content on Mobile Apps

Some apps can benefit from creating content to educate customers on how to get the most out of their subscriptions. The need will often come from user feedback expressing dissatisfaction due to complexity. The material you create should have a clear objective. Some apps will have an FAQ section similar to a website. You could also take a tutorial video approach. Short clips, each addressing one question are a great way to resolve customer problems.

A collection of educational material can be structured so that users can take a self-paced education journey. This is common with technical apps such as video editing software.  Creating reference material can also help create a big enough community of users who might be facing similar challenges with the app.

A/B Testing and Data-Driven Decisions

A/B testing is a technique to test out different designs or versions of marketing copy on different segments of your app users. It is a great way to get the most out of your marketing campaigns.

While A/B testing two different versions of the same message, you might realize that different segments of your customers resonate with either version. The differentiating factor might be age, gender, location, or another relevant differentiator. A decision may be made to show each version at scale to the audience with whom it is likely to resonate with. A/B testing helps to ensure that your marketing dollars get a higher ROI.

You can design and implement A/B tests in multiple ways especially when seeking to improve your UX. You get to see how different tweaks affect user session length, engagement with the app content, and even overall retention rate. It reduces the amount of guesswork in your app roadmap implementation.




Cross Promotion

App cross-promotion involves the promotion of an app in another app. This can take the form of ads or organic recommendations via mentions. Cross-promotion works well when there is a clear synergy between products that share the same profile of users. For instance, a company in the tour business targeting international tourists might recommend a specific app for local transportation. A fitness can have in-app promotions of a nutrition-focused app. Having your app get such recommendations can boost your overall brand image and user retention rate.


There is so much to pay attention to while seeking to improve how well your mobile apps perform and maintain a large enough user base. Having mobile apps that solve user problems in a world-class manner is the first step. However, you need to combine this with great customer service, feedback collection, community building, offers and rewards, user education material, and new features.

You need a good enough product team to help build a roadmap. At NS804, we specialize in building world-class mobile apps for clients in all industries. Our team has tens of years of combined experience in delivering demanding app projects. We would like to build yours next. You can set up a meeting with one of our team members here.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply