Kickstart 2024 With These 12 Strategies to Increase App Engagement and User Retention
Creative & Design

Kickstart 2024 With These 12 Strategies to Increase App Engagement and User Retention


Keeping users engaged with mobile apps can be a tall task, especially when there are other apps vying for their attention.

That’s why you need a mobile app engagement strategy

90% of users who engage with an app tend to stick around. And 8 in 10 people will pay extra for an engaging experience.

Check out the strategies below to engage your app users for increased loyalty and retention. 

What Is Mobile App Engagement?

Mobile app engagement is just what the name suggests. It measures how engaged users are with a mobile app.

For instance, how likely are they to come back and open the app? How likely are they to recommend it or share it with a family member or friend?

So, you’ve found that your app’s engagement levels aren’t where you want them to be. How can you improve engagement?

12 Proven Ways to Increase App User Engagement

Here are 12 app engagement strategies to add to your repertoire in 2024. 

1. Use Push Notifications

Are your users not engaging with your app as much as you’d like? Use push notifications to re-engage them.

Push notifications allow you to share updates and stay on the top of users’ minds when they aren’t actively using your app.

You can also use push notifications to deliver a personalised experience. For example, you can promote deals on products that your customers recently looked at. Or, you could offer discounts on users’ birthdays.

Another way to engage users with push notifications is to provide tips and helpful information to help them solve a problem. Then, use a call to action (CTA) to incentivise them to open the app.

Check out this example from BabyCenter. First-time parents may struggle with trying to pack the right things in their diaper bag. 

In this push notification, BabyCenter entices the user to click through to the app with the words “save the day” and “don’t leave home.”

Screenshot of push notification from BabyCenter
Screenshot provided by the author

While push notifications are a great way to keep users engaged with your app, try not to overdo them. Flooding your users’ notification centre with messages can lead to them turning notifications off from your app or uninstalling it altogether. 

So, only send notifications that may potentially be relevant to users. And be sure to focus on personalised messages, as these can raise retention rates by as much as 400%.

2. Send Personalised In-App Messages/Notifications

Speaking of personalisation, you can take this approach to messaging in-app. This approach is similar to push notifications, except users only see these messages when they actually open the app. 

These messages help you engage with users when they interact with your app’s content and key features, which allows you to deliver relevant and timely experiences.

Ideas for in-app messaging include:

  • Confirmation for in app purchases
  • New features and updates
  • Onboarding tasks
  • Splash pages
  • Special offers
  • Mini tutorials

Look at this example from Uber Eats. You can see a red dot next to Promotions, which shows that there’s a promotion available.

Screenshot of in-app message from Uber Eats
Screenshot provided by the author

When the user taps the Promotions tab, they can see a list of offers they can take advantage of to save on their next delivery order.

Screenshot from Uber Eats
Screenshot provided by the author

These promotions encourage customers to use the app more because of the value they get from these promotions. In short, it’s a simple way to retain users by aligning with the user journey. 

3. Gamify the App Experience

Everyone loves a little fun and games every now and then. In fact, many people look forward to gaming on their mobile devices.

But what if your app isn’t a game? Well, that doesn’t mean you can’t implement gamification. You can use game-like features such as leaderboards and challenges to engage app users.

Let’s look at Candy Crush as an example. While it is a game in itself, you can still incorporate some of its elements into your mobile app.

To immerse players in the game, Candy Crush offers fun, exciting challenges and rewards.

Screenshot of Candy Crush mobile app gamification
Screenshot provided by the author

It also shows leaderboards that get players into a competitive spirit and make the experience more social.

Another element of gamification you can add to your mobile app is progress that’s clear and visible. 

For example, Candy Crush allows players to see their progress and the level they’re on. 

Screenshot of Candy Crush mobile app gamification
Screenshot provided by the author

This method works so well in building engagement because it encourages players to keep going to get to a higher level.

Even if your app may not be a game, you can create your own gamified experience. For instance, Duolingo, a language learning app,  uses a badge reward system to increase referrals.

Forest, an e-bike company, used gamification to lower carbon dioxide emissions in London. It did this by ranking its riders by the amount of CO2 they saved. Since implementing the leaderboard, Forest has seen an increase in monthly trips.

4. Develop a More Effective Onboarding Process

The onboarding process is one of the most important aspects of mobile app engagement. 

That’s because it is at this stage that users need to understand how the app works and how it’ll benefit them. 

To improve the onboarding experience, provide a personalised walk-through that shows people how to use your app

Only focus on the most important features so as not to overwhelm them with too much information. Don’t make them swipe through endless screens before they can try the app’s features.

Use screenshots or drawings to better illustrate your points. Consider including a progress bar to show users how many steps they need to complete before they can use the app.

As you walk users through the main actions they can take in your app, be sure to show the results in real-time as they complete those actions. 

It can also help to give users an estimate of how long your tutorial will last so that they know what to expect. 

For example, if your tutorial only takes two minutes, feature this prominently somewhere in the app to reassure users that they won’t have to go through a long onboarding experience.

Finally, add a CTA at the end of the onboarding process to improve user engagement. 

Note: It’s important to keep in mind that everyone may not want to go through an in-app tutorial. It’s possible that they ‌got locked out of their old account and had to create a new one. 

Or, maybe, for some reason, they have multiple accounts. Whatever the case, they likely know how to use the app. So, give them the option to opt out of your onboarding flow.

5. Build an In-App Community

Social apps attract the most weekly engagement when compared to other app categories. And that’s no surprise.

That’s why building an in-app community can be highly effective in retaining users and building loyalty

Adding social features can help you achieve a loyal community. The Nike Run Club app is a great example. App users have one thing in common: they love to run.

Screenshots of Nike Running Club
Screenshot provided by the author

A common interest brings millions together, creating a community of runners who participate in challenges, connect with other fitness enthusiasts, and attend in-person events. 

6. Collect Feedback and Act on It

Another great way to engage your user base is to collect feedback. Many people enjoy sharing their opinions. It makes them feel like they’re part of something. 

You can collect this feedback through contextual in-app microsurveys. The word micro is key here because these surveys have just a few questions. This approach can increase response rates because it minimises the effort users need to put in to participate.

Contextual is another keyword because a user’s specific actions can trigger these surveys. The result? Immediate, honest feedback. For example, after mobile app users complete a particular workflow, you can ask them how they found it.

Another example of a contextual survey is a cancellation microsurvey. Here’s your chance to see why users no longer want to use your app, giving you insights into what you can improve to increase user retention rates.

Screenshot of Samsung app survey for unsubscribed users
Screenshot provided by the author

7. Provide Incentives

What makes people want to participate in something? Incentives do. They’re a huge motivator.

So, you can encourage users to interact with your app by incentivising them. You can do this by offering exclusive rewards and deals.

You might include promo codes or free items. Really, you can offer anything you want.

Just make sure it’s something you know that your audience loves, something that’s enough to make them stop what they’re doing to engage with your app.

And don’t just promote these offers on your mobile app. Get on social media and let your followers know what you’re offering. Embracing multiple channels can re-engage inactive users. It can also attract new users who haven’t interacted with your mobile app before.

8. Simplify the Signup Process

Just like it should be easy to get acquainted with your mobile app through seamless onboarding, it should also be easy to create an account. 

This process might involve allowing multiple ways for users to sign up. For example, Evernote uses OAuth to allow users to sign up with Google, Apple, or their email address. Now, people who were on the fence about an app can try it out without an extensive signup process. 

Screenshot of Evernote app signup process
Screenshot provided by the author

Asking them to create an account before they see the true value of your app may make them want to exit your app and try another one. Having to fill in a lot of fields with personal info is the quickest way to frustrate and alienate users.

The sooner people can start using your app, the faster they can engage with it. So, make the signup process as fast as possible.

9. Improve App Performance

One thing that makes people exit an app quickly is poor performance. How does your app perform? Does it provide a positive user experience with fast loading times and a smooth user interface?

Can your app handle a spike in user count?

If not, you could be missing out on the opportunity to maximise engagement. Consider running a performance audit to pinpoint and remove bottlenecks.

Load and stress testing can help you see how the app behaves under various loads. Use these simple tips to improve your app’s performance and UX:

  • Monitor crashes using a session replay tool that allows you to track crashed sessions and affected users in real-time.
  • Keep code up to date and remove unused frameworks.
  • Test your app across multiple devices.
  • Reduce app loading time. 
  • Optimise images.
  • Cache data.

10. Offer In-App Customer Support

There’s no question that customers will stop purchasing from a brand if they aren’t getting the experience they desire.

To improve the customer experience (CX), provide customers with an easy and convenient way to get support. How? Through your app.

That way, customers can get the help they need in just a few taps. Maybe they have a specific question. Perhaps they’re experiencing an issue that requires troubleshooting.

By providing in-app customer support, users don’t have to exit your app to find help. The help is right there when they need it. Without robust customer support, comprehending what customer retention is becomes difficult. Quality customer support is crucial for understanding the needs of users and determining what is customer retention, enabling them to continue using your product for an extended period.

11. Reward Your Most Active Users

Customers are more likely to spend money with brands they’re loyal to. So, why not reward your most active users?

Here’s how you can do it: 

  • Providing exclusive access to beta features: Let’s say you’re working on new features for your product. If so, you can give your most loyal users a sneak peek before launch.
  • Offering discounts: Reward users who have been on your app for a while with discounts on their memberships or future purchases.
  • Implementing a referral program: Consider creating a loyalty program by providing rewards to active users who successfully refer your app to their family and friends.

Cash App offers its users $5 for each person they invite to download the app. 

Screenshot of Cash App loyalty program
Screenshot provided by the author

12. Optimise UX Writing

Think of UX writing as written copy that helps users navigate apps and includes microcopy like: 

  • Form descriptions
  • Tutorial steps
  • CTA buttons

This copy helps users successfully complete actions and understand complex details. It also encourages them to keep engaging with your app.

Here are some tips for optimising your microcopy for increased app engagement:

  • Use power words to create a sense of urgency (e.g., today, act, now, only, etc.).
  • Keep sentences short and to the point. Avoid technical jargon.
  • Inject some personality to build a connection.

Don’t forget about long-form content as well. Another method to improve the UX is to start a blog section in your app. 

Why? It’s important to provide valuable content on a regular basis so readers go back to your app to read your blog.

A relevant blog can help you build customer relationships, as readers will begin to see you as an expert in your field. Plus, it quickly becomes a one-stop shop for important information. 

For example, the Home Depot app uses a blog to share helpful tips about paint prep when users are searching for paint products within the app.

Screenshot of the Home Depot App featuring a how to blog article
Screenshot provided by the author

That way, users don’t have to quit the app to perform another search on YouTube or Google to answer their paint-related questions. Something as simple as a blog can reduce bounce rates and increase engagement rates. 


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In a world where mobile dominates many online interactions, apps have become popular ways for companies to improve the customer experience and boost brand loyalty

Because of this, many brands are leveraging the power of mobile apps, which means more competition.

To stand out from the crowd, yours must offer a user experience so immersive and compelling that users can’t help but engage with it.

Follow the tips we provided in this article to boost app engagement and get users to keep coming back for an unforgettable experience.


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