Five levers to increase app users
Turn visitors into evangelists
I read The Scheme for Full Employment by Magnus Mills. The story is set in a bureaucratic world in which the government implements a bold vision. The plan is for full employment via the construction of an enormous wall. The characters in the story preoccupy themselves with measurement, inspection and efficiency. As the story progresses, it becomes evident that the wall has no use, once completed. The tale is a satyrical reminder that activity without purpose is pointless.
Measure levers of growth
To achieve app user growth, we optimise metrics that reflect engagement and satisfaction. There are key questions it would be useful to answer about our app. Is it easy to understand? Can users see value within minutes? Are users coming back? To help address these questions we track:
Visits: First impressions count
Sign-ups: Converting interest into action
Value realisation: Engagement and utility
Retention: Sustain interest over time
Evangelists: Turn users into advocates
If we are not growing then measuring these levers will help determine why. We can then take action to improve. Build the Best Features in 5 Steps explores how to prioritise development activities.
Your enemy is the back button - Paul Graham
We have a few seconds to engage people and convince them to hang around. If our app is not easy to understand then they will head for the exit. We should track the number of visitors, time spent and click-through rates. Also, understand who is visiting and how they got to the app.
The next step is often converting visitors into registered users. If someone signs up then it represents a willingness to invest time and information into the app. Understanding user demographics and, if possible, motivations behind sign-ups helps focus app development.
3. Value realisation
As you remove pain and friction from your user’s experience of attaining their valued objective, your total addressable market grows. - Richard Kipp
We should Help App Users See Value Quickly by simplifying the steps to achieve a desired outcome. Track the number and time per visit and specific actions users perform. In particular, were they able to do something useful? Analysing such metrics will help identify pain points and areas for improvement.
Do users come back? Track the percentage of users returning over a given period, e.g. daily, weekly or monthly. Such metrics provide a clear picture of the app's ability to sustain interest. Ways to improve retention include regular feature updates, personalisation and targeted communications.
All customers are important but some are more important than others. - Philip Kotler
A powerful way to grow user numbers is by way of word of mouth. Evangelism metrics measure the extent to which users share their positive experiences with others. We should make it as easy and natural as possible for users to do this, e.g. via share facilities, and track such activity. Our Apps Become Contagious by sharing practical solutions and telling stories.
Product Led Growth interview with Wez Bush
Less is More in App Design post by Phil Martin
How to Trigger Users to Act post by Phil Martin
Clare Muscutt sums up the situation well. Building a good customer experience does not happen by accident. It happens by design.