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It has been shown time and time again that 24% of mobile apps are used just once before being discarded. What can brands and agencies do to encourage consumers to re-engage with their apps? Here are five strategies to keep your downloaders.

1. Build a compelling mobile app

This may seem obvious, but the single most important thing to consider is how useful, engaging and valuable your app is to your audience. For a brand or an agency, this means building an app that exceeds the very best features of their mobile or desktop website and even introducing new features that take advantage of the mobile device hardware. Does the app solve a problem? Does it make a process faster, easier or more convenient?

The trend at the moment is for an app to do one thing really, really well, and make sure that core functionality is front and center. Uber and Hailo are good examples – right on startup you can request a taxi, which is essentially what the app is for. Your app’s core function should be something that people do again and again so they see it as a worthwhile addition to their phone.

2. Interacting with other apps analogous to “deep linking” in websites

If you are building a taxi hailing app, you should consider having a URL scheme API, a so called “deep link,” that enables other apps to open yours with a taxi already hailed. This would also be great for a retail app, should a user want to get to a specific store, or a sport app should a user want to get to a specific event, and thereby encouraging users to use or re-engage your taxi hailing app.

With URL scheme APIs, you can direct users from other mobile applications to the home screen of yours – or even a specific screen with the relevant content they seek. Sending them to a specific screen is akin to deep linking in affiliate marketing. This is where affiliates can choose a specific page on your website to send traffic, such as a product page that is better targeted at the user. (Note: URL scheme APIs have to be declared during programming.)

3. Intelligently use push notifications

Push notifications have the power to bring users back to your mobile application, provided they are not blanket communications reminding users to open your mobile application – these will come across as nagging and will likely result in your app being deleted by the user.

Include a clear call to action in your push notifications, and take advantage of the fact that notifications are now actionable (i.e. you can include actual action buttons as part of them)

Intelligent notifications can include a new retail product launch with an “Add to shopping list” or a game with new added levels with “Play” as an action. Beacon marketing is an interesting new tactic in which shoppers get push notifications about products and promotions while in a store. Push notifications can be powerful if they provide relevant, useful content.

4. Try social media advertising

Both Facebook and Twitter have really good mobile application engagement strategies that also use URL scheme APIs. They allow you to target users that are already using your app if you use their SDK or a partner’s SDK to measure or track installs.

A music mobile app can update its users on Facebook about a new playlist with a “Listen Now” call to action or a fashion app can update its existing users about new looks just launched with a “Shop Now” call to action.

5. Understand why users stop using your mobile application

Understanding exactly what is happening in your mobile application is key to driving engagement. You can include analytics and tracking software in your app to see what every single user is doing – what they are looking at, what they are clicking, how long they spend performing an action and at what point they close and open the mobile application.

Let’s say you identify that a certain group of users stop playing your game at some point due to a lack of credits. Fire up a social mobile engagement ad targeting those users, giving them 5 free credits to continue playing. You can target by their mobile advertiser identifier, email address, mobile phone number, user identifier, or usernames.

If you are building a taxi hailing mobile application and the first time a user opens the mobile application to find no taxis around them, they’ll probably think that the mobile application is not working and never use it again. Fire a push notification to these users with a sympathetic message that includes a $10 coupon of their next taxi ride.

Too many mobile app companies focus on acquiring new users, unintentionally neglecting the power of re-engagement. Focusing on your already acquired and activated users can be equally beneficial for business. Through re-engagement strategies like interacting with other apps, paid social, and push campaigns, you can reach your current users, connect them with relevant content, and encourage them to interact with your apps on a consistent basis.

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