6 No-Brainer User Engagement App Tactics

With thousands of mobile apps available in numerous categories, the challenge today is to get your customers to keep using your app. These effective mobile app strategies can help boost your user engagement and sales conversions.

1. Get customers hooked immediately.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

In the world of mobile apps, that translates to providing an exceptional user experience the first time the app is used.

This entails several items such as loading the app fast, providing intuitive user interface (UI) elements, and most importantly offering value to the user instantly.

2. Embrace rich push notifications.

These are opt-in alerts that serve to get the user’s attention and direct him or her to a specific place on the internet.

In my opinion, push notifications are still being underutilized for most apps.

What many don't realize is that these push notifications can be used to push more than just text to let users know about new promotions, time-sensitive deals, app updates, or additional app content.

Include images in your notifications.

eBay.com Research Labs published a paper studying the impact of product images on conversion rates, finding that:

  • Product images “help increase buyer‘s attention, trust and conversion rates.”
  • Listings with one image had twice the conversion rates of listings with zero images.
  • There is a clear trend that as photo count increases, the probability of making a profit also increases.
  • Higher-quality images were correlated with more successful sales.

SWRVE notification service showing rich alerts on a locked screen.
Incorporating rich images in your push notifications increases trust which improves customer engagement and sales. (Image source by SWRVE)

Include videos in your notifications.

Effective implementation of this strategy was by the NCAA.

In 2017, the organization incorporated clips of buzzer beater moments inside of push notifications to drive more app views.

As a result, this increased user engagement by 18% bringing fans closer to the action.

Include external links in addition to text.

If a user clicks on a notification, one can direct the user to an external link.

One way to use this would be to include a special web promotion that requires validation.

Another method would be linking to a survey provided by a third party like Surveymonkey, in order to help gather further insights from your customers.

Use it as a form of monetization.

If your app has a lot of users, leverage it as a method of product placement for your sales team to strike deals with vendors.

Meaning get partners to pay you to push unique promotions about their products.

In short, mobile app push notifications can be utilized for a wide variety of purposes.

3. Think in real-time.

E-commerce and merchandise browsing features are great, but the most popular apps have “real-time” appeal.

Below are some effective examples of how thinking in "real-time" thinking functionalities can increase user engagement.

Real-time customer interest trends.

Etsy does a beautiful job in this increasing sales.

When exploring a product, they show you how much inventory is remaining and how many others have currently added the item to their wish list.

In addition, Etsy subtly provides data to their customers by showing you when the item is selling fast and that there is a limited quantity remaining.

Example of Etsy feature that let users be alerted that an item is selling fast and that there are a limited quantity remaining.

Up-to-the-minute stock quotes or commodities prices.

Stock app UI showing how real-time ticker pricing can create engagement.
Designed by Tolu Adniji

Product price comparison capability.

Screenshot below shows how Amazon does a good job displaying to the user related products to the current item they are viewing.

This section includes the product image, price, and customer reviews.

This strategy leads to user engagement and conversion of sales because it may influence the user to consider a cheaper or a similar alternative.

Snippet of Amazon product page showing how related products can increase buying engagement.
Source: Amazon.com

QR code scanning for additional label information.

Outside with a black, white, and red branded coffee cup that has a print of a QR code so that the user can get additional information or win a prize.
White and red plastic cup photo – Free Coffee cup Image on Unsplash

Recent reviews from other customers.

Best Buy customer reviews section.
Best Buy - Product details page

4. Remember the community.

A good app is extremely “social” in nature.

In practice, this means providing options to like, share, or recommend the app to other users on established social media platforms.

Twitter's mobile app does an excellent job of ensuring that a user is able to share and post to other social platforms.

As a result, this method creates free marketing for the company.

Screenshot of how Twitter handles the ability for a user to share a tweet.

The app should endeavor to create its own community of users who can comment on, discuss, and promote the app as well as the business itself.

Screenshot of Twitter UI that shows how one company tweeted and received comments and retweets of the post, creating free promotion.
Twitter iOS app
Overall, a user who is engaged with a community will be more engaged with your mobile app.

5. “Gamify” your mobile app.

Users are more likely to return to your app if there are games to be enjoyed.

As expected, the mobile game industry was one of the highest performing industries globally in 2020.

With a massive turnout of $77.2B, and no signs of slowing down in the foreseeable future.

If your brands doesn't have a "mobile gaming" type app, I wouldn't wave the white flag just yet.

You can take certain functionalities of gaming apps and creatively incorporate them into yours.

Here are some ideas to get the juices flowing:

Point-based Award System

The easiest way to accomplish this is to award “points” for certain functions  while using the app —  from opening once a day, to browsing new merchandise, to making a purchase.

Why do you ask?

Because today’s mobile device users are competitive.

Many of them will do anything to be the best at whatever they can.

So why not allow them to try to be the top user for your app?

Provide Rewards "Loyalty Program"

Finally, you should provide a means for users to leverage their points into something tangible, such as discounts, gift cards, free items, or sweepstakes entries.

People love to redeem accrued loyalty points and receive “something for nothing".

So you get a loyal app user/customer, and they get sweet discounts and free stuff.

One example of an app doing this is Swarm (formerly known as Foursquare).

Swarm is a loyalty award based program that allows users to "check in" at an establishment.

The incentive for the user is to eventually meet the number of "check in" requirements in order to be rewarded.

Swarm UI that shows a historical record of how many times the user did check-ins to a given establishment.
The check in screen of the Swarm app.

6. Update the app periodically in response to trends or new technologies.

Leverage what native mobile apps provide in their SDK.

Android SDK and iOS SDK have a plethora of tools that developers can tap into in order to help you build an incredible app.

By being aware of this, your team can uncover creative ways to enhance the app moving forward and revising your product roadmap.

Keep in mind, depending on the route you take to deploy your mobile application —  you may be limited regarding how creative you can get.

Get educated on the app development platform used.

Assuming you have not yet built an app for the business, then below are listed a few development platforms to keep in mind.

This all boils down to if your technology team is going to build the app using native language or utilizing a hybrid development platform.

Native iOS App:

Native Android App:

Hybrid App Development:

Speak with your technology expert or IT department in order to determine the best approach.

Lastly, it is extremely important to make sure that everyone from developers, designers, management, and stakeholders are in line with the determined technology stack needed to support initial rollout and future growth.


In short, your mobile app will be fairly useless over the long term if it only repeats the information that’s found on your website.

Therefore, make sure that it provides value every time users open it  in order to give them a reason to keep coming back.

It may be daunting to realize that after enduring the lengthy process to create a mobile app for your business, you have to work to retain and boost user engagement.

But taking appropriate measures to make your app stand out is vital in today’s competitive marketplace.

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