How to Identify Your Power Users (And How to Keep Them)

6 min read

User retention rates are a key indicator of how successful a mobile application is.

Frank L.
Frank L.
Published May 31, 2022

And user retention is low. Within a month of downloading an application, somewhere between 87% and 97% of its users will abandon it.

The key to mitigating this high risk of churn? Meet the needs of the app’s users. But when it comes time to make advancements to the app, not all users’ needs should get equal attention.

Most apps’ largest demographic is average, everyday users. But these aren’t the users you need to worry about. They won’t drive new user adoption. Instead, you should focus on a much smaller group: power users.

What Is a Power User?

A power user is someone who uses the most advanced features of an application. They are expert users who have an intimate understanding of the ins and outs of the app. And they’re often the most regular and consistent users of the system — they know how to maximize the value of the app. But ideal usage varies depending on the app, which means there are no universal standards to define power users for individual applications.

For example, the power users for an investment or more general finance application might log into the app weekly. They’ll check their account balances, make trades, and may access more advanced features, like stock evaluations and benchmark reports. However, a social media app’s power users will likely access the app multiple times a day to create content, send messages, and access analytics to see who is engaging with their posts.

Why Do They Matter?

While they make up only a small percentage of an app’s overall user base, power users are a key driver in user adoption, making them vital for the long-term success of an application. A primary reason for this is because power users are often experts, which means their recommendations carry more weight than an average user’s. Not only do power users have expertise in the applications they use, but they often also have expertise in their industry as a whole.

This expertise means power users often turn to the most cutting-edge technology. And they’ll be quick to test out new applications as they are released to see how they stack up against the competition. But that’s not to say they’ll abandon your app as soon as they find an alternative. Once you’ve earned their loyalty, these long-term customers will also be more likely to stick with you as your app evolves, even if it means the price tag grows. This means you’ll have more reliable income to fund your operations.

How to Identify Your Power Users

There are no set guidelines with specific metrics you can use to recognize your power users. However, there are still ways to single them out from the rest of your user base. Start by identifying users that log in regularly and spend more time on the app than its average user. Pay particular attention to the users that access advanced features when they’re signed in. These are generally your power users. There are a few caveats, of course. Watch out for users that log in but don’t do anything, as well as users that frequently request help from support. These aren’t your power users.

For example, the power users of a fitness app will use the app daily for their workout routines. They’ll likely be engaged users that attend full-hour workout classes and turn on their phone cameras to engage with the instructors and receive feedback. And to maximize the value of their experience with the app they will also use more advanced features, like fitness tracking or goal setting and gamification functions. These dedicated power users are also the users that will send referral codes to encourage their fellow fitness gurus to download the app.

How to Attract and Retain Power Users

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The global pandemic created a lot of uncertainty, which created changes in consumer needs and caused digital adoption rates to skyrocket. During that time, 66% of Americans tested out a new app or another type of digital platform. There are still a lot of uncertainties in the world, and what consumers want out of their software is constantly changing.

Simply identifying who your app’s power users are isn’t enough. The most successful apps will capitalize on consumer’s fluctuating needs by transforming new users into power users and giving them reasons to remain loyal long term.

Empower New Users to Become Power Users

The less complicated an app is to use, the easier it is for new users to learn how to navigate and the more likely they are to grow into power users. An intuitive and user-friendly interface is a good first step to achieving this. But it isn’t enough.

To truly empower users to take full advantage of all of the system’s features, provide an easy-to-access database of resources, both within the app itself and on your website. The database can (and should) include everything from new user guides and video tutorials to technical documentation. Those resources should be designed for users of all skill levels and cover a broad variety of topics, including things like start-up guides for new downloaders or technical documentation such as an API integration kit for the most advanced users.

Make support easy to contact to help new users develop their expertise. And be sure to provide guidance that makes it easy to troubleshoot any issues the user runs into. You can cover your bases by posting your contact information on your website. This should include a support phone number and what hours the support line is active. But not everyone will be willing to call support to troubleshoot a problem with a mobile app. Since the best chatbots can effectively answer user questions 90% of the time, one of the easiest ways to make support available to your customer is by building a chatbot for your own app.

Strengthen Power User Loyalty

There are millions of apps available on Apple and Android app stores, and unsurprisingly, app downloads are on the rise. Despite this, recent estimates put global app retention rates at less than 7%. If you don’t want your power users to become a part of the churn then you need to continue to prove they made the right choice in downloading your app. The best way to do this is by demonstrating that your app provides the best user experience.

An app’s functionality is essential to the user experience. And users will quickly abandon an app with outdated features or missing capabilities. But to truly set your app apart from the competition you need to go beyond the basics and equip it with advanced features that enhance the user experience. For example, activity feeds that automatically refresh to populate new content ensure that every time a user opens the app, there is something new on the screen to capture their attention. This doesn’t just keep users engaged, it also boosts user retention by 60%.

Another way to improve power user’s experience with your app is to customize it. Show your most essential users that you value them by setting them apart from other users and recognizing them for their expertise. For example, if your app allows users to create profiles, a special profile badge could distinguish expertise users, which identifies them as knowledgeable to their colleagues. And if you plan to roll out a new feature, you could send emails to your power users to offer access for beta testing. Not only does this show users that you value their opinion, but as experts on the app, the feedback power users provide will be incredibly valuable in improving the user experience for everyone who accesses it.

Maximize the Impact of Your Power Users With Stream

Power users drive the growth of your user base and the long-term success of your app. And once you’ve earned their subscription, it’s your job to give them reasons to remain loyal long term. The best way to do this is by providing the best possible user experience, and keeping users engaged.

There are several ways to make your app more engaging, including adding in-app messaging functionality and personalizing notification settings. While some of these features are advanced, they don’t have to be difficult to integrate into your app. By using a pre-built software development kit, like the ones that Stream offers, makes it easy for developers to integrate advance features into their apps, even if they don’t have expertise in building that functionality.

Sign up for a free trial to see how Stream can help you boost app engagement.

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