How to Create a User Adoption Strategy

5 min read

Increasing user adoption means more engagement, retention, and less churn for your mobile app.

Frank L.
Frank L.
Published February 8, 2022
How to Create A User Adoption Strategy

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Getting new users to sign up for your app means nothing if you can’t keep them engaged. You need users who will return to your app for more if you want long-term success. In fact, according to research from Localytics, 73% of mobile users will either delete an app or become inactive on it within three months of downloading it.

This is why a user adoption strategy is key to improving your app performance — when a user starts to see the actual value of your product and incorporates it into their daily habits, it then becomes an essential part of their routine.

By getting more users to adopt your app and stick around, you’ll drive better engagement, less churn, and more growth. Here’s how.

Step 1: Research Your Target User

It’s important to do user research to identify your users’ motivations for using your app and what leads them to keep on using it in the long term. Two of the best tactics for researching your target user are:

Customer Surveys

A simple way to collect user feedback is through customer surveys. They include a series of questions on their needs, expectations, and experience that users can complete with your mobile app.

Make sure to include open-ended questions to get the most out of your survey. Examples of good questions to ask your users include:

  • What do you like and dislike the most about our app?
  • What challenges did you struggle with before using our app?
  • What would make you use our mobile app again?

The feedback from the survey will give you insight into what you can do to boost adoption and retain more users. You’ll discover which touchpoints or features are hurting your mobile app experience that you can then improve.

User Interviews

You can set up user interviews either remotely or face-to-face with your customers to talk to them directly about their needs.

The goal of the user interview is to listen to the customer’s pain points, not pitch them a product idea. By knowing their pain points, you'll then know how to communicate to the user that your app is the solution.

To do this, you’ll have to ask the right customer discovery questions that reduce bias and focus on the challenges of the user.

Step 2: Test Different “Aha Moment” Scenarios

The “aha moment” is the breakthrough moment when users understand how your app improves their lives or solves their challenges. Here are examples of what “aha moments” look like from some companies:

  • Facebook: Get seven friends within 10 days.
  • Clickpond: Design your first campaign and hit “publish.”
  • Canva: Complete a design within minutes.

Testing different “aha moment” scenarios allows you to identify which one triggers the most user adoption and increases retention.

Start by identifying patterns among loyal customers. What do your best users (those who purchase and continue using your app in the long term) have in common during their product journey? For example, what features of your app do they use? You can also use the insights from your user research to help you identify these potential “aha moments”.

Based on the patterns of your users, start coming up with different hypotheses of what your ideal “aha moment” scenario looks like. The next step will be to test these various scenarios in split onboarding sessions to see how users respond. You can run these sessions with A/B testing tools such as Optimizely and Apptimize.

Step 3: Eliminate Sources of Friction in the App Experience

User friction refers to anything that blocks the user from completing a desired action within your app. By reducing friction, you also reduce the chances that users will abandon your app.

To find the friction that’s killing your app experience, identify the most common patterns that your churning users go through. At which touchpoint in their app journey do they frequently drop off?

For example, let’s say that you’re managing an e-commerce app, and you notice that users often don’t go past checkout when they want to purchase an item. To overcome this friction, you can focus on making your checkout process less complicated, like reducing the number of steps.

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The best way to identify where these sources of friction happen is to use a product analytics tool like Mixpanel. The platform comes with a custom funnel report feature that shows where customers are churning in the mobile app journey.

Another way to identify where friction occurs in the app experience is to follow up with churned users. You can set up a survey to ask them open-ended questions on their experience and what led them to ditch your mobile app.

Step 4: Provide Support When Users Feel Stuck

For better user adoption, users must have access to all the resources they need to get the most out of your app. That way, if they ever feel stuck, they have the support they need, so they can take the next step. Different ways to offer users support include:

Implement a Knowledge Base

Over 88% of users expect self-service support to resolve issues on their own. To improve the app experience, you can integrate a knowledge base where app users can search the questions and find immediate solutions.

Integrate Chat Messaging

With chat messaging, users can reach out to your team directly on any issue they’re experiencing without leaving the app. It’s more convenient for them than having to contact you via a third-party platform or external link.

With Stream’s chat API, you can quickly integrate chat messaging as part of your mobile app experience. There are many options for customizing your chat feature, like message reactions and thread replies.

Step 5: Monitor User Adoption with the Right Metrics

You must monitor how your app metrics evolve to measure the success of your user adoption and whether your efforts to boost engagement are working. Here are the best user adoption metrics to measure along with their formulas:

Usage Frequency

Usage frequency (or stickiness) refers to how often users are coming back to your app. It’s one of the most basic but important metrics to measure for your user adoption strategy. The formula to calculate this is as follows:

DAU (Daily Active Users) / MAU (Monthly Active User) X 100 = Usage Frequency (Stickiness)

Example: 3,000 / 10,000 X 100 = Stickiness rate of 30%, which means users are coming back to your app approximately every 9 to 10 days.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Your Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures how likely customers are to recommend your app to others on a scale of 1 to 10. It’s a good measure of how loyal your mobile users are as well as the quality of your mobile app experience.

Average Time Spent with App

This metric measures how long customers spend using your app in an average session. It’s a good measure of how engaged your users are with your mobile app. To measure it, use the following formula:

Total session duration / total number of sessions

Keep in mind that the ideal time spent with your app depends on what type of app you’re managing. If you run a ride-sharing app like Uber, then it could be likely that users aren’t spending too much time on it. With an app like Uber, a metric like usage frequency may be more valuable to track.

Time-to-First Key Action

Your time-to-first key action refers to the amount of time it takes for a customer to try out one of your features and perform an important action.

First, determine what a key action means to you. For a dating app, for example, it could be getting the user to do 100 swipes. For an accommodation-rental platform like Airbnb, a time-to-first key action could be the user booking a stay.

Then, calculate the average time it takes a new app user to take their first key action after signing up.

It’s Time to Make User Adoption a Priority

The right user adoption strategy will help the user get the most out of your app, which improves your engagement and retention. It’s now up to you to start implementing these tactics and start measuring the results.

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