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Retention for mobile games

Mobile Game Retention: 16 Reasons Why Gamers Leave

It is essential to build a long-term relationship with those who play your game in order to boost mobile game retention, lest you find yourself suffering from the cost of acquiring new players. A successful player relationship management is important to understand along with identifying the different playing styles and behavior.

Mobile game retention

The impact of the F2P business model will soon hit the consoles, and like the dinosaurs, many gaming conventions are liable to slump to the ground. The F2P games are estimated to be valued in the billions of dollars, and around 80% of the revenue is generated by these games only. Despite the growth, it is still the case that the majority of these games fail. Around 40% of the players return to F2P games after a single session.

The developers need to know the players in order to make successful and profitable games. The focus of most developers is on completing and launching the game.

Instead, games should be created for the players to enjoy and play. If they just leave the game too often, then it is a failure of the developer.

Here are the reasons why you may be suffering from low mobile game retention:



1. The game is off balance

Balancing the game difficulty can be a tricky situation and most of the developers often set the difficulty to be too high.

Balancing requires a lot of observation that how the players are progressing at each level throughout the game during all the launches. Certain modifications are required if something wrong is discovered as a direct result of difficulty for the players. The players need to have fun from the game, before they feel challenged. Players will leave the game if they find it too difficult to play.

2. Bad introduction

People want to get started as soon as possible and get an idea of what the game has to offer without rating. The start of the game should give reasons to stay and the title screen, the loading screen, and the first level will create the first impression of the game for the players.

You can keep the players entertained during the loading of the game. They should get the actual taste of the game immediately after starting it.

3. Too few resources

Most games limit the player progress through the availability of resources that may include energy, experience, or virtual money.
The management of resources plays an important role in balancing the game. If the players do not get enough resources, it will lead to lower mobile game retention rate.

The key to success is maintaining the player’s progress by testing remedies in combination with retention forecasting and mobile customer lifetime value calculations.

4. Long game sessions

There are chances that players get overwhelmed with the notifications and other stuff grabbing their attention. If the game is targeted to adults, then you cannot make them sit long in a day.

The duration of sessions depends on the type of game and its target audience. But if you want a large audience, it is important for you to make the players play for at least 3-4 minutes.

5. Wrong target audience

It is important to know the target audience before creating a game. By simply creating a top-quality game doesn’t mean that it will drive you big audience. You need to have a plan of action to win the target user as this will allow you to study the audience and give you an idea as to how you can target your game to attract them.

6. Boring tutorial

Many users simply stop playing the game when they see a boring tutorial at the beginning. It is not a bad idea to have a tutorial at the start but it actually depends upon the developer whether it is fun or boring. The tutorial should always be optional for the player and if it is there, then it should not exceed a single minute in length.

7. Buggy games

Bad and buggy games are normal nowadays and it just hurts the viability of the game. Bugs simply frustrate the users and force them to uninstall it immediately. It is important to hire a tester and make him or her understand the actual flow of the game in order to avoid any bugs later on the user’s screen.

8. No reward system

Players need to be rewarded after completion of every level. Providing enough rewards will keep the user motivated towards playing the next levels. Without this mechanism, there is a risk that the players lose motivation to come back to the game.

9. No task system

A task system is a great way to make the users understand what they need to do to progress. Providing the users with a list of tasks to complete will ensure the players are never stuck with nothing to do. The tasks can also be used to encourage the players to explore other parts of the game. You can use them as an ongoing tutorial system as well.

10. Inactive players

Players need to take breaks and at any moment. They may have to stop playing because of some important event like an exam or a party. They may go on holidays as well. If they lose the progress after coming back to the game, they will likely quit. You can just reward them for coming back after so many days and fortify their appreciation of the game.

11. No updates

The social and multiplayer games need to be kept alive and if you really want to retain your users, you need to keep them busy. You can also give them a solid reason to come back to the game.

If there are no updates or if they are even slower, then chances are that your users will uninstall the game.

12. No appointment settings

It is important to make the players come back to the game each day. You can give something to them that offers great value to reward their engagement.

Daily rewards, content updates, and weekly sales are all good ways to make the user come back to the game and boost mobile game retention rates.

13. Unoriginal content

The game has to be unique and different from others. You need to make the game feel fresh to the users, instead of feeling like a copy of something that is already available.

14. Repeat play

You should allow the user to repeat play the game at different difficulty levels as it is a great way to enhance the replay-ability of the game.

The game should be endless and should have defined end limits of how far a player can go and play.

15. Main menu

The menu is like the whole game, and it should give a brief of it. It has to feel alive and you can use animated characters from the game or can simply add a scrolling background. Whenever the player won’t touch a button, simply animate them.

The menu should respond to the player’s inputs as well, and it has to be interactive.

16. Sudden rise in difficulty

Unwanted difficulty will surely ruin the user’s experience. It does not mean that the game should be easy; however, it should be fair at each stage. The player is able to choose his or her own difficulty level.

The players leave the game due to frustration, boredom or difficulty. If the developer tries to overcome these problems then the user is surely able to enjoy an amazing experience that will make them come back again and again to the game.

About the Author

Chirag leuva is the CEO of Yudiz Solutions, an Android game development company; where he works to bring client ideas to reality. He enjoys pushing the limits of user interaction and finding ways to create awesome reusable components within a mobile environment.

Customer Loyalty Fish Bowl

30 Customer Loyalty Quotes To Leave You Inspired

In honor of International Customer Loyalty Month, here are 30 of our all-time favorite customer loyalty quotes – one for each of the days in April – to leave you inspired to pave the way in customer centricity.

    Howard Schultz Customer Loyalty Quotes

  1. “If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.” – Howard Schultz (Click To Tweet)

  2. “Spend a lot of time talking to customers face to face. You’d be amazed how many companies don’t listen to their customers.” – Ross Perot (Click To Tweet)

  3. “The customer’s perception is your reality.” – Kate Zabriskie (Click To Tweet)

  4. Steve Jobs Customer Loyalty Quotes

  5. “Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” – Steve Jobs (Click To Tweet)

  6. “Make a customer, not a sale.” – Katherine Barchetti (Click To Tweet)

  7. “There is a big difference between a satisfied customer and a loyal customer.” – Shep Hyken (Click To Tweet)

  8. “Every contact we have with a customer influences whether or not they’ll come back. We have to be great every time or we’ll lose them.” – Kevin Stirtz (Click To Tweet)

  9. “Good customer service costs less than bad customer service.” – Sally Gronow (Click To Tweet)

  10. Henry Ford Customer Loyalty Quotes

  11. “It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.” – Henry Ford (Click To Tweet)

  12. “In the world of Internet Customer Service, it’s important to remember your competitor is only one mouse click away.” – Doug Warner (Click To Tweet)

  13. “Loyalty cannot be blueprinted. It cannot be produced on an assembly line. In fact, it cannot be manufactured at all, for its origin is the human heart-the center of self-respect and human dignity. It is a force which leaps into being only when conditions are exactly right for it-and it is a force very sensitive to betrayal.” – Maurice Franks (Click To Tweet)

  14. “You don’t earn loyalty in a day. You earn loyalty day-by-day.” – Jeffrey Gitomer (Click To Tweet)

  15. “Your website isn’t the center of your universe. Your Facebook page isn’t the center of your universe. Your mobile app isn’t the center of your universe. The customer is the center of your universe.” – Bruce Ernst (Click To Tweet)

  16. “The purpose of a business is to create a customer who creates customers.” – Shiv Singh (Click To Tweet)

  17. Richard Branson Customer Loyalty Quotes

  18. “The key is to set realistic customer expectations, and then not to just meet them, but to exceed them — preferably in unexpected and helpful ways.” – Richard Branson (Click To Tweet)

  19. “Here is a powerful yet simple rule. Always give people more than they expect to get.” – Nelson Boswell (Click To Tweet)

  20. “The way to a customer’s heart is much more than a loyalty program. Making customer evangelists is about creating experiences worth talking about.” – Valeria Maltoni (Click To Tweet)

  21. “Every great business is built on friendship.” – JC Penney (Click To Tweet)

  22. “Revolve your world around the customer and more customers will revolve around you.” – Heather Williams (Click To Tweet)

  23. “Customer service represents the heart of a brand in the hearts of its customers.” – Kate Nasser (Click To Tweet)

  24. Brian Solis Customer Loyalty Quotes

  25. “Listening offers data. Hearing offers empathy and intelligence. Activity, action, and engagement steer perspective and encourage a sense of community and advocacy.” – Brian Solis (Click To Tweet)

  26. “Merely satisfying customers will not be enough to earn their loyalty. Instead, they must experience exceptional service worthy of their repeat business and referral. Understand the factors that drive this customer revolution.” – Rick Tate (Click To Tweet)

  27. “Every company’s greatest assets are its customers, because without customers there is no company.” – Michael LeBoeuf (Click To Tweet)

  28. “Customer experience is a catalyst of transformation. It directly impacts culture, strategy, structure and all parts of a business.” – Christine Crandell (Click To Tweet)

  29. Bill Gates Customer Loyalty Quotes

  30. “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates (Click To Tweet)

  31. “Customer satisfaction is worthless. Customer loyalty is priceless.” – Jeffrey Gitomer (Click To Tweet)

  32. “Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.”- Seth Godin (Click To Tweet)

  33. “The customer experience is the next competitive battleground.” – Jerry Gregoire (Click To Tweet)

  34. “The more you engage with customers the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing.” – John Russell (Click To Tweet)

  35. Jeff Bezos Customer Loyalty Quotes

  36. “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos (Click To Tweet)

Have any favorite customer loyalty quotes – either ones from this list or ones we missed? Share them in the comments below!

apptentive-on-the-road

Context Marketing Is The New Content Marketing

“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.” – Bill Gates, January 3, 1996

Bill Gates 1983

If this photo screams ‘dated’ to you, perhaps it’s also time to re-evaluate the 90s-era adage: Content Is King.

When Microsoft chief Bill Gates published his now-famous essay, “Content Is King,” in 1996, only 15 percent of U.S. households had a cell phone. And while this old adage may have held true nineteen years ago, content is on the verge of being dethroned as we enter into the mobile-first era.

In a time of wearables, connected devices, and the Internet of Things, today’s marketers have unprecedented access to customer data. With this, comes more opportunity than ever to break past the screen and dive into every point along the customer journey to message, engage, and delight our strongest assets – our customers.

We as marketers have a golden opportunity to forge genuine and reciprocal relationships with our customers by creating a truly personalized, omni-channel experience.

But with this new opportunity comes new hurdles to traditional marketing. It’s no longer enough to just have great content; you now need to know how, when, where, and to whom, you should deliver it.

In other words, you need context marketing.



Imagine these two scenarios:

Customer A just launched his favorite app, and is immediately asked to leave an app store rating. In the rare event that he chooses to tough it out rather than closing out of the app then and there, he proceeds to the daily deals section where he’s prompted again. This time, with a gift: A 30%-off promo code for his next purchase. Customer A takes advantage and proceeds to make a purchase. Customer love achieved, right?

Now imagine Customer B launches the same app and navigates to the daily deals section, where she’s presented not with a ratings prompt but with a personalized message welcoming her back. She takes her time navigating the app and upon opening the catalog portion, she is shown recommendations for new purchases based on her browsing history – again, offering the 30%-off coupon. Customer B proceeds to select one of the recommended items and checks out using the discount code. Following check out, she is asked to evaluate her shopping experience. As she proclaims her satisfaction, she is then asked to leave a rating.

Which customer had the better experience?

From which experience did the company receive more value?

Both customers walked away with a killer deal. But only customer B was surprised and delighted. She saved time and money, and was able to complete the task she originally opened the app for rather than being interrupted with requests for feedback or ratings before she had even completed her intended course of action.

Customer A may have left a rating or review. But the chances are slim. From what we’ve seen working with hundreds of enterprise apps, he’s just as likely to exit out of the app then and there than he is to leave to a review.

Customer B is much more likely to have left a rating or review – and a more positive one at that. If for any reason she wasn’t satisfied with her experience, the company could have used context and piping as a result of first gauging her overall experience to present her with an opportunity to provide something even more valuable: feedback.

Both customers were engaged with using the same general message, the same content. The only difference is how they were messaged.


“Our job as marketers is, simply, to listen.”

Today’s mobile-first companies have access to a treasure chest of customer insights and data. When it comes to mobile, there’s no reason the savvy app publisher can’t or shouldn’t have each step of the customer journey mapped out for every user. They should be able to know exactly how and when customers are engaging with their apps, and how they want to be messaged. This informed view of the customer provides publishers with remarkable opportunities to surprise and delight customers to provide a remarkable experience that will result build loyalty, evangelists, and ARPU (average revenue per user).

On the other end of the screen, customers should be able to expect that companies and mobile publishers won’t engage them at inopportune times throughout the mobile journey – such as asking them to rate the app during their first time using the app, or asking them to take a survey while they’re in the middle of checkout or defending their clan against an onslaught of rage-­filled barbarians with glorious mustaches and pyromaniac wizards. (And yes, that was a Clash of Clans reference.)

Customers no longer have to be mysteries. They’re constantly sending signals of who they are, and how they want to be engaged within the app. Every time they dismiss a dialog prompt, bypass the customer service call line for in-app chat, or exit an app once shown a survey provides all the clues we need to create a personalized messaging strategy – one that engages them on their terms, and enhances – rather than interrupts – their experience.

Our job as marketers is, simply, to listen.



Context Marketing

Understanding the Levers of Context Marketing

Context marketing is about delivering the right message, to the right person, via the right medium, at the right place and at the right time.

We can break this definition of context marketing into five key levers:

  • What you message;
  • Whom you message;
  • How you message;
  • Where you message; and,
  • When you message.

When it comes to context marketing within mobile apps, we have prepared a few tips for how app publishers can best understand and manipulate each lever to create a personalized customer experience:

Delivering the Right Message

Returning to the realm of content marketing, what message do you want to send to your customers? Are you making an ask, setting up a conversation, promoting a sale, announcing an available upgrade, or just saying ‘welcome back’?

Regardless of the message, it’s important to cater it to your intended audience and test the performance of different messages.

Wanderlust ratings promptFor example, we’ve found that starting with a simple qualifying question before asking for an app store rating makes a big difference in performance. At Apptentive, we ask “Do You Love This App?” before we ask for a rating to (a) further segment our audience for delivering context-dependent content (only those who declare love for the app will be asked to leave a rating), and (b) gauge customer satisfaction in a manner that only takes a second and sees virtually no opt-out, as opposed to jumping straight into the more time-consuming process of leaving a rating or review. In working with hundreds of large enterprise apps, we’ve seen that starting a conversation about whether or not the customer is happy with their experience is 5 to 10 times more effective than just asking them to rate the app.

Likewise, we’ve tested asking for a rating against asking for a five-star rating. The result? Asking specifically for five-star ratings can be seen as presumptuous and actually lead to fewer ratings, and a lower average rating. In fact, rating prompts perceived as irritating or presumptuous have even led to rating boycotts.

This may seem like a matter of semantics, but the way your frame your message can dramatically change how your customers perceive it – and the way your customers spread that message and talk about your app.

Your content needs to be carefully designed with your audience in mind and tested for little nuances that can make a big difference.

…To the Right Person

In the process of crafting your message, you should have begun to think about a use case and target audience persona: Is your message specific to what version of the app the customer is using? Should Android users be messaged differently than iOS users? Is your message aimed at your loyal customers, first-time users, customers who have just made a purchase, or users returning to the app after a prolonged absence?

With the power of modern analytics, marketers can define their intended audience as narrowly as desired to deliver that perfect message to the perfect person. For example, if our intended audience consists of English-speaking mobile customers in the United States using an Android device upgraded to 5.0 Lollipop who have opened the current version of the app three times and have not been shown a survey prompt in the last 30 days, we can create audience segmentation rules in a matter of seconds, as seen below in the Apptentive dashboard:

Audience targeting in the Apptentive dashboard

…Via the Right Medium

Next, ask yourself what medium would be most effective at delivering your message. Is your message something that can be enhanced with two-way communication, in the form of chat, a feedback form, or a survey? Or is your message more of a news blast or alert that your customers can see and either dismiss or click a link to learn more?

Your choice of medium dictates the extent to which customers can engage with your content, and should be tied directly to your messaging strategy – is your content a vehicle for collecting customer insights and sparking a conversation, or are you looking to deliver a quick alert that customers can read and immediately get back to their task at hand?

…At the Right Place

Now that you have your message crafted, your audience identified, and your medium chosen, the next step is defining where, within the app, to deliver the message. Do you want to communicate with your customers as soon as they launch the app, prompt a how-to message at the start of the first time they’ve entered a new area of the app, or request their feedback after they’ve just completed a task (say successfully booking a reservation at a restaurant, as in the example below) within the app?

Context Marketing in Wanderlust

Tie content to context by identifying key moments of engagement within your app.

While the ‘right place’ is dependent on the message, it’s a good start to look for key moments of engagement within the app or suspected customer pain points. Moments of engagement are milestone steps in the customer’s journey that can often be enhanced with simple messages – welcoming a customer back after a prolonged absence, thanking a customer for leaving feedback, or prompting a two-way message center once the customer has opened a Help menu or canceled a purchase halfway through checkout. On the other hand, pain points can be leveraged to improve the customer journey – by soliciting feedback around those shortcomings in the app and using those customer insights to create a frictionless experience.

As a few rules of thumb, we recommend:

  • Not asking for feedback or soliciting a rating/review at the moment of launch. Your customer launched the app for a specific purpose – let them achieve their goal before making an ask. Not only is it bad etiquette, but delivering your ratings prompt upon launch results in 50% more app exits than asking for ratings at any other point along the customer’s journey.
  • Delivering messages at the beginning or end of a customer journey, rather than in the middle. For example, don’t interrupt or distract the customer from whatever he or she is doing. Even if you’re offering them that 30% off promo code, wait until after they’ve finished watching that video, playing a skirmish match, or whatever it is they’re currently doing.
  • Tying the content to the context. This one should be a no-brainer by this point, but ensure that your message makes sense at the time it is prompted. The customers you message should be at a place in their experience with your app that they can understand both your message and why your message is relevant to them. If you want to collect feedback on your newly launched microtransaction shop, wait until after your customer has completed a purchase or closed out of the shop to survey their experience. This will ensure that your data collection isn’t muddled with responses from those who do not fit your target criteria (e.g., those who are unfamiliar with your microtransaction offerings, and therefore cannot provide useful feedback).

…And At the Right Time.

Lastly, when and how often do you want to deliver your message? Is your message something that customers need to see multiple times, or will once suffice? Should you deliver that ratings prompt for each version of the app the customer experiences, at consistent time intervals, or just once throughout the customer lifecycle?

As a matter of best practices, we’d suggest delivering messages or rating prompts once per customer so as to avoid unnecessary interruptions or soliciting a rating from someone who has already rated your app. The exception, however, is requesting customer insights in the form of open-ended feedback forms or in-app surveys. In these scenarios, it is important to prompt the same requests for feedback more than once to capture the effect of incremental data-driven changes to the app over time. Ideally, you’ll see the same customers giving more positive feedback with each survey – revealing the effectiveness of your investments in improving the customer experience.

Using the Apptentive dashboard, setting this time and frequency criteria is a simple matter. App publishers can effortlessly identify not only what events trigger the dialog, but also how many times each customer will be prompted and how that varies by version number and time since lost prompted:

Frequency targeting in the Apptentive dashboard




Once you’ve mastered these five levers of context marketing, you’re well on your way to creating a personalized customer experience. Mobile marketers have a remarkable opportunity at hand to personally connect with customers by connecting analytics, customer insights, and content.

And finally, remember that everything can be improved upon. Retention can always be higher, and customers can always feel a little more loved. As you design your mobile marketing strategy, it’s important to continually iterate, test, and optimize your message to create content that resonates with each customer and adds value to their journey.

If you’re looking to take your context marketing to the next level, give Apptentive a try or check out our other resources for increasing your app’s success.

customer experience

What’s Driving Investments in Customer Experience?

In a recent post published in CX Journey, we called 2015 ‘The Year of Customer Experience.’ And we think this is a just attribution, considering:

Even though the importance of investing in a strong customer experience is recognized almost across the board, reasons for doing so vary greatly.

Last month, Econsultancy teamed up with Adobe to study the leading focal points for customer experience investments in 2015 by surveying over 2,000 client-side marketers. They found the number one driving force of CX improvements is to make the experience “as personalized and relevant as possible” – which motivated investments for 33% of respondents. A focus on making the experience “as valuable as possible” came in a close second – driving 29% of investments. Other drivers included consistency, reliability, fulfillment, speed, and mobile performance:

Drivers of customer experience investments

Other CX-related findings of the 2015 Digital Trends Report show:

  • 78% of those surveyed ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that customer experience was a differentiator for their business.Customer experience as a differentiator
  • Customer experience was identified as the single most exciting opportunity for marketers, with 20% of respondents identifying it as the most exciting opportunity in 2015 (personalization came in second, at 16%).
  • A cohesive long-term strategy was identified as the most important building block for building an exceptional customer experience, followed by a cross-team approach and skills combining digital marketing with analytics and technology.
  • 44% of marketers identified customer experience/service as their primary differentiator over the next five years, followed by product/service quality (28%) and product/service choice (9%). Only 5% identified price as their leading differentiator.

Do these perceptions of customer experience match your own? Let us know how customer experience factors into your 5-year plan and what’s motivating you to provide an exceptional CX.

Better ratings for your app

Top 3 Post-Launch Mobile App Marketing Pitfalls

The number of mobile apps in the market is ever increasing. In 2009, when App Store was just launched there were only 500 apps altogether. Five year later, in July 2014, iOS users have the option to choose from 1.2 million apps available. And, Apple recently announced that its “apps generated over $10 billion in revenue for developers.”

The competition is even fiercer for the Android market, as according to recent statistics, there are around 1.4 million apps in the Google Play Store as of February 2015. The challenges for app marketers, therefore, continue to grow as the number of apps, be it Android applications or iOS apps, skyrocket in the market.

Though every app marketer out there wants his or her mobile app to become successful overnight, such miraculous accomplishments are often far-fetched dreams. It is important to have a strategic mobile app marketing plan in place to avoid the common pitfalls.

Here are the top 3 such pitfalls that you need to avoid during your app’s post-launch phases.

1. You Failed to Focus on User Retention and Engagement

We have some interesting statistics here. According to a report by Localytics, app retention has improved over the past few years as only 20% of apps are now being used just once – indicative of a 6% improvement over the last four years.

App Retention Rate 2011-2014

However, the study also indicated that 65% of iOS apps are failing to entice users and over 50% of apps available on both iOS and Android platforms have failed to do so. It also found that Android apps are performing better than iOS applications in terms of retention.

App Retention Rate by Platform

Irrespective of you offering an iOS or Android app, here are a few factors you need to consider. And the most important of them is looking beyond paid user acquisition.

Paid user acquisition has gained a lot of attention lately and many marketers are delving into it. Together with your PR efforts, paid user acquisition is a great option for generating a significant number of apps downloads within a short period of time. However, it should never be your key mobile app marketing strategy even if you have thousands of dollars to spend on gaining paid users.

Though it is perfectly acceptable to spend some money to significantly increase the numbers of downloads initially, you need to focus more on user engagement and retention in the long run if you don’t want to see the same people drooping off as fast as they came.

Now, we are not against paid user acquisition but there is a rule to follow to use it the right way. To do so, you need to first determine the retention of paid vs. organic sources. Remember you are spending money on users coming from paid sources; their in-app behavior therefore should be similar, if not better, than that of your organically acquired users.

Marketers naturally expect users from paid sources to be quite active in the app and interact in a meaningful and measurable way. To understand whether or not they deliver on your expectation, you need to analyze the paid vs. organic users and determine:

  • Which source (paid or organic) provides the most loyal users?
  • Which of these users are spending most time in your app?
  • How are they acting as influencers?
  • Who’s a better influencer?

Analyzing all these will help you to understand which source provides better ROI and who your most valuable audiences are. This, in turn, provides a better benchmark to justify the cost and ROI of your existing mobile app marketing campaigns and how you can enhance your organic growth.

In addition, it is important to find the best performing paid app marketing channels for your particular app and incorporate them into your existing mobile app marketing strategies. Analyzing your performance and measuring the ROI will also help you to understand whether or not your users are happy with the app; if not, what are the things you can change for better user engagement and retention.

Measure your 1-, 7-, and 30-day retention rates to determine the user engagement. In addition, there are a few key performance indicators that you need to measure.

  • Your daily (DAU) and monthly active users (MAU)
  • Average revenue per user (ARPU), which is determined by calculating total revenue generated by your app / total active users of your app
  • LTV or Life Time Value, which is determined by ARPU x (1/ attrition rate or CHURN)

* CHURN is determined by the number of users who stopped using the app after a particular time.

2. You Failed to Use the Update Description Space of Your App

This is one of the most important factors for marketing your app successfully. Think in terms of website optimizing here. Why should you write a Meta description of your site? The answer is to display preview snippets for a given webpage on search engine result pages. The approach is more or less similar here.

According to Google’s Our Mobile Planet, a smartphone user downloads around 25 apps on average, though the number often reaches to 40 in some countries. This means users are usually so bogged down with update notifications from so many apps that they might choose not to update them at all, or at least not all of them. Your update description should read more than “bug fixes” to encourage them to do so.

The app update description space is a marketing channel for you to convey your message to the users in an interesting way. Use it to tell them about:

  • What new features your app has to offer?
  • What issues have been fixed?
  • How you app now provides an even better user experience?

If you can properly use this mobile app marketing channel, it can be a great strategy to gain back users who stopped using your app for a while. Consider this example from PC Gamer magazine:

Mobile App Marketing Update, PC Gamer

In this example, PC Gamer is using the update description space to inform users about the latest improvements as well as to highlight their free trial offer and to provide details on customer support.

3. You Failed To Personalize the App Review Pitch Email

Marketers are well-aware of the importance of sending emails to potential users as soon as their app is launched. While they do include all important information about their app, what they often fail to do is personalize each email. Here’s what a proper personalized app review pitch email should include:

  • The name, unique selling point, and price of your app
  • A link to the app
  • A link to your app’s press kit
  • A link to the trailer (some reviewers prefer a more visual pitch)

Finally, don’t forget to include the reviewer’s name and website in the email and always double check it.

Conclusion

Remember the mobile app industry is a competitive market, and while you have thousands or maybe millions of users, you need to treat them properly. Be firm and dedicated about your customer support as word-of-mouth plays a significant role here too. Pay attention to your users, their needs, and most importantly, their complaints and grievances and try to resolve issues privately and promptly.

Author the Author:

Jaykishan Panchal is a content marketer at MoveoApps, an iPhone app development company. He enjoys writing about technology, marketing, & industry trends. He is a tech enthusiast and loves to explore new stuff. You can follow him on Twitter @jaypanchal8.

Customer Love

What Customer Love Means To Me

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

Love.

In Business, this word isn’t used often enough. It’s an emotional word, full of pressure, expectation and questions that most companies aren’t yet focused on answering:

  • Will customers really love us?
  • Can we really expect that they’ll care about us when we’re not around?
  • If we aren’t loved, how could we possibly hope to change that?

However, at Apptentive, we talk about Customer Love so much we even have a hashtag for it: #customerlove

Customer Love is the key to our approach to our customers, our business and our team. It’s something we strive for every day, because we view love as an act. We know that we have to invest our energy and time in truly demonstrating our love for our customers, to make sure that they feel our care and attention on an ongoing basis.

We’ve written about our thought process and framework for the customer experience before, so the concepts here aren’t all brand new, but this is how I think about delivering on our promise to our customers. It’s really all about the L.O.V.E when it comes to the key actions that are necessary to really deliver Customer Love:

Listen:

Every great relationship is a two-way street. Unfortunately, too many companies really shy away from this approach to their customer relationships – they talk at, but don’t listen to customers, leading to huge communications gaps. When companies truly invest in listening, across the entire organization, they are able to glean insights and learn more about where they should be going next with their product, service and business.

In addition, true listening means that you’re letting your customers feel heard. It’s natural in business that not every customer is going to agree with you 100%, but that’s understood by customers. At the very least, when they complain or make suggestions, what they’re hoping for is to be heard and understood. Listening is a tool in making customers feel loved because it gives them the knowledge that their opinions matter.

Observe:

Observation is a crucial trait in understanding the people around you, the teammates you’re working with and your customers. When you observe their behavior in your app, with analytics and log files, you’re able to make conclusions about what is interesting to customers and whether or not your assumptions are correct.

Observation is also about identifying what is truly important to your customers. When you watch how they spend their time, really understanding their lives and their needs, you can build better solutions to their problems and challenges. When you and your organization move to a mode of behavior that’s deeply invested in understanding your customers, your observation skills are often key to those insights that lead to massive improvements in your product.

Validate:

Validation has a lot to do with how you underscore and invest in the customer’s true needs. When a customer takes the time to tell you what they think, they’re raising their hands and investing in you and your company. It’s absolutely crucial, regardless of their message and thoughts about your company, that you validate them – letting them know that their feelings are valid and that you care. Validation is not about telling them that you’ll do everything they ask for but rather ensuring that your connecting on a level that indicates that you understand they have feelings too. Saying things like, “thanks for that suggestion, we really appreciate it” can go a long way in making your customers feel validated.

Validation also comes in the form of working with your team to take your hypotheses and to share them with customers. Over the past several years, the Lean Startup concept has really taken hold and taught us that when ideas meet customers in an open and accepting manner, products get better faster. The more your team really understands that their work and concepts are for customers first, the more they’ll invest their time in validating their concepts with actual customers to ensure that they’re delivering the best experience possible.

Engage:

The final action necessary for any team that’s focused on Customer Love is that you must truly engage with your customers. This means reaching out and talking with them proactively. Today, too many companies make it hard to reach them and send messages to customers only to drive sales activities.

However, truly loving companies make a point of reaching out to customers to invite conversations, feedback and venting. When you really embrace customer love, your team wants to talk with more of your customer base and creates opportunities for customers to talk with you. Finding the right time and the right place to really reach your customers makes your customer base feel loved and makes it so easy to talk to you that they can’t help it.

Customer Love

Customer Love is A Requirement, Not An Option

The future of the customer experience requires that every company adapts to the changing times and finds new ways to truly earn customer loyalty. Love is the real requirement – if your customers don’t love you, you need to truly invest in the actions that will get them there. Because customer love is an act, not a static place, every company can work to get there and you’ll have Apptentive there, along the journey, continuing to invest in the actions that have gotten us here so far.

App Marketing Conversations

Predictions for Loyalty & Mobile Apps in 2015

Check out the latest installment of our App Marketing Conversations series to hear Robi Ganguly of Apptentive, Ian Sefferman of MobileDevHQ by TUNE, and Ryan Morel of GameHouse discuss a few predictions on where loyalty, retention, and mobile apps are headed in 2015.

If 2014 was the year re-engagement started to become possible, 2015 will be the year it becomes a commonplace strategy for mobile apps.

Loyalty and retention are only getting more important as differentiators and revenue drivers in a crowded app store marketplace, and in 2015, we can expect to see some clear winners emerge from those brands taking an early lead on prioritizing their customers.

Interested in seeing our last year’s predictions as well? Check out what we had to say one year ago. In our next installment, we’ll revisit our 2014 predictions and report back on how accurate we were.

Transcript:

Robi Ganguly: Good morning. Happy 2015. Welcome to another App Marketing Conversations. As always, I’m joined by Ryan Morel from GameHouse and Ian Sefferman from MobileDevHQ. I’m Robi Ganguly from Apptentive. We made some predictions a little over a year ago, and we’ll have some recap episodes for you to link to where we can talk about how those predictions went. This year, we’re going to do the same thing, and we’ll break it up into a few categories. This category of predictions is going to be about loyalty and mobile apps and what that looks like in 2015.

Let’s kick this off. Do you think that loyalty continues to be important, Ian?

Ian Sefferman: Yes.

Robi: Okay. Why is it important?

Ian: Well, you know, I think… As we’ve seen before… First of all, at the high end of the market, a lot of those apps have saturation, and now they have to build loyalty or retain loyalty in order for them to actually be successful. At the low end, I think proving your unit economics first and foremost is really important before you get scale.

Robi: Would you care to make a prediction? You know what? We’ll come back to you. He says loyalty is still important. Do you agree with that?

Ryan Morel: Yeah, yeah, of course.

Robi: Do you think that the importance has shifted? Has it changed over time.

Ryan: No. I think it’s getting more important, partially because of what he said at the high end, at least on the high end of the market from an app perspective and number of users. You either have to have a lot of users who are loyal and pay a lot, or you have to have a smaller amount of users who are extremely loyal and pay you even more. If you look at the charts how we ended 2014, they look very similar to how we ended 2013 and 2012. That’s about loyalty. If you can’t break into those charts, which it’s unlikely that you’re going to be able to, even breaking into them at the bottom end will be important.

Robi: Right, right. I think what I would add is I absolutely think loyalty is super important, and I think that last year’s prediction around retention started to actually be proven true in 2014.

The thing that is also interesting is that the growth is still massive in mobile, but it’s stating to slow. Instead of seeing a steepening of the curve, we’re starting to slow because we see mainstream penetration of mobile devices. What that tends to mean is that acquisition efforts are not enough. When it’s growing exponentially, everybody can continue to acquire, because there are new groups of customers coming online. Now, we’re starting to see that slowing, and it’s more and more important than ever to start thinking about how you can get your customer base to help you with that acquisition effort. Because you’re now competing against more and more people in a market that’s growing more slowly.

When you think about loyalty and you think about retention, that aspect of word of mouth that comes from your loyal customers becomes more and more important to your acquisition efforts, and it becomes more and more important to everything that you do from a marketing and monetization perspective.

So, we let you think about this for a minute. Now, I’m putting you on the spot.

Ian: Yeah.

Robi: Prediction.

Ian: I think my prediction will actually be around how loyalty comes into play. I think that it’s going to be continued importance or increased importance on re-engagement. We sort of saw 2014 as the year where re-engagement almost became possible. Like, re-engagement campaigns really sort of took foot. I now see them as a primary driver and use case for an app and for part of an organization within the app.

Robi: That makes sense, that makes sense. How about you, Ryan?

Ryan: I will give two predictions. One, I think re-engagement, but mainly to the next level like dynamic re-engagement, being able to match an individual user to an individual ad impression, being able to deliver a content experience that matches that person. For example, you were playing Clash of Clans and you have a thousand coins left. There’s no technical reason why you can’t show an ad saying hey, Ian, you have a thousand coins left on Clash of Clans, come buy this. I think that’s one thing.

Two, I think we’re going to see the cost – everyone’s talking about the cost of building startups is this – dropping dramatically, and I think we’re going to start to see a reversal of that, specifically for apps. Because people need to build loyal users immediately, and you can’t build a loyal user without a really high quality app experience. So, I think we’re going to see that cost come up in order to meet the growing demand of consumers wanting fantastic experiences.

Robi: Yeah, that makes sense. My prediction around this is that… You talked a lot about the advertising aspects and some of the games, the quality aspects there. I think that loyalty has long been bread and butter for consumer brands, and they’ve had disparate programs. In fact, if you look at the largest companies in the world with consumer presences, they often will have things like a credit card with loyalty points. They might have their own shopper card. They might have a third party that actually helps them participate in other ecosystems of loyalty.

I think what we’re going to see is the companies that have been doing loyalty offline or on other channels are going to start trying to take those practices to mobile and see if they can translate them or at least connect them and bring that data into their mobile experiences. I think this year you’re going to see a bunch of first steps in that direction with a lot of missteps along the way. I suspect that there are going to be probably at least half a dozen to a couple dozen companies that as they try to go do this seek press around it, talk about it, and then you don’t hear about it except for months later because it’s kind of died. Because it’s relatively complex to make that transition, especially with the speed that mobile is growing with.

What we’ll see by the end of the year is that some of the people who are winners actually start with their mobile customers first and then work backwards for their loyalty programs. That’s my long winded prediction. All right.

Ryan: How do you think Apple Pay impacts that?

Robi: I think Apple Pay this year will not really be incorporated into loyalty programs. Because this year for Apple Pay, and we’ve talked about this a number of times, is the year where what they’re trying to do is get coverage at enough places to purchase and then enough apps are using it also to power their commerce. The work to actually connect it with loyalty activity and the work to actually get the hardest thing, get Apple on board with you and connecting the data so that you can get access to their data and then power your loyalty systems, I think that’s too far off. I don’t think that’s going to this year.

Ryan: Okay.

Robi: Would you…

Ryan: I have no idea. It was a curious question. I just know that the more that I use it, the more valuable it is to me. I think from a non-app perspective, you’re loyal to a few places, and not having that loyalty connection is a problem for some folks.

Robi: Yeah, absolutely. Anything else we should be chatting about with these predictions? I think it’s pretty straightforward.

Ian: Yeah.

Robi: So, stay tuned for the next two sets of predictions from these very intelligent gentlemen, and then we will also link to last year’s predictions so you can see how we did. Thanks.

Want more App Marketing Conversations? Check out the next segment on the GameHouse blog.

loyalty-not-guaranteed

The Cost of Customer Loyalty For Your Mobile App

Many companies believe that a successful customer loyalty campaign lies in new advertisements or new customer loyalty projects quarter after quarter. There are loyalty programs galore focused on incentivizing customers to frequently return. However, these constant and insistent attempts to gain our loyalty are not working, in fact, they are failing as customer loyalty is in decline.

Customer loyalty is in decline because consumers have more information than ever before and that information only takes 5 seconds to get. It’s incredibly easy to find the cheapest alternative, a special coupon, or a new product that may do what customers want just a bit better. For mobile apps, the cost for loyal mobile app customers is at an all time high. According to a report from mobile marketing firm, Fiksu, it costs $1.90 to acquire a loyal customer for a mobile app and all signs point to a continued rise through the holidays. Marketing budgets are being strained to continue to bring in new customers, and more importantly to keep them. As defined by Fiksu, a loyal mobile app customer is someone who opens the app three or more times in a thirty day period.

Mobile Customer Acquisition Cost

With costs increasing and customer loyalty in decline, improving or even maintaining customer loyalty can seem fairly bleak. What most companies are forgetting are the basics of what drives loyalty (it’s always about going back to fundamentals). A company that treats it’s customers well will always be more successful than the company that doesn’t care about the customer experience.

When there is a problem, customers expect to receive excellent and proper treatment. This above all else drives loyalty. For mobile apps, this concept is unfortunately lacking to the point where hearing that customers are surprised to even receive a support response is a common story. To create customer loyalty it’s time to move away from marketing tricks and move back to what’s important.

  • Treat your customers with respect – This can be more difficult than you might think. Sometimes a rude customer or a customer who can not follow or understand the simplest of tasks can push you over the edge. Your instinct can make you react quickly, but take a step back and wait a few minutes before responding. No matter what the problem might be, apologize and move on to trying to help them. Many customers who may seem angry, frustrated, or dissatisfied can easily be turned into loyal customers by being treated with respect.
  • Listen to your customers – Nobody knows what customers want better than the customer. Actively listen to your customers on all channels (mobile, social, email, and web). The more places where customers can talk to you and feel listened to, the more likely they will actually reach out with something to say.
  • Respond to your customers (be human) – Start every message that you can with their name and sign it with your own. Be a real person and have a real conversation. This is essential to developing a relationship and is often the foundation of why customers are loyal. Customers are loyal to the people behind the product who provide great support and are reliable in times of crisis.
  • Rise to the expectations – Customers expect to be well taken care of and have no qualms about taking their business elsewhere if the support is not up to par. Not every company can provide quite the same service as an Amazon or Nordstrom, but every effort should be made to provide an exceptional experience for your customers. Be honest and open about what you can and cannot do. Don’t make promises you can’t keep, but make efforts to rise and go beyond expectations of your customers when you can. When a customer feels that you are making every effort to help them out it is appreciated.

Do you have loyal mobile app customers?

You may not consider a customer who opens your app three times in a month to be loyal. Every app is different, therefore expectations of how customers will use it differ as well. What’s important is how you are measuring customer loyalty. Common methods for measuring loyalty is the Net Promotor Score or using voice of the customer metrics across all departments to set benchmarks over time. While both of these can help give you an understanding of what customers think about your app, it falls short of actually measuring loyalty.

To measure loyalty you must dig deeper and understand the entire journey that the customer has with your app. Loyalty should be measured through a series of touch points through your app and be able to extend further into web, email, and social. We are all glued to our phones, constantly sharing and interacting through our mobile devices, yet there is still very little contact through devices with companies. Being proactive to engage with your customers and be there ready to solve an issue at hand is the best loyalty strategy you can have.

The more touch points across the customer journey the better to not only accurately measure loyalty but to create it. Loyalty is about emotion, not logic. If you have customers that love your mobile app they will come back, it’s that simple. Creating customer loyalty doesn’t need to be about spending more money on campaigns and loyalty programs. It’s about creating an exceptional experience that customers can trust to receive every time.

How do you measure customer loyalty? Do you have any suggestions for increasing customer loyalty? Please share in the comments below.

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Love_Forgiveness

Love and forgiveness in Silicon Valley

Love_Forgiveness

(alternatively titled: Fear and Loathing in Las Appulous)

It’s Valentine’s Day, so it feels particularly appropriate to discuss the topic of love, as it applies to software. “Love and software?” you might ask, “What the F do those things have to do with one another?”

A lot, it turns out.

As our world becomes increasingly software-driven, we all are faced with dozens, if not hundreds, of software interactions every day. This reliance upon software necessarily leads to the act of discernment. We say to ourselves “this software is bad” a lot,  “this software is good” occasionally and, when presented with brilliance, “what software? I never noticed.”

From a technical standpoint, most software is replaceable, the functionality achievable in a number of ways, all leading to the same technical outcome. However, in practice, the interaction between software and the people who rely upon it is a huge determinant on whether software becomes Google or Alta Vista.

When humans interact with software, emotions become involved. Most of the time, the emotions are bland, minimal and fleeting. However, there are times when the emotions that are tapped are visceral and lasting.

Like when we feel like our privacy has been invaded.

Which brings us to Path and the “address book mess”

Over the past week, Path has gotten raked over the coals for not disclosing that they were uploading the entirety of your address book to their servers. The lack of disclosure was particularly alarming for many folks who saw in Path’s actions the echoes of the “ask for forgiveness, rather than permission” style of behavior that has propelled other companies, like Facebook, to the upper echelon of user engagement.

It all started with Arun’s post, where he shared his discovery. Path, to its credit, quickly responded by apologizing and deleting all of the data, but that wasn’t nearly enough for the press.

In short order, Nick Bilton weighed in on the recurring apologies of Silicon Valley, Michael Arrington and MG Siegler got into the mix and Dan Lyons dropped the bomb of an accusation that the shady research payouts of the early 2000’s have migrated to the tech blogs of today.

Now we’re finding out that many more apps have been guilty of this behavior and we’re sure that the list already uncovered isn’t close to comprehensive. To add even more complexity to the issue, we find that Apple has been allowing the sharing of address book and photo data, unprompted, despite previous statements indicating this would never happen.

We ask: What about the customers?

Lost in all of this mess has been the conversation about what really matters: what’s the impact on Path’s business of this mistake?

Arrington rightly pointed out that the unequivocal apology is the path of least resistance and the approach that seems to most often quell the mob mentality of bloggers etc.

Who cares if the bloggers have moved on however, if the people who were behind the downloads of Path have been forever scarred? If loyalty has been irrevocably damaged and won’t be restored?

In today’s fast-moving, “pushing-the-edge”, “maybe privacy is dead maybe it’s not” environment, the guiding principle seems to be “we have to do this because if we don’t we won’t grow fast enough”. That approach might have worked for Facebook, it might be fine for Path, but is it right for everyone? Can every app and startup afford to push the boundary and just apologize when they get caught being abusive?

We won’t know the extent of the lasting damage of this situation on Path’s brand and business for a while, but we have a good way of evaluating Path’s ability to weather the storm with the actual people using the app. Moreover, we find this benchmark to be true of every company designing for consumers in the modern day:

How many of your customers love you?

If Path has managed to earn a loyal group of app customers up until this point and a meaningful portion of them (let’s say  20%+) have really come to LOVE Path, we think the lasting impact of this snafu will be but a blip on the radar. The reason is this: customer loyalty is more emotional than logical. So, if Path has managed to strike an emotional chord with a meaningful portion of its customer base, then they’re good.

If they haven’t really resonated with their audience and connected on an emotional level however, the road forward will be a lot tougher going. The reputational damage and the impact of the noise in the media is more than enough for most casual app users to toss away their connection with the app. In a noisy world, why spend your time and risk your privacy for something that you weren’t that into to begin with?

Ignore the noise, focus on the LOVE.

Regardless of if sharing address books or personal data was the right thing to do, all innovators would be well-served by framing their decisions in the light of love:

  • Will this feature make my service so easy to use that they love me?
  • If I do this will it ever result in breaking their trust and weaken their love?
  • Would a company I loved do this to me?

We think there’s a lot more to building great companies than pushing features and getting numbers. We think great companies are great because their customers love them, often for life. We hope we’re building that kind of a company, are you?

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