Tag Archives: Notification

Part 3: Techniques to Keep Users Coming Back & Increase Retention

How Gamification Can Boost Retention on Any App Part 3: Techniques to Keep Users Coming Back & Increase Retention

The Mystic Media Blog is currently endeavoring on a 3 part series on how gamification mechanics can boost retention on any app—not just gaming apps but utility apps, business apps and more. In this third entry, we explore additional techniques to keep users coming back and increase retention.

Your users have downloaded your app and are acclimated with its features. You’ve perfected your core loop to ensure users can complete meaningful actions in the app on a daily basis. Now the question becomes—how can you retain ongoing usage? The average cost to acquire a mobile app user is $4, yet retention rates can quickly drop from there. Statistics show that a 5% increase in retention can boost profitability by up to 75%.

There are a variety of techniques employed by mobile games that app developers can use in their non-gaming apps to keep users engaged long after the application ends.

INVEST IN THE FUTURE

An optimized application development process requires thinking about how your product can evolve beyond the initial release. Often this is due to schedule and budgetary constraints. It is natural in any creative endeavor to have more ideas than time and money to complete them. However, thinking long-term can be an advantage. New features entice users to continue using the application after download and to allow push notifications for fear of missing out on updates.

Mobile games often have to confront this since the amount of content they offer is finite—a certain amount of levels, achievements, and unlockables which can be completed. Games can offer additional modes and levels to entice users to come back. Similarly, non-gaming apps can offer new content—such as informative blogs, new features, and new product lines.

During the development process, plan out multiple phases and deliver new features and content updates on a regular basis. If you have a blog, host it on your application and keep users coming back for content updates.

IMPLEMENT SOCIAL FEATURES

Game developers know that “Socializers”, or users who thrive on social interaction, constitute one of the most important Bartle Types. Social features are crucial not only to retaining interest and daily usage of an application, but as a marketing technique to encourage users to engage with one another and spread the word. Once your userbase is established, implementing social features will increase engagement.

Consider implementing the following social features in phase 2 of your application:

  • Customizable user profiles: Enabling usernames, profile pictures, bios and other user customization features help users feel more connected to the app vis a vis their profile.
  • Rewarded social sharing: Encourage users to spread the love by rewarding them with discounts and reward points when they share to social media.
  • Likes and comments on products: Implementing comments and likes not only gives users another avenue for engagement, it creates a platform for automated push notifications that will likely result in more daily opens.
  • Follow and friend other users: Allowing users to connect can result in meaningful social relationships which will increase their connection with your application.
  • Rewarded actions: Encourage users to complete an action for the first time by offering them some kind of reward.

PUSH NOTIFICATIONS STRATEGY

Push notifications are integral to every app developers’ retention strategy. They are the most effective vessel for delivering timely reminders and relevant notifications about new features on applications. Users can disallow push notifications at any time, so developers need to pick their spots or risk losing one of their most prized tools.

When developing your push notification strategy, consider the following:

  • Timing: Rather than sending push notifications all at once, target users based on their time zone. Make sure the timing of your notifications makes sense based on the message.
  • Personalization: Optimize UI by tracking app usage data and leveraging it for personalized push notifications. Personalize push notifications based on a user’s behavior such as their purchase history to help build app loyalty and keep notifications relevant.
  • Prudence: If you bombard users with irrelevant notifications, the decision to unsubscribe to push notifications becomes easy. Exercise restraint when sending push notifications and only send valuable information and reminders.

Users are always looking for value and discount—which is why delivery and transportation applications often use push notifications to send discount codes. Shopping apps can also send push notifications which notify users when they have items left in their cart—a timely prompt to finish the purchase can directly lead to revenue.

KEEP INNOVATING

The app development process does not have to end with an apps initial release into app stores. Rolling out new features to maintain engagement with your audience and bolster your application will result in improved retention.

Nougat OS: Everything You Need to Know Android’s Latest Treat

With all the fuss about iPhone 7, iOS 10 and the new Pixel, it’s easy to forget Android recently unveiled their latest OS: Nougat. In line with Android’s other dessert-themed software titles (Marshmallow, Lollipop, KitKat, etc.), Nougat is a treat. It’s a refined version of Marshmallow with improved UX, specs and a lot more. Both iOS fans and app developers take note, here are Android Nougat’s top features:

MULTI-WINDOW MULTITASKING

Android Nougat Multi-Window Multi-Tasking via Phone Finderr

The most notable feature of Nougat is Multi-Window Multitasking. Unlike iOS, Nougat allows users to run multiple apps on their screen at once, allowing users to watch a movie while they text, view a recipe while they keep their eyes on the timer, or use any number of applications. Multi-Window Multitasking can be utilized with three display options: Split-Screen, Picture-In-Picture and Freeform Mode.

Split-Screen mode splits the screen across the bottom when held vertically, or across the middle when held horizontally.

Picture-In-Picture mode will be optimized for Android TV and will eliminate the controls and interface elements while keeping the content portion to scale.

Freeform mode will allow users to customize the size of each application, like one can with a desktop or laptop computer.

REFINED NOTIFICATIONS SETTINGS

Notifications Settings via How To Geek

Android has always been a major advocate of customizing notifications, and Android Nougat improves their system. Users customize their quick settings to ensure they are only alerted to the top-level notifications. Users can also maintain conversations within the notifications bar to make it easier to chat without having to go back and forth into apps.

Bundled notifications allow users to see what is happening within their apps at a glance without clogging their feed. Simply tap to expand the box and view more info without going directly into the app.

FASTER PERFORMANCE, MORE BATTERY, LESS MOBILE DATA

The best improvements of Nougat OS are not flashy new features, but overall improved functionality. Google’s “Project Doze,” designed to increase phone battery length, was introduced with Marshmallow, but gets a big upgrade with Nougat. Doze shuts down CPU and network activity while the phone screen is off. Previously, Doze only worked when the device was motionless, but now it can operate whenever the screen is off.

Data overages can add up quickly. Google seeks to counter the threat of overages with Data Saver, a program which kicks in whenever the user is on a metered data connection and limits apps and background processes to a set amount of data. Rather than cutting off data usage at a  preset limit, Data Saver makes Android phones more efficient with constant refinement.

Both Data Saver and Project Doze are bolstered by minor technical improvements to Project Svelte, Android’s device optimization initiative, creating a more efficient phone.

SEAMLESS UPDATES

Android isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel. Their Nougat OS functions primarily as a UX improvement over Marshmallow. Android has instilled major security improvements, including file-based encryption. Android has also taken a page out of the Chrome OS playbook by adding seamless updates, which will allow system updates to install in the background.

NEW EMOJIS

Android Nougat Emojis via Tech Hive

On the lighter side of things, Android has installed 72 new glyphs and has revamped their 1,500 emojis to appear more realistic. Nougat is also compatible with Vulkan API, which opens up a world of low-overhead graphical possibilities.

WHEN CAN I GET NOUGAT?

As with any Android update, the real question is: when is it coming to my phone? Nougat is out, but device fragmentation on the Android platform entails a staggered availability based on the hardware. While Google’s Pixel phone could soon alleviate some of these fragmentation problems, Android still cannot move at the speed of iOS—but Nougat’s improved functionality is a welcome addition for both app developers and consumers.

For a full list of Android Nougat release dates, check out this awesome article over at Pocket Lint.

Android L Beta Preview: First Impressions of the Latest OS

As the year winds down, the developer community can look forward to new operating systems from Apple, Android, and Microsoft. We’ve covered the forthcoming IOS 8 upgrade and Windows has taken a different approach, updating their Windows 8.1 consistently without renaming the OS. This leaves the upcoming Android L. Android recently released the Android L Developer preview, a sneak peak at the latest version of the OS, available for the Nexus 5 and the 2013 Wi-Fi Nexus 7. We took a look to assess the ins and outs of the platform.

The biggest development in the Android L is an aesthetic: the shift from the recommended Holo visual theme to Material Design. Like flat design, Material Design involves a simple, vibrant, non-skeuomorphic visual scheme. Unlike flat design, Material Design is about creating a realistic cyber universe. Material is a metaphor. The idea of space within the user interface which is “inspired by the study of paper and ink yet technology advanced and open to imagination and magic.” (via Google) In other words, it’s an interface which is realistic and has intuitive rules within its own world, but still makes things easier when it can with creative gestures and transitions. The key to creating a realistic digital-space is to have consistent, fundamental rules of light, surface and movement. For more on Material Design, check out Google’s introduction to the concept.

The notification tray received a major renovation. Rather than keeping two trays for alerts and quick settings, the two are now presented in one unified notification tray. Dragging down from the top of the screen pulls out notifications, then dragging down on the notifications screen reveals a layer of quick settings.

The lock screen also received an update, displaying notifications front and center, allowing easy access directly from the lock screen. The updated lock screen also makes access to functions easier through gesture:  a swipe up unlocks the device, a swipe left opens the camera, a swipe right (on phones) opens the dialer.

Android’s Project Volta was designed to optimize the OS’s performance on smartphones to improve battery life. Project Volta follows a pattern of projects run by Google focused on addressing weaknesses of the previous platform, such as Project Butter, which aimed to make Android’s UI animations run at 60 fps, and Project Svelte, an effort to get the OS to run on 512MB of RAM. In previous versions, when the OS is engaged in a process for one second, it burns two minutes of standby time. To address this, Project Volta includes the development of a “JobScheduler” API which allows the OS to batch unimportant app requests, and gives developers the option to delay housekeeping functions on their apps until the device is plugged in. ArsTechnica did a study of the Android L Preview battery life versus Android 4.4 KitKat and found that Android L Preview had 36% more battery life.

 androidL

Via Ars Technica

Another major move in the Android L Preview is the transition of the default run-time from Dalvik to ART, which aims to save battery life and yield a faster, more efficient performance. Animations and scrolling felt both faster and smoother, but there were some bugs with the multitasking view and notification tray which one can imagine will be fixed in the final version of the OS.

App compatibility with the new OS fluctuates, some work fine in the Android L Beta, while others don’t work at all, including Twitter, Dropbox, and Google Docs. Of course, we expect much of this to be ironed out in the final version of the OS. The bottom line for Android developers is that Android L represents a major improvement in battery life, aesthetics and performance, which is good for business.

At Mystic Media, we’re highly experienced in the Android app development field, with a thorough and continually evolving perspective on the ins and outs of the platform. Contact us today by clicking here or by phone at 801.994.6815