The numbers say it all.

  • The average mobile user has somewhere north of 100 apps on their phone
  • 20% of all mobile app installs are only used once and never again.
  • You’ve lost almost 80% of your app users within the first week of install

So it stands to reason: making a great first impression has never been more important for your business. That means taking the time to optimize your “First-Time User Experience”. Of those 100 apps that your customers have on their phone, they spend 90% of their time on a mere few of them — how do you stand out and ensure that you become one of that select group?

It helps to start at the beginning. By optimising the first few screens that a user sees in the app, or the first moments that they spend in it, we can make a huge difference to the numbers that matter, and a real success of our mobile strategy. It’s important to have your user realize the value of your app, and the fundamentals of what it’s all about -– without them having to go to any effort.

Think about what your user wants to know when they first open the app, and make these the first things they learn when they do. Think in terms of answering these three key questions:

  • How do I begin navigating the app?
  • What purpose is it going to serve me?
  • Are there secondary features to the app that I should know about?

Address these questions and you’ll be on the right track to turning your retention numbers around!

Getting The Balance Right

Users are more likely to abandon your app at the beginning if it’s in any way difficult for them to navigate, so don’t let them feel lost upon opening the app. At the same time, you don’t want to overwhelm them with too many screens or too much information. So, think about what information you feel is vital for the initial intro, and what can be saved for a later date.

Consider your individual business, gather as much data as possible and make sure you have a good grasp of what a successful onboarding experience looks like for your app. Study your users and observe how different groups behave on their first experience with the app. From here, begin to figure out what a positive first-time user experience looks like for you. This could be any number of things – the user making a purchase or completing a registration for example – something that makes them more engaged with the app.

When you understand exactly what you are trying to achieve, it is then possible to optimise and test against that goal.

There are many ways to implement your onboarding experience. The most time effective one is to deliver explanatory screens and experiences through a cloud-based marketing platform. Compared to building them directly into the app, this method saves vast amounts of effort, time and money – particularly when it comes to implementing change. What can take six months to turn around in an ‘engineered’ solution needs only a morning when delivered via a platform of this type. And it also becomes a lot easier to support testing and personalization.

Building screens and experiences outside of the core app, and that go beyond ‘default’ app options, can benefit your mobile business in a variety of ways. Take, for example, the question of permissions. One way to be guarantee you don’t make any lasting friendships is by asking your users for permissions straight off the bat, with zero context, having just opened the app. Yet this is essentially the default option in both iOS and Android.

When your users grant you a permission, they are essentially giving you access to some of their personal information, and allowing you to communicate directly to them. So, make an effort to explain clearly to the user what exactly it is that they are consenting to – and why it’s valuable for them to do so. And do so at the right time.

Below is an example of this done well in a navigation app. The need for notifications is explained clearly to the user in a friendly manner, and it’s clear that it’s beneficial to my using the app.

Of course, what works for one brand’s app won’t necessarily work for yours, so keep A/B testing. Rarely is anything is mobile one-size-fits-all, so keep at it until you find an onboarding experience that works for your users. And remember, onboarding isn’t just for new users. Know your different user segments, whether they be lapsing or active, and keep them informed and engaged.

If you want to know more about FTUE and Onboarding strategies, you can download our guide here.

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