An average user has over 80 apps on their phone, but uses less than 35/month, and less than 20 daily.

The first big building block in the process of retention is your onboarding of a new customer. You’ve already “acquired” them at this point, which means they’re two things for you: they feel “initial success” with your product, and they see some value in a future relationship here.

At this moment, with so much promise in this new telecommunications customer’s mobile-facing eyes, how are you going to seize the moment?

Initially exploring the app

Some companies have used an approach that allows users to see behind the curtain of the app before they give their registration/log-in details.

If you use something like this, make it interactive. Show them where and how they’ll see usage/data details and any other fun “Easter Egg” elements of the app, like Rogers’ “device tips and tricks” section.

Present those with good UX, quickly, and move them back to a registration/information screen. They should see enough to be interested in inputting their data to the app.

Setting expectations

What does a user need to do to get set up with the app and start actually using it? You can use progress meters or other approaches for this.

You want the language to be soft, approachable, and friendly. When you ask about push notifications, explain what types of info would be included in future pushes. Clear, concise, and casual. You want them to think of your app as a trusted source of info for them — but not overbearing.

You also need to ask permission to “enter the house,” so to speak.

With Localytics, for example, we’ve helped telecommunications companies engage users through a variety of different Personalized Interactions (Push, In-App, Inbox, and EMail).

But it’s important to have language that carefully explains each of those possibilities and the benefit to the end user. The benefit should be explicitly defined.

Motivating usage

Now personalization can come in. Once they’re signed into the app, if they’ve greenlit push notifications, have a personalized one ready to go for a few hours later – welcoming them to your network service and the app..if they are a new subscriber or it should tell them something about their usage, or their billing, and how they can maximize their bill in this period.

Another tactic we’ve seen work: Roughly 10 days into a billing cycle, send a push or in-app message about their current data usage and expected usage over the next 20 days. Provide incentives for users to purchase additional data at a discount before the end of this billing cycle. That’s a relatively simple up-sell that can motivate app usage and net you incremental revenue through mobile strategy.


Be that trusted partner in how you engage with users through the app. But how you initially set all that up — setting expectations, letting users explore, and personalization — is the crux of your onboarding, and the whole relationship begins there. Get it right and you’ll have app users for years.