This guest post is written by Carly Morris of Taptica. Find out more at

When it comes to growing a successful app, the first piece of the equation is always to develop a strong user acquisition strategy. But what comes after the conversion?

Driving installs is essential, but to cultivate longevity you need to keep those users coming back for life. This means adding a few new considerations to your mobile marketing strategy. But, lucky for app marketers, fostering great user retention doesn’t have to be a challenge.

In fact, you can craft a holistic, personalized lifetime engagement model with just 5 simple steps.

1. Balanced User Acquisition Models

It’s no secret that the key to a lifelong relationship is to convert the right users from the get-go.

But, a common misconception when it comes to acquisition models is that organic installs are more valuable than paid. While it’s true that a steady influx of organic traffic is a good indicator that you’re on the right path, it doesn’t always equate to high lifetime value for those conversions.

You should look at paid UA as a means to expand your organic audience, with the added advantage of being able to target new users outside of those who would otherwise come across your app on their own. Plus, with the right strategy, you can sharpen this targeting to reach the users that are most likely to engage regularly for life.

Converting the right audience lays a critical foundation for driving lifetime loyalty, and the best way to ensure a consistent flow of these users is to strike a balance between strong organic and paid acquisition strategies.

2. Onboard Smarter

Every app development team thinks their product is simple, straightforward, and easy to use. Inherently, these teams operate from a biased perspective based on their innate knowledge and sense of connection to the app they’re growing. A new user experiencing the app for the first time will almost always have a different experience.

Remember that different people from different backgrounds bring new questions and considerations into play. If you want your audience to really understand the value of your product, you need to dot all your i’s and cross all your t’s with effective app onboarding.

A good onboarding process should highlight key app features, personalization options, privacy controls, and support capabilities right off the bat. It should also avoid anything too commitment-heavy in these early stages. Things like long registration forms or payment information requirements are surefire ways to turn people away before they can get hooked.

Remember that the more intuitively your audience can engage with your app, the more comfortable they’ll feel to return time and again.

3. Post-Install Engagement Strategy

Push notifications are arguably the best-known strategy for sparking post-acquisition app engagement. But they sometimes get a bad rap for being either too intrusive or too monotonous.

The simple fix? Create a better balance.

There are all kinds of push notifications to choose from. If you’re tired of text alone, you can experiment with more engaging formats like rich push, which includes pictures, videos, GIFs, and more. If you’re worried about coming on too strong, try experimenting with the frequency and tone of your messaging, and always give your users the ability to control their notification settings from within the app itself.

Push notifications can also be a great space to experiment with different strategies in personalization and data-backed reengagement. Notifications pertaining to limited time offers, flash sales, and special deals are almost always well-received, but by assessing the unique segments within your audience and understanding their historical behavior patterns, you can naturally create personalized messaging that’s sure to strike a positive chord.

4. Fostering a Positive User Experience

A phenomenal user experience is essential if you want to keep your users coming back for more. The harsh reality is that even the smartest new app can fall flat if using it feels like a chore.

When we talk about UX, the technical and visual facets are only one piece of the puzzle. The rest is about customizing the user journey to make the people/product relationship feel like a match made in heaven.

The good news? Some of the best ways to ramp up the user experience are already at your disposal. 

a. Personalization

A personalized app experience is a great app experience.

The app journey can be customized in a near infinite number of ways. Some of the most standard cases, like name, location, and behavior-based suggestions or special offers are all great places to start, but also try to get creative with innovative new ways to integrate personal touches into your unique experience.

b. User Data

The best way to take on this kind of personalization strategy is to rely on any user behavior data at your disposal.

Analyzing your audience data allows you to better understand your users’ unique preferences and how they typically interact with your app. Then, you can tailor your strategy accordingly to ensure that you provide the most relevant experience for every individual user.

c. A/B Testing

It goes without saying that the more data you have to work from, the better. But even so, you can never fully operate from probabilistic models alone. This is what makes A/B testing so important.

Multivariate testing can start as early as your app store optimization planning, right down to your UA campaigns, push notifications, and in-app messaging. Test anything and everything! With each new test you’ll be able to refine new aspects of your app and your engagement strategy until only the best remain.

And, because your audience and their needs are always changing, A/B testing is something you’ll want to undergo continually. It’s always better to know with confidence that your approach is working than to leave anything up to chance.

5. Retarget, Reengage, Repeat

Just like organic acquisition isn’t always superior to paid UA, push notifications and in-app optimizations aren’t necessarily more valuable than paid reengagement campaigns.

Reengagement is a fantastic way to put your audience data to work in order to foster lifetime retention from both active and dormant users.

For example: for recent buyers, an eCommerce app might serve reengagement ads for complementary products or similar styles to get them back and shopping for more. Meanwhile, for cart-abandoning users, the advertiser may opt for ads that remind them what they left behind and encourage them to return and convert.
All in all, curating lifetime loyalty is an intricate process that extends through every stage of the user journey. What’s more, it’s something that’s bound to look a little different for every app and their unique business goals as time goes on.

Whatever a high LTV user looks like for your business, you can guarantee their best engagement by keeping their experience front of mind. Keep your strategy clear, fresh, and personal – from first ad impression to successive push notifications and downstream reengagement ads. When the user experience is your first priority, there’s nowhere to go but up.