Greeting new app users with a warm and memorable welcome isn’t an option in today’s experience economy; it’s a requirement if you want to see high retention and strong recurring revenue in your app. With over 2 million apps in the App Store to choose from, your customers want to see the value in yours within seconds of download—if that isn’t made clear, you’re guaranteed to lose more than half of new users, and ultimately put your business at risk of wasting its entire acquisitions budget.

Take a look at the research:

  • The average app user only keeps a new app for 6 days before losing interest and uninstalling (Adjust)
  • 57% of app users abandon an app within one month of download (Statista)
  • It costs 5x more to acquire new customers than to simply retain existing ones (Forbes)

For these reasons and more, it’s imperative that you nail every first impression with a new user. Here are four ways to impress new users and keep them coming back for more:


Offer Real-Time Relevance and Multi-Step Education

Your onboarding journey needs to be relevant to new users in real time. In order to do that, you have to consider the path that led them to your app. Are they coming from an ad? Have they already indicated interest in a particular item or experience? If you have this information, you need to be able to use it to make their welcome all the more valuable by creating a seamless path from ad to app.

Swrve's unique ad-to-app campaign capabilities help connect every individual customer’s journey from Facebook ad to personalized onboarding in the app, unifying experiences across platforms and delivering greater relevance in real time. Facebook ad campaigns that deep link to content relevant to what was shown in the ad convert 11x better than those without deep linking. In-app messages for these campaigns are rendered instantly with on-brand, pixel-perfect precision in Swrve.

It’s also not uncommon to welcome a new user with a tutorial on how to navigate your app, how to use certain features, and directions on where to go for important information. The most helpful tutorials are those that are shown in multiple steps via in-app messages. Pro-tip: Include the option to skip a step, so new users have the freedom and flexibility to only see information that they’re most interested in. The result will be more completed tutorials and more time spent in app after first open.


Create and Send Personalized Experiences Across Channels

Today’s customers are moving at the speed of now across channels. That means a hyper personalized, multichannel onboarding strategy is needed to ensure that customers receive the right first-time user experiences, wherever and whenever customers choose to interact with your brand. For instance, a new user may sign up for an OTT service on a laptop or mobile device, but will choose to stream the app’s content on a smart TV. To ensure a great welcome, there needs to be an onboarding flow in place to highlight distinct differences and benefits associated with the app’s experiences across channels.

You should also use first user experiences on one channel to trigger relevant experiences on another (ex: a first time user on mobile clicks to view a certain item; they should then get a welcome email that displays more items from that collection or category). This will help a new user continue their journey with your brand and put them on their own path to purchase.

Go Further than Day One, Two, and Seven

Onboarding is a balancing act: throwing too much too soon at a new user will overwhelm them; say too little, and you’ll confuse them. The expert approach would be to ask for opt-in permissions in a smart, well-timed way (mainly communicating the benefits of opting in), and then phase out your onboarding via push, email, and more over a 30-day period. Let real-time data in Swrve be your guide as you decide which new user audience gets what—some new users will benefit from educational, feature-oriented push notifications, while others will just want to be kept up to date on new brand experiences.

Swrve helps brands orchestrate multi-day messaging via push notifications, web push, email and more to create personalized touchpoints that reflect individual user interests indicated from their source of acquisition, past, present, and future behavior (determined by AI), and more.


A/B Test and Optimize As You Go

It’s important to learn as much as you can from every new user experience. Make sure you’re using genuine A/B testing, controlling for all variables, and reporting results that are statistically significant. A successful onboarding message isn’t always one that gets clicked on the most, so beware of deferring to click-thru-rates when determining success. Instead, make sure competing variants are measured on the results you want to see: retention, revenue, and progression to the end of onboarding.

Test everything. When onboarding is delivered via in-app messages, you can design multiple alternatives, deliver them simultaneously within an A/B test, and establish which delivers the best results. Use a funnel analysis, trend reports, and user journey data in Swrve to identify problem areas in real time and focus on these when refining and optimizing your messaging.

Combine these tactics with the power of real-time relevance in Swrve, and watch your churn rates decrease and lifetime value rise across channels.



Stay tuned for more posts on this subject in our upcoming Swrve Customer Journey blog series, where we’ll explore key routes for:

  • Valuable engagement and retention
  • Smart monetization and cross-selling
  • Acquisition-driven customer advocacy


And if you want to skip ahead to see real-time relevance happening across journeys in action, sign up to demo Swrve today.