After building an app to fit a market need, the next crucial step to success is making the app experience efficient. In a world where we’re all running out of time, extra clicks add up. With millions of apps competing for time, if you’re not building for the consumer’s mobile mindset, your app will not have much staying power. If I can’t find the item I want to purchase, or my dating profile isn’t getting a lot of attention because I haven’t added a picture, or if I have to register before using an app - I’m going to find an alternative.
Deleting an app from a mobile device takes less than a second and finding a new one to replace it could take as few as ten. Tuning an app to remove extra steps increases retention and builds consumer loyalty.
Step one is always to look at your data. Map out your current funnel(s) and get a baseline number for each point to understand your progressive drop-off rate. The funnel(s) should map each action a user must complete to get the high value action. The goal, of course, being that you want to lower the drop-off rate at each point in the funnel.
A high value action is an action that a user takes that is critical to them coming back to the app. This could be: adds three friends, makes a purchase, orders four meals to be delivered. These are core action that a user takes inside an app that leads to deeper engagement and conversion.
Efficient apps get to high value actions as quickly as possible, maximizing the retention rate.
A retail app funnel might look like this:
App Open --> Complete Registration (email & password) --> Browse --> Select Item --> Go to Shopping Cart --> Click Purchase --> Enter Credit Card and Email Address --> Confirm Purchase [8 steps]
Eight steps is a lot for a consumer to go through, especially on mobile. A best practice that has become more common in the past year is to delay registration. Immediate registration when someone first enters the app can be a huge deterrent – why should they give you any information when they do not know what they are signing up for? A much better placement for registration is after someone clicks purchase – when they are so far down the funnel they are ready to give their address and credit card number. Registration walls at first app open were often inserted because the app publisher wanted the user’s contact information. As UX has evolved, the balance of design has shifted to the ideal experience for the consumer - get them engaged before asking for anything.
A car service app funnel might look like this:
App Open --> Enable Location --> Registration (add credit card information) --> Click Pick Up [4 steps]
App Open --> Enable Location --> Click Pick Up [3 steps]
I was impressed when one car service did not ask for my credit card information until after I next logged in. There is some risk that I may not come back and pay, but this strategy showed they know they are offering a superior service and that trying it first would make me a repeat customer. Drop off at every point of the funnel is inevitable, but by taking out one step and getting me to the high value action of booking a ride faster - the app is likely increasing its overall retention rate.
A well-designed app is fundamentally critical in being successful. However, once the design is locked and the app is published, going through the standard development update cycle takes times. A workaround here is to utilize deeplinking in Swrve’s platform. If you realize there is a dropoff in your funnel and people are not, for example, adding a picture to their dating profile – show a full screen message inside the app as soon as they next enter explaining the benefits of adding a picture to their profile and, on the click, deeplink them directly to the page where they upload a photo – getting them to the high value action in fewer steps.