How often do you use mobile apps? Probably, some of them draw your attention every single day (sometimes even a few times a day, like Facebook). However, I bet there are also some apps on your phone that are still waiting to be used.
Obviously, building an app that attracts users every day is a top wish of every app developer.
So, is there an ultimate way of creating an addictive app, or is it just about luck?
Why should you care at all?
You may be thinking that your app doesn’t need to be used every day.
If only users download it and use it every now and then, it’s good enough for you, right?
A bigger active users ratio influences your app store's rankings. Also, the higher user engagement, the bigger chance of referrals.
So, here comes another excuse:
Maybe it’s about the app type?
Maybe there’s just no reason to use your app more often?
Facebook isn’t addictive because of being a social platform. After all, there are hundreds of other social platforms that never reached Facebook’s popularity. What makes Facebook extraordinary is how it made us addicted to something, that was totally unimaginable just ten years ago. (Who cared to check friends’ updates ALL THE TIME?)
Obviously, low retention is particularly problematic for those apps, which have the sole purpose of being used once in a while. It’s possible to convince users to track their sports results more often, but what about e.g period tracker apps?
In this case, the situation is pretty clear: Most of the time, the users have no reason to open the app. Consequently, they will most likely forget about it after a while and delete it with no regrets.
But there’s a way to prevent it. So, even if you’re thinking the problem doesn’t concern you (cause your app is not another period tracking app, right?), just keep reading.
If Eve, once-a-month ovulation tracker could make its users come back to it almost every day, so can you. Use these tricks to hook your users to your app, and watch it grow.
Eve lets you log your mood, physical symptoms, etc. It also stores the info on your ovulation cycle and provides you with peers’ feedback on its forum.
This buzzword doesn’t necessarily mean badges, levels, or gaining points- it’s about rewarding users for their actions to give them the feeling of satisfaction. Think about Tinder — what happens in users' minds when they see the “it’s a match” screen is similar to the feeling of winning a game. A simple dopamine shot caused by app interaction is what actually addicts users.
Eve is another example of using a gamification mechanism, more subtly than Tinder. The app lets you report your symptoms like cramps, mood changes, etc. throughout the entire month. The reason for you to do it is to collect data about the way your organism works and to mark some unusual changes. But would it be enough to keep users coming back? Probably not. Collecting data for future health benefits is quite monotonous and discouraging, as there’s no immediate gain in it. That’s why Eve introduced a small reward for every log. It’s information about your cycle and the symptoms you just reported. And YES, it works.
We’re herd animals. We like belonging to a group and comparing ourselves to others. Also, we tend to trust numbers more than words. This is why statistics rule. Information Eve gives to the user after the symptoms log is based on statistics of other users, that are at the same point of a cycle.
For example, after checking “angry” in a mood section, you get the information that 80% of your cycle twins are also angry today. If it didn’t make you feel better, you also get an explanation of what hormones are responsible for your mood and what’s the solution. That makes it all a little less horrible, doesn’t it? Now, take your time to think:
What statistics you can get from all your users?
How can you present the statistics to make users feel good?
Understanding what’s happening to your body and what to do to feel better makes it easier to cope with some nuisances. Also, by making it fun, Eve teaches young girls what’s really going on with them. A GIF from your favorite show with two explanatory sentences on why your spine hurts is so much easier to grasp than googling and getting through piles of useless information.
If you can offer small bits of knowledge that are related to the main subject of your app, don’t hesitate to do it. People love to learn, especially when this knowledge is personalized, e.g., according to the way they’re feeling. Giving your users extra value, strictly related to the main reason for using the app, will make them trust you. Also, it shows that your main purpose is not getting their money but actually providing your users with some valuable information.
Eve is a period tracking application, but the monthly cycle is related to sexual drive, hormones, moods, or physical state of being. This is why additional Eve features concerning those spheres make perfect sense.
What are the things related to the core feature of your app?
Can you give more to your users to engage them and help them achieve their main goal?
In Eve’s case, the main goal is tracking the ovulation cycle, but thanks to making the app interesting also on other levels, it keeps users engaged. Absolute win-win.
Although menstruation is still a social taboo, Eve managed to make its users talk.
It’s quite tough to talk about menstruation (especially for the young girls, who usually find it embarrassing). But the app makes it way easier to understand and accept women’s physiology thanks to its forum, directly related to this matter.
Obviously, this does not mean that every Eve user is mature enough to share her doubts on the forum. But if they finally decide to do so, it’s way more private and secure than random Internet fora.
Eve’s forum provides young women with peers’ feedback and information
Adding a social aspect to the app makes Eve even more engaging for users. What’s important, is that the app doesn’t really do much to convince its users to join the forum. The option is there, waiting for the user to make her independent decision to join the group. No pressure, no obligation. Also, the forum makes the app way more human. It’s not just a piece of code and some interface. Those are real people, who feel what you feel. Who you can talk to any time. Who can advise you when only you need them.
Being social is always more engaging than just user-app interaction.
No matter what your app is about — If you have a chance to add some social ingredients to it, just give it a go.
There’s no golden rule which determines your app’s popularity. Even if you expect it to be used often, you may face numerous complications, which would take your app down and make you wait for another iteration to see the desired results.
Also, as the example of Eve shows, the character of the app does not defy it as a ‘once in a while app’. If you only try, you may turn your app into a multi-level lifehack desired by its users and used actively more often than you would dare to imagine. If Eve succeeded in it, so can you.