How Not To Lose 96% of Your New App Users This Holiday Season

The holidays mean lots of new app downloads, but not all users will stay

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Holiday shopping is becoming synonymous with mobile shopping. The marketing campaigns you’ll make in this pre-holiday stretch and through to the end of the year are crucial for customer engagement, as we’ve seen that more and more commerce is being conducted online and more and more online commerce is being conducted on mobile.

Plus, the holidays are high volume times to attract new customers: people who have received gifts of or have gifted themselves with new smartphones, tablets, and other smart devices, are loading these tech gifts up with new apps.

Need-to-know stats on holiday mobile commerce, app downloads, and more

The 2015 holiday season was the highest on record for mobile commerce:

The busy season for app downloading begins with Thanksgiving, according to Amazon.

  • People get 50% more apps during Thanksgiving week than the rest of the year.

Apple reported that during the 2015-16 holiday season:

  • Customers spent over $1.1 billion on apps and in-app purchases.
  • January 1, 2016 was the best day in App Store history, with customer spending totaling $144 million. Christmas Day 2015 came in second.
  • Nearly half of new device activations in December 2015 were Apple devices, followed by Samsung at nearly 20%.

While these findings show all the potential upsides to the holidays for mobile app marketers, there’s a potential downside, too, unfortunately. You could invest in acquiring holiday shoppers or holiday-gift recipients, attract them to download your apps, and then lose them almost as quickly to churn. The stats are stiff: within 90 days of acquisition, only 4% of app users are retained.

Here are clear steps to take to focus on early and consistent engagement to keep ROI high on all your holiday marketing efforts, beginning with onboarding.

9 onboarding tips for delighting and retaining holiday shoppers

You’ve invested marketing spend and happily have new customers, but your job isn’t over. You have to keep them beyond just the holidays, or you’ve wasted your acquisition campaign time and money. Here’s how to onboard during the holidays with a goal of year-round retention:

1. Establish onboarding goals and KPIs to track

Whether you’re looking to generate new sales or increase your loyal fan base, you can use this list of top mobile metrics to align on your priorities and measure the success of the onboarding efforts tied to these goals.

2. Put your best foot forward with a winning welcome campaign

An onboarding push notification during a customer’s first week can increase app retention by 71%, and, paired with an email or message via another channel, you could increase retention by 130%, according to an Appboy study.

Welcome emails have the highest open rates, nearly 60%, triple the average open rate, and generate nine times the purchases and eight times the revenue of regular marketing emails.

Holiday mobile message

A welcome email, a great element in an onboarding campaign.

3. Don’t lose customers before they’re fully onboarded

Not everyone who begins the process of creating an account with you will actually finish, and the extra stress, obligations, and competing priorities your audience is likely facing during the holiday season will only make them more distracted. Don’t forget to follow up with these would-be customers with multichannel efforts, which can increase your odds of retention.

4. Personalize messages with relevant offers

46% of shoppers surveyed said that relevant deals and discounts will motivate them to make purchases during this holiday season. Offering real-time welcome emails with an offer has been found to yield twice the transactions of real-time welcomes without offers.

5. Focus on a strong mobile web presence

With the lines between mobile apps and mobile websites blurring, an easy-to-navigate user experience will help your mobile commerce presence stand apart whether accessed via mobile web or app.

6. Consider offering exclusives for app users

In 2015, Walmart unveiled its Black Friday deals days early, on November 12, solely on its smartphone app. Similarly, Amazon offered app-only deals starting Thanksgiving through mid-December during the holiday season in 2015, sending mobile notifications when deals went live.

7. Give customers a reason to make your app a habit

90% of people who interact with apps on a weekly basis during the first month of use are retained versus 23% for those that don’t engage in the second, third, and fourth week. Don’t miss out on creating tie-ins to New Year’s resolutions, a time your customers are already primed to be setting habits.

Holiday in-app message

An in-app message encouraging users to engage early on

8. Get push notification opt-ins by sharing the benefits

Make it clear why your app users will benefit from receiving push from you, and when you do send push notifications, be sure you’re following best practices. Your customers are already inundated with notifications, and the holidays are a busy enough time as it is.  

9. Have a strategy for abandoned shopping carts

Nearly 70% of shopping carts are abandoned, amounting to $4 trillion in lost sales. Here are nine abandoned shopping cart notifications that captured our attention.

Holiday retention push

An abandoned cart push notification

Our holiday wish for you, marketers

This holiday marketing season, we wish for you the greatest gift: for your new audience members to stick around and for you to get the best ROI from your holiday user acquisition campaigns. What’s at stake if you don’t get this right? There’s a real Grinch: churn. The good news is, increasing retention by just 5% can increase your profits by 25%. That’s a holiday gift all marketers can appreciate.

Appboy Mobile Onboarding Essentials Ad

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