7 User Engagement Strategies To Achieve Your Goals

Gaurav Rawat
April 23, 2024
19 mins


Today’s digital users have many choices across free and paid apps for their goals. Be it fitness, shopping, workplace productivity, or any use case – the competition is fierce. A single hiccup while using an app can result in disengagement, or worse, switching to a competitor.

That’s the harsh reality of building a product – acquiring users is only half the battle; the real challenge lies in keeping them engaged and coming back for more. If you do not take care of your product’s user engagement, your competitors will do it.

In this blog, we help you with 7 full-proof and practical user engagement strategies. It includes examples and a guide to implementing them for your product – read to learn more.

What is user engagement?

User engagement is a key product metric that helps you understand how truly invested a user is in your application by analyzing their interactions.

It goes beyond the usual downloads and unsubscribes – where you get insight into the ‘how’ and ‘frequency’ of users interacting with your application to make informed product decisions.

For example, let's consider a common pain point faced by product managers: high churn rates.

Even if you see a surge in downloads during the initial launch, it's a nightmare to see instant dips or app uninstalls. To understand why this is happening and how to mitigate it – you need to know how the user was interacting with your app.

This is where measuring user engagement comes into the picture – it will help you measure and visualize how users are interacting with your app.

Why is it important to know user engagement strategies?

Imagine if Instagram failed to prioritize user engagement.

What if the app was cluttered with irrelevant content or the interactions felt impersonal? 

In such a scenario, users would quickly lose interest and seek out alternative platforms that offer a more engaging experience.

By prioritizing user engagement through features like personalized recommendations, interactive stories, GIFs, etc, Instagram has successfully retained millions of users. They constantly innovate to bring new features and try to build a community. Such efforts in increasing user engagement have solidified its position as one of the leading social media platforms.

That’s the kind of success you achieve when you focus on user engagement.

“When someone starts using a new product, they want to see immediate results. This gives them the impression that they could be even more successful as time goes on. If the first 5 minutes are painful, the rest of the experience will be colored by a bad first impression.”
– Josh Ledgard, Co-founder at Kickofflabs

User engagement serves as a powerful antidote to churn, wherein it helps you develop sticky experiences. From onboarding new users to retaining them, user engagement strategies help you keep users hooked and coming back for more.

Here are three key business areas that get impacted when you implement user engagement strategies:

1. Increase in Customer lifetime value (LTV)

Customer lifetime value is the complete revenues and profit generated by a user as they start engaging with your product. When you focus on user engagement, you nurture a deeper relationship with your audience by becoming a part of their daily workflow. This increases your chances of them making a purchase or choosing premium services from you, thus boosting your LTV and revenues.

2. Better user retention

Retaining existing users is more cost-effective than acquiring new ones. The more engaged your users are, the more likely they are to continue using your app. This improves your user retention metrics and helps reduce customer churn over time.

3. Improved user experience (UX)

Many user engagement strategies (as you will see in the coming sections) involve understanding the user’s preferences and aligning your app’s user flows and interface accordingly. It helps make your app intuitive with streamlined workflows, gamified design elements, and in-app nudges. When your users have a good experience with the app’s usability, they are more likely to recommend and stay retained.

7 essential user engagement strategies you must implement for your product

We have selected seven actionable user engagement strategies that you can instantly implement with Nudge:

1. Map your customer journey

Knowing what steps your users take when they join your app is not enough. Each step must truly enhance their experience so that they can complete the goals they intend to achieve. To get this right, you need to empathize with their needs, motivations, and pain points at each stage.

Customer journey mapping is a technique to help you visualize how your users interact with your application.

Image Source: Adobe Stock

Here’s what each step means and how they impact user engagement:

  • Awareness: this is when the user becomes aware of your product through marketing efforts, referrals, or organic reach.
  • Consideration: here, the user explores multiple options in the market that help them achieve their goals. They stack your app's features, functionality, and value proposition against others to determine which ones fit their needs.
  • Conversion: when a user takes a desired action within the app, such as signing up, making a purchase, or subscribing to a service, you can consider the user is converted. From here, you must ensure the user continues to purchase by engaging with your app.
  • Retention: due to your user engagement efforts, they continue to engage with your app over time, like, returning for repeat visits and becoming a loyal user.
  • Advocacy: since the user is highly engaged and has a good experience with your app, they become a brand advocate. They share the positive experiences with others and promote your app through word-of-mouth or social media.

Knowing this, how do you map the customer journey?

First, you need to identify these stages in the existing steps a typical user takes in your product.

Then, try to understand the user’s point of view to develop personas – what are their expectations? What do they prefer? Why did they download your app? What are they trying to solve with your app? The more detailed your user persona is, the better mapping you will do.

Now, map out the various touch points where users interact with your app. This includes the app store listing, landing pages, onboarding process, main features, in-app messages, or support channels. Identify any friction or drop-off points across your existing steps.

With this, you are better equipped to optimize your existing customer experience by implementing various user engagement strategies. Streamline processes, remove barriers, and enhance engagement by providing clear guidance and personalized interactions – we have described this in detail here – 12 ways to increase user engagement

You can avoid purchasing a new tool for mapping the user journey and saving costs – Nudge provides a simple step-by-step interface that will help you understand key workflows and design experiences. 

2. Create personalized experiences

When users feel like an app understands their preferences and caters to their needs, they're more likely to spend time interacting with it.

One way to personalize your product is by tailoring the content, features, and user flows. For example, a news app that suggests articles based on a user's interests is more likely to capture their attention. It will keep them more engaged than one with generic recommendations.

Sustained exposure to personalized content also means better response to the call to action and increased conversions. Again taking the example of the news app – if you always get relevant content, you are more likely to purchase premium subscriptions.

For example, here’s Google sharing an in-app message to its users highlighting how they use their AI to help organize their photos by faces. The copy explains how the feature works and the benefits it provides (finding photos of loved ones). For an app like Google Photos, such personalization features help with better image organization, thus reducing work for the user. They are more likely to come to Google Photos to find old photos as required. 

How to create personalized experiences?

The key to designing effective personalization for your app is to perform thorough user research and define user personas.

Segment your user base into distinct groups based on shared characteristics or behavior patterns. Common segmentation criteria include:

  • Demographics – age, gender, location
  • Psychographics – interests, preferences, active time
  • Behavior – frequency of app usage, in-app purchases, choices in customization
  • Lifecycle stage – new users, active users, churned users, retained users, etc.

Segmentation helps you give direction on how to tailor the content and features. 

Then, adopt user experience tools like Nudge that help you personalize user flows based on designed audiences. You can also import cohorts from advanced analytics tools to enrich the data – Nudge for user engagement personalization

Based on these segmented personas, you can customize the app's user interface and features to adapt to each user's preferences and behavior. This can include dynamically adjusting the layout, navigation flow, or UI copy based on user interactions and preferences.

For example, a music streaming app could rearrange playlists and recommendations based on the user's listening history. Or, a fitness app could adjust workout plans based on the user's fitness level and goals.

3. Set up proactive support channels

The best way to enhance user experience is to make sure they do not get a chance to complain. With proactive support, you enhance user engagement by providing timely assistance and addressing user needs before they even arise.

Advanced product analytics tools [we have featured some here –[user onboarding tools] can identify user sentiments and analyze their activity to predict churn. Such tools can help you provide proactive support when you receive alerts. Then, you can implement proactive messaging or notifications within your app to offer assistance, tips, or relevant information based on user interactions or behavior.

For example, you may observe that a user repeatedly tries and fails to complete a task, such as making a purchase or accessing a feature. You can proactively offer guidance or troubleshooting tips to help them succeed. Strategies like sending personalized tips, tutorials, or educational content based on users' interests or usage patterns, at the right time, help them get the most out of your app.

You must also choose the right support channel to deliver such experiences. Ideally, being multi-channel helps – for example, you can choose in-app chatbots, emails, social media messaging tools, create a comprehensive knowledge base, develop community forums – or, implement all of these.

For example, here’s Zomato, a leading food delivery app, being proactive on Twitter. The moment someone tweets or complains about their service, they immediately respond and address the issue using Twitter’s business tools. Such proactive responses and support via Twitter’s DMs make Zomato approachable and available to its customers irrespective of their location.

4. Reward and encourage engagement

An effective way to motivate someone to perform a desired action is to promise rewards. Whether psychological or promotional, rewards serve as positive reinforcement that encourages users to continue interacting with your app.

For example, it is common for a retail app to offer loyalty points for each purchase. This motivates users to shop more frequently and spend more within the app.

Here’s how Instagram uses ‘Plays Challenge’ that uses a ‘badge system’ to encourage its users to become ‘Instagram creators’. They have set up milestones that prompt the user to continue making reels or adding stories and help transition to the creator game. 

Notice how it also shares trivia around the reach which further encourages users to pursue making content.

How does rewarding foster user engagement?

  • Sense of achievement: by offering virtual badges, upgrading levels, or giving coins for reaching milestones, you can tap into users' innate desire for recognition and accomplishment.
  • Encourages virality: you can offer referral programs that offer rewards or discounts to both the referrer and the new user. This incentivizes both users to spread the word and recruit new members to your app’s community.
  • Encourages habit formation: it is a dream of every product owner for their app to become a regular habit of their users. It is the ultimate key driver of long-term engagement and retention. Rewarding users for their behavior like consistently using the app or achieving specific goals, you can reinforce desired behaviors and turn them into ingrained habits. Over time, these habits become automatic, leading to sustained engagement.
  • Adaptable to user behavior: a dynamic reward system allows you to adapt to changing user preferences or trends. For example, Twitter’s ‘Explore’ section urges people to engage in trending conversations. Or Duolingo’s app icon changes to ‘dull face’ if the user misses out on their language lessons or streak.
  • Fosters community building: most reward systems encourage people to engage with each other or bring their network into the app. You can create opportunities for users to connect, share achievements, and celebrate milestones together. All these lead to building a strong community.

The easiest way to set up a reward system is to use user experience software like Nudge. Without a single line of code, you can design reward system user flows and track its impact on engagement:

5. Drive user-generated content

User-generated content refers to any form of content – such as reviews, testimonials, photos, videos, or social media posts – created by users rather than the app's team members. Having UGC on your website is an effective way to build trust and authenticity around your product. When potential users see positive reviews or user-generated content from their peers, they're more likely to trust your app and feel confident in downloading or engaging with it.

If you’re planning to build a community of users — having elements that promote the creation of user-generated content is a must. The natural generation of user-generated content serves as an effective trigger for word-of-mouth marketing. Users are more likely to trust recommendations from their peers than from brands or advertisers.

How to nurture users to generate content within your app?

  • Include content creation or sharing features: first, you must have relevant features or provisions within your app to make people post content. For example, Instagram is a social media app – whose core features lie around making people create and consume content. For apps beyond social media, you may opt for sharing reviews or testimonials, building forums, connecting to social accounts for sharing content, etc.
  • Offer an incentive for posting: a common way is to give rewards for creating content like discounts, virtual badges, or entries into contests or giveaways. Another way is to provide validation to your creators by highlighting their contributions. For example, you can feature user reviews, testimonials, photos, or videos prominently within your app's interface or boost its visibility.
  • Engage with users: do engage with user’s content by actively liking, commenting on, or sharing their posts on your social media. You must also encourage engagement among the community members via events or networking.

StockTwits is a leading platform for stock enthusiasts and professionals to socialize. Here’s how they nurture user-generated content:

  • The company itself posts content that nurtures engagement:
  • They organize AMA sessions for their users which they also promote on their app and other social media platforms:
  • They also promote their user’s content across emails, their profile, and other social channels for more engagement and visibility:

With multiple efforts from the brand, it is possible to nurture user-generated content. An engaged user base will allow platforms like Stocktwits to sell multiple financial services and experience better conversions.

6. Engage users with a gamification strategy 

Under gamification strategy, you implement game elements into your user flow to nurture sustained engagement. These work, because they often include progression systems, such as leveling up, unlocking achievements, or earning badges. These provide users with a sense of accomplishment and advancement. This further prompts the user to continue using your app to reach higher levels, unlock new features, or earn prestigious rewards.

Here’s how gamification taps into psychology to push for user engagement:

  • Motivation: gamification taps into intrinsic motivators such as mastery, autonomy, and purpose to incentivize users to engage with your app. Game elements set ‘clear goals’ – and this pushes the users to ‘achieve’ them.
  • Competition: many games leverage competition and social interaction to foster engagement and community-building. A common way to do this is to introduce leaderboards, multiplayer features, or challenges where users participate and engage with each other.
  • Positive results: gamification helps reinforce positive behavior by rewarding users for taking desired actions or completing tasks. You help the user achieve the tasks that they intended to do with your app, and that further helps them ensure they stick with the habit by continuing the engagement.

There are many gamification tactics you can use for user engagement, here are the top five you must know:

  • Streaks: helps users stay motivated to show up in defined intervals for doing particular tasks. Great for fitness, gaming, or learning apps that often require a commitment from users to achieve positive results.

Here’s how Duolingo, a language learning app, uses streaks to help its users maintain constant usage on the app. 

Image Source: Learn with Andy

  • Scratch cards: these help you deliver rewards to people by triggering a sense of surprise and anticipation in them. It is a powerful tool to boost user retention – for example, you can offer scratch cards regularly, such as daily or weekly rewards, that encourage users to return to your app regularly to see what they've won. 

Google Pay is widely known for its scratch card game element as it surprises users with cashback, coupon, or no-reward game on every transaction.

Image Source: Quora

  • Points system: commonly seen across credit card or airline services, a points system provides users with tangible rewards for engaging with your app and performing desired actions, like swiping the credit card or booking flight tickets. You can build a ‘loyalty’ program – where users can earn points for regular usage or purchases. These are great for encouraging repeat visits and building a long-term relationship with your brand. This, in turn, boosts retention rates and maximizes the lifetime value of each user.

For example, Costa Coffee uses its app to deliver a points system based loyalty program for its customers. It has launched ‘Costa Coffee Club’ – which promises to offer a free drink for every 10 beans earned by a customer. It also provides exclusive and surprise rewards which make the experience more engaging.

Image Source: Costa Coffee

  • Challenges: you can design competitive user experiences in your app that your users can join and compete with other fellow users, friends, or themselves. They provide users with clear goals and objectives to strive for, giving them a sense of purpose and direction within the app. Often challenges are combined with other game elements like streaks or rewards, where users get incentivized to engage with the app regularly and establish long-term habits.

For example, WeightWatchers is an app that uses challenges to motivate its users for various goals with different benefits and game rules. Users get a choice to join a challenge they find comforting.

Image Source: WeightWatchers

Nudge can help you quickly design, test, iterate, and deploy many game elements across point systems, challenges, leaderboards, streaks, scratch cards, and more to your app. With no requirement for additional developers or resources – you get to test gamified flows at minimal cost and time: Explore Nudge for Gamification

7. Monitor user engagement metrics and iterate

Lastly, for all the user engagement strategies you are designing, you must define key performance metrics to track and improve on. For each metric, set goals on what you would like to achieve and assign timelines to help align your efforts.

Some useful user engagement metrics you can set include:

  • Feature adoption rate: monitor which features of your app are most frequently used and which ones are underutilized. This data can help you prioritize feature enhancements and updates to improve overall user engagement.
  • Retention rate: this metric measures the percentage of users who continue to use your app over time. A high retention rate indicates that users find value in your app and are likely to remain engaged.
  • Conversion rate: this measures the percentage of users who complete a specific action within your app that you want them to perform, like paid subscriptions or transactions. This is an important metric that helps identify why your users aren’t pushing toward monetization or other key business goals.
  • NPS: is a quick 1-3 questionnaire that measures how likely is the user to recommend your app to their friends or network.
  • DAU/MAU: measures your users' activity over a daily or weekly timeframe. When you calculate the ratio of DAU/MAU – you understand how sticky your app is with your users – a high ratio would mean more engaged users and your strategies are paying off.

Explore more metrics on our guide – user engagement metrics for mobile apps

Nudge streamlines your need to implement user engagement strategies and also measure them on the same platform – Explore Nudge for user engagement insights

How to pick the right tools to implement user engagement strategies?

Once you have defined your key metrics to track and user engagement strategies to work on – you need to find the right tool that has the necessary features to implement and measure.

Before choosing one, ensure you go through this quick five-step process:

  1. Keep the goals ready: ensure your user personas, key metric numbers to achieve, and functionalities required from the UX software are ready. This will help you in comparing UX software and knowing which ones truly meet your needs.
  2. Research tools on these parameters: consider the software’s scalability, compatibility with existing tools, data migration features, available options for user experience design, and usability. These factors will help make your onboarding into UX software easy and seamless.
  3. Pricing: what are you getting for the price paid? Many specialized tools in the market help with design, analytics, feedback, etc, while some include everything. Choose the one most required for your business goals. Also, do understand the pricing model of each tool – is it a subscription fee, usage-based pricing, or a one-time license fee? Knowing this helps you see how the pricing scales as your app grows.
  4. Trial and demos: UX software should provide options to view demos or a trial. This helps you test the tools firsthand and assess their suitability for your needs before making a commitment.
  5. Support: just like your app should support proactively, your UX software vendor should also have a good support system to enable your user engagement strategies without hiccups.

We have made things easy for you by sharing the top five tools that you can explore for implementing user engagement strategies:

1. Nudge for designing and testing user experiences

Nudge is an easy-to-use yet comprehensive user experience software that helps you design, test, analyze, and improve UX flows for engagement. It can help you design unique experiences as per audience and use case (like onboarding, feature activation, gamification, etc).

With Nudge, you can:

  • Personalize experiences for better conversion, lifetime value, and hence, more chances of user monetization.
  • Implement in-app nudges across onboarding tours, checklists, walkthroughs, coachmarks, and more to improve user engagement.
  • Gamify your app with rewards, a points system, streaks, and more.
  • Drive feature adoption with new product announcements or highlighting the right feature at the right time uses a combination of in-app nudges. 
  • Leverage videos and stories to improve user engagement, educate users, and increase the time spent on your app.

Interested in implementing these benefits for your user engagement strategy – check out Nudge and its features for your app.

2. CleverTap for user engagement optimization

CleverTap is a powerful mobile marketing and analytics platform. It includes features across push notifications, in-app messaging, user segmentation, predictive analytics, and A/B testing. If you're planning to design end-to-end funnels and want a deeper understanding of your users via powerful analytics – you may want to explore software like CleverTap.

3. Intercom for customer support

Intercom focuses on the customer support and chatbot front – it offers a suite of customer engagement tools across live chat, in-app messaging, email marketing, knowledge base, and customer support automation. These engage users in real-time through personalized conversations, provide proactive support, and gather feedback for alignment.

If your product is looking to focus on offering proactive support for the users, then consider user engagement tools like Intercom or Zendesk. 

4. Amplitude for customer analytics

Amplitude provides a host of features that will help you analyze data to understand user behavior, track retention, and optimize conversion rates. This data further helps you understand key user interaction trends and segment them based on their behavior (and many other data points).

Choose Amplitude if your focus is on having a comprehensive product and customer analytics tool to improve your understanding of users.

5. Qualtrics for churn prediction

Qualtrics offers an AI-enabled suite of tools for gathering feedback, analyzing product data, and delivering real-time user insights. This includes a predictive analytics-enabled tool for predicting churn. It will analyze your customer’s activities across the user journey and determine the risk of churn, alert you, and suggest relevant improvements.

If your product faces high churn rates, then you might want to invest in churn prediction software like Qualtrics for optimizing user experiences.

Design your unique user engagement strategy with Nudge 

Nudge lets you experiment with user engagement strategies without any code or engineering bandwidth. This makes it faster to iterate and work on improvement based on insights from analytics. Contact our team today to get started on your user engagement workflows – book a demo

Gaurav Rawat
April 23, 2024