How to increase your user retention in your simple app by using gamification

How to increase your user retention in your simple app by using gamification

Consumers want to interact with brands using mobile. How well are brands delivering for users?  We must look beyond install and download metrics. While important, they do not tell the entire brand loyalty story. There is an industry shift from acquisition-only metrics towards retention rates for clarity about the ultimate business goal: the continued user experience. 

Today, apps are essential for building brand loyalty. A look at retention data provides insights missed by solely focusing on installs. Using retention as the opposite of churn, a seemingly average 29 percent retention rate over 90-days, is in fact, a 71 percent churn rate. Recently, industry retention rates have decreased slightly by six percent. All told, looking at retention rates reframes their importance in the measurement equation and shines a light on a significant business gap that needs attention. 

To improve this data, executives must embrace new strategies and technologies to provide superior user experiences. 

Gamification to Increase Retention Rates

Games are one of the most powerful behavior motivators. In order to retain interest beyond the download, game science provides insight into various gamification strategies.

Gamification adds the fascinating and irresistible elements of games to non-game settings to foster collaboration, sharing and creativity. One of the strongest game elements is the inclusion of narratives; they feed the human brain’s fundamental need for stories. The power of storytelling is essential within gamification to build brand loyalty and help improve retention rates.  

Yu-Kai Chou, a gamification expert, has predicted that marketers will need to ‘go deeper’ to help make experiences more enjoyable versus simply earning badges. He shared a shift to Intrinsic Motivation Design – that is, ensuring “long term motivation because doing the task itself feels meaningful and rewarding.” 

Brand Experiences Versus Tasks 

What does this mean for your app strategy? The first focus must be on who your audience is and what they want. What are they passionate about and what motivates them?  Focus on experiences that allow the user to feel meaningful and useful, not tasks that simply earn some form of currency of points or badges. 

For example, Smarty Pig, a financial budgeting app, uses gamification to provide users with three key areas of gaming science: accomplishment, empowerment of creativity and ownership. The app helps users achieve purchasing goals by depositing money into the goal or savings account. Instead of a meaningless progress bar, the app replaces that with a real-world purchase and sense of accomplishment with something real to show for it - such as a smart home refrigerator.

As we move into the next decade, this trend will gain momentum as continued growth in mobile app options fuel increased competitiveness for the time and attention of users. Ultimately, the goal is for consumers to enjoy engaging with your brand often – so much so, that they also share the experiences with others. 

There is a strong business case to use gamification strategies to increase user retention, build brand loyalty and improve the long-term customer experience.

To help maximize efforts to improve your mobile app retention, engagement or development strategies, take a behind-the-scenes look at how we have helped businesses like yours.  

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  2. Great Article
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