User engagement in apps and how to improve it

User engagement in apps and how to improve it

Apps make daily lives convenient – from communication to shopping, from banking to transportation. Keeping in touch with people who are thousands of kilometers away is no longer a problem. Sharing great news has never been easier. But with the recent growth in the number of apps available, just releasing an app is no longer enough. With 5.23 million apps currently available in App Store and Google Play (2020), the competition is getting harder and takes apps to a new level. The level where app user engagement plays the most important part.

On average, modern users integrate with 20 apps per day. This can be both – good and bad. Good because your app can be one of those 20. Bad because most likely users won’t spend a significant amount of time there. That is why switching focus to improving user engagement is a new must.

What exactly is user engagement?

User engagement is not just a trendy word. Unlike user acquisition, engagement rates are vital indicators. They can say a lot about how your app is doing and even be a prediction tool on how your app will be doing in the long run. Think about this. Just because 200 people downloaded an app and created accounts doesn’t mean that they will actually use your app or contribute to your revenue. After all, happily engaged users are the ones who are enlarging your user base by spreading the word and pushing your app towards prosperity.

User engagement is all about how active users are on your application and remain to be so over a certain period of time. Here is what to focus on when it comes to user engagement-related metrics.


Great apps keep users coming back – a few times a day (DAU), a week (WAU), or a month (MAU). While users’ activity frequency depends on the app’s nature, the most standard criteria for engaged users is to access the app within 30 days and complete at least one action there. For example, a monthly active user on Stipop is a user who connects to the Stipop server at least once a month.

Uninstall rates.

Uninstall count is the enemy of engagement. Half of the app installed end up being uninstalled in 30 days. The average uninstall rate is 28%, so if you see your numbers getting higher, it is time to analyze possible reasons and improve app features.

The reasons may vary, but most likely, we can sum them into users being bored as apps do not provide entertaining or catchy features, UX and UI need some work or apps crash way too often.

User retention.

User loyalty is not exactly user engagement, but it’s a great contributor to your app’s wellbeing. It is the percentage of app users who return to the app within three months of the first session or at least once within 30 days. This frequency depends on the app’s nature but can be considered average for most apps.

Your retention rate provides data on how much interest your users have for your app that is keeping them coming back for more. According to a study conducted by Price intelligently, Improving the retention rate by at least 1% will lead to a 7% improvement to the bottom line revenue.

Average length per session.

How much time your users browse your pages is important too. By understanding the behavior, you can see pages that perform better and improve those that don’t. 


Conversion will be different for each app; it can be subscriptions, purchases, sign-ups, meetups, or any other action that is valuable for your business type. If you notice, your users don’t convert, even though there is clear interest, then one or more page does not do the job right. It’s time to evaluate the information you provide on those pages.

Your metrics.

There always will be metrics that make sense for your app only. It can be the number of messages your users send, how many video meetings happen monthly, or the amount of content your users exchange. For example, at Stipop we pay attention to daily, weekly, and monthly sticker usage and amount of users sending them. These are important because they show how well your features are performing.

How to grow your app?

  • Timely introduce new features.

Psychologically we tend to find even the best offers boring over time. Regardless of how unique your core features are, your competitors most likely have similar services to offer. That is why introducing additional services to your app will do the trick. 

Even though developing new features is mostly a time-consuming and expensive process, some features don’t need to be created from scratch. Integrating tools like stickers is possible with sticker API or sticker SDK – taking only one junior developer and a few days to do it. Both integrations will allow your users to use multifunctional stickers for communication within your app and be a valuable upgrade.

  • Keep it up-to-date.

App updates are essential. They show your current and prospective users that you value what you do and are there for the long haul. Without regular updates, your users can falsely think that your app is abandoned. Make sure the next time your potential users land on your Google Play and App Store pages, they can see you regularly fixing bugs, release new features, enhance UI and UX, updating the operating system, and replying to user reviews. 

  • Make your app an experience.

While apps are created with a particular goal in mind, no one said that the path towards that goal shouldn’t be a great experience. Two things matter here: features should be easy to use, and all of the pieces should fit the puzzle. Ensure your features work jointly and make a flawless path while supporting each other and your big idea.

All these steps can significantly improve user engagement rates. But it all starts with the idea that you create your app for your users and not for you. Make sure your users get the best experience possible that they want to come back to.