To grow your app business, think loyalty

Share this content:
Lars Albright, founder and CEO, SessionM
Lars Albright, founder and CEO, SessionM

When the mobile app industry talks about success, we tend to tell a story of downloads. The more downloads you have, the better your app is doing, right?

Not exactly. Downloads are crucial, of course, but they're only half the story. The full equation looks like this:

success = downloads + loyalty

To say it another way, downloads are a top-line number that should always go hand-in-hand with two others: active users and retention rate.

If you're going to spend time and money to acquire users, you can't have them come in the front door and go right out the back, especially as the cost to acquire new users gets higher and higher. You have to make sure your best users stay happy and engaged as long as possible.

So the real question becomes: What are you doing to find your power users and keep them loyal?

This is still a pretty new concept to mobile, but it's a tried and true formula for the rest of the world. For example:

American Express has its Membership Rewards program to give loyal users points for every dollar they spend; points they can redeem for concert tickets or home electronics.

Virgin America rewards its loyal customers through its Elevate program--not only for flying, but also for using the Virgin credit card, staying with partner hotels, and so on.

I'm sure you can think of other examples, because there are so many out there. In most major industries, the focus on power users is a given. That's why the average household belongs to 14+ loyalty programs.

And that's why the best way to turn your app into a thriving business is to invest in your most active users. Focus on keeping them happy and you'll not only grow their usage and loyalty to your brand, but you'll make them more likely to go out and recommend you to other potential power users.

You see this idea at work in apps like Shopkick and Square Wallet that attract and rewarding loyal power users.

And you see it as companies take the next logical step: helping power users attract other power users. One example: Open the Weather Channel app today and you get the chance to Tweet your visit immediately. Power users tend to be significantly more social than other people, and that's fueling a surge toward loyalty for 2013 in the mobile space.

So here are three top rules for mobile publishers:

  • When you talk downloads, be ready to talk retention rate, too.
  • Focus on the people who are already heavy users of your app. Not only will you keep them coming back, but you'll attract new users who are increasingly looking for that two-way value exchange from the apps they spend time with.
  • Your power users are your best evangelists. Find ways to help them share their enthusiasm with others, and reward them for doing so.

Success = downloads + loyalty. If you want success to last, make your most loyal users your top priority.

Lars Albright is co-founder and CEO of SessionM.

Loading links....

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

We recently were named B2B Magazine's Direct Marketing Agency of the Year, and with good reason: We make real, measureable, positive change happen for our clients. A full-service agency founded in 1974, Bader Rutter expertly helps you get the right message to the right audience at the right time through the right channels. As we engage our clients' audiences along their journey, direct marketing (email, direct mail, phone, SMS) and behavioral marketing (SEM, retargeting, contextual) channels deliver information relevant to the needs of each stage. We are experts at implementing and leveraging marketing technologies such as CRM and marketing automation in order to synchronize sales and marketing communications. Our team of architects and activators plan, execute, measure and adjust in real time to ensure the strategy is working as needed and change things if it's not.

Find out more here »

DMN's Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here