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Last update: May 2020

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Top 5 Tips to Re-Engage and Beat Customer Churn

Customer churn is a daily struggle for mobile apps, particularly mobile games. Churn – the term for when a once-loyal customer lapses and stops using the app – is most likely to occur during the first week after download. However, it can happen after any length of time. Rate of churn and when it occurs is a key indicator of what your app is or isn’t doing right. Acquiring new users – in particular paying users – is expensive, averaging around $100 per user. And every user lost is a lifetime of revenue lost. It’s estimated that businesses lose $1.6 trillion per year to customer churn! As such, it’s important to identify what’s causing it.

What Causes Customer Churn?

Essentially, churn occurs when a user is dissatisfied with a product or service. Perhaps they find another brand they prefer, or they decide they’re happier without the product altogether. When analyzing data for users who churn, it’s crucial to look the entire lifespan of the user – not just the data available immediately before churn.

For example, if your mobile game introduces a new in-game currency, and in the following week a quarter of your users churn, don’t immediately assume it’s because of the new currency. There may be other factors at work. Do those users have something else in common? Were they sporadic users to begin with? Did they complete a one-off action (i.e. make a purchase) and have no further need for the app? They may have been on the path to churn either way. It’s important to get the full picture.

Reactivating Users With Push Notifications

Fortunately, it’s easier to reactivate churned users than acquire new ones. Reactivation uses the same tactics as engagement for the most part. And for the most part, a user won’t uninstall your app – they’ll simply fade away. So you’ll still be able to contact them via push notification. But keep in mind – this user lapsed for a reason. They were likely dissatisfied with something, so to get them back you’ll have to make it worth their while.

1. Entice Them With New Content

It’s possible your customer churned because they got bored. If so, the cheapest and best way to lure them back is to offer new, exciting content. Perhaps let them in on a new level in your mobile game, or send them a deep link to a shelf of new cosmetics they can purchase in the app store. Make them aware of new puzzles to beat, new species of pets they can collect, or new adversaries they can battle. Direct them to newly released music or videos available for streaming.

2. Target Users At Risk For Churn

The best defense is a good offensive. Identify who is most likely to churn, and cut them off before they do it with great service and special offers. With tracking tools, you can analyze user data to easily gauge who is likely to drop off – and what is the best incentive to win them back again.

For example, if your app sells tickets to festivals and other events, target an at-risk user with a list of the top 5 summer events that speaks to their interests and behaviors. If they have seen all the Marvel movies for the past 5 years, as well as purchased X-Men figurines, lure them back in with a list of comics conventions in their area that you offer tickets for.

One final tip! Make sure you identify first who your most valuable customers are. 80% of a company’s revenue generally comes from 20% of their existing customers. So if your campaign for re-engaging a lapsed customer is likely to cost you more than that customer was bringing in the first place, it might be best just to let them go.

3. Educate Your Customer

Sometimes there may be nothing wrong with your app. Your churn problem may arise from the fact that your user just isn’t aware of all the benefits your app offers. This is easily remedied, by offering your user free webinars, tutorials, product demos, or guided walk-throughs of your app’s features. Send them invitations via push to learn more about how your app can benefit them, and direct them to the guided content via deep links.

Your app could have the best features, most unique content, and most exciting gameplay. But it will all go to waste if nobody knows it’s there, or how to access it. So make sure you provide your users with the proper training to make the most of your mobile app.

4. Ask for User Feedback

This is easy when it comes to mobile games, which usually have active forums and social media accounts, and two-way communication with its community. However, other mobile apps will have to be more proactive in reaching out to users for feedback. Send users notifications directing them to an in-app portal or feedback form. Ask them what you’re doing right, and where you should improve.

The majority of dissatisfied users will simply disappear rather than voice their complaints. However, when given the opportunity to do so, a few of them will be give you valuable, first-hand data on how to improve your app experience. Not only will you receive insights on how to improve, but the users will feel like they have had a valuable role in the app’s development, which will make them more emotionally invested and stick around.

5. When All Else Fails, Offer a Discount

Discounts should be a last-ditch attempt at winning back a user. When all else fails. It’s the strategy that has the best results, because most people will be willing to give you another chance if you bribe them back with freebies. However, this will come at a cost to you. So again, you have to ask yourself: is the revenue I’m earning back from the customer worth the money I’m putting into it?

Popular incentives that usually work to bring back lapsed users include:

  • promotions and discount codes
  • offers to pause their subscription fee
  • bundled services
  • rewards, prizes, or free gifts

For a mobile app – and especially for mobile games – customer churn is a sad inevitability. However, there are ways to cut your losses by upping your level of mobile engagement with at-risk users. OpenBack offers a highly versatile hybrid mobile engagement platform, with 40+ data signals that let you send hyper-personalized push notifications. Get in touch with one of our experts to learn more about how you can optimize your push campaign to boost engagement with your app and beat churn!

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