How businesses can drive mobile app engagement in 2021

Did you know that the combined app downloads from both Google Play Store and App store were 36.5 billion in 2020? The figure is rising as we speak and comment on how apps have become an extension of people’s mobile usage. Echoing this finding, another study has found that on an average adult spends more than 4 hours with mobile internet, with 88 percent of that time within apps. Going by these statistics, it is clear that mobile apps have become the mainstay of customers, which is why businesses today should invest or plan to build one for enhanced UX.

But is having an app enough? Not anymore. There are tens of thousands of apps launched in the market every day, catering to every whim of customers. Also, there is a rising tendency among customers to switch between apps. Against this scenario, how can businesses attract and retain customers in their app?

What businesses need to do to scale their app

An important way businesses can attract and retain customers in their app is by making them more engaging to capture their customers’ diminishing attention span.

To do that, they need to first identify certain metrics:

Do they have a functional mobile app that is user friendly? If yes, how many times has the app been downloaded?

How many users have they retained after the first download?

 What are their monthly active users (MAU) ?

How engaged are their users on the app?

Finding these numbers will help businesses figure out where their app is in terms of app landscape maturity and then chalk out a path to grow. Before we get into some of the ways businesses can drive their mobile app engagement, let’s briefly look into why apps are needed in the first place:

Importance of mobile apps for businesses

A business can leverage mobile apps in many ways. Key reasons are to


  • Communicate directly with customers, to send them offers, updates and reward them for their purchases
  • Provide better customer service. Customer service is directly correlated to customer reviews, customer satisfaction and retention rates.
  • Keep the brand in focus and hold the attention of customers. If a customer has a business’s app on their mobile device, the chances are that they will recall the brand more often.
  • Now let’s get into how businesses can make their app work for them.

Seven ways businesses can drive mobile app engagement for their brand in 2021

Make a good first impression

The first impression that an app makes on the user will determine whether they will continue using the app, or never use it again, especially in the case of eCommerce apps.

It is critical that customers’ onboarding process is streamlined to seamlessly sign up and complete the registration process easily without experiencing any hiccups. Businesses can use this stage to gather information about their users and give them clear instructions on using the app and setting them up. 

Provide customer-centric services

Businesses can build brand loyalty among their customers by engaging with them through personalized push notifications, and special offers, if enabled by the customers.

Another important way they can appeal to their customers by giving them timely and quick customer service. Customers should be able to reach the business effortlessly when they have any grievances. An exhaustive (Frequently asked questions) FAQ is a good start.

Make social sharing easy

Most people have a social media presence these days, and they love sharing their personal achievements on it. Businesses can leverage this to increase the visibility of their app. They can do this by making social media sharing easy on their app.

For instance, if the business has a gaming app and the user reaches a certain level, a button that allows them to share this achievement on their social media account, could be a game changer.

Offer rewards

Everyone loves discounts and offers. Rewards are one of the easiest ways to market a brand. Offering mobile-specific rewards is how businesses can drive engagement specifically towards their mobile app. They can offer rewards that are only available for users signed up on their mobile app. Businesses could also customize discount codes that can only be redeemed while shopping from the app and not any other platform.

Businesses should constantly try to develop innovative ways to appeal to the users on the app driving engagement through timely localized content.

Use push notifications

Push notifications are another easy way to drive engagement to a mobile app and a cleaver form of “in the moment” marketing. However, it is important to do this in a controlled way. If a business spams users with too many notifications or have irrelevant information on the notification, users will simply mute the app or delete it. So, businesses must gather relevant information about the user and customize the experience for them. They should only send them notifications that would be of real interest to them.

Advertise on media

A mobile app will only be successful if it constantly keeps attracting new users, can retain old users and reactivate dormant users. To do this, businesses need an effective app marketing strategy. One of the best ways is to use the media. The app should be available for download on all major app stores and search engines. Businesses can also use paid media channels for advertising their app on various platforms that their targeted customers frequently visit.

Use deep linking

Businesses can use deep linking on their app to direct their users to the exact page they desire. For deep linking, they should first pick out the most appropriate keywords and then select the exact screen on the app that they want to link the user to. This then allows deep linking in the app and is a time-saving feature that delivers precise results. Deep linking improves conversion rates and helps in re-engaging or retaining users.


These are some of the ways businesses can use apps to their advantage. However, they need to remember that the consumer landscape is constantly changing and becoming more customized with technology. So, they must constantly update their tried and tested approaches in order to drive more engagement in their mobile app and ultimately, to their brand.

Madhura Moulik, Co-Founder and Director, Skilfinity

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