Increase Your Mobile App Loyalists

by Michael Lavoie

Over the past three months we’ve been exploring the stages of the mobile app lifecycle that every app marketer guides their customers through. We’ve highlighted the interdependency of the stages and how small changes in one stage can compound improvements in app engagement and monetization down the line.
This month we’re exploring the Loyalty phase of the lifecycle. Though Loyalty occurs last in the cycle, it’s really the beginning of a deeper and more profitable relationship with customers. That’s because Loyalty starts a recurring cycle of its own with Engagement.

Unlike the previous stages, which have specific definitions, objectives and metrics to measure progress, the loyalty stage will vary more widely based on the type of app your brand offers. Mobile App Loyalty is often confused with transactional loyalty programs like those that exist in retail, travel & hospitality or financial services.  While these programs likely contribute to mobile app loyalty, they don’t in and of themselves create mobile app loyalists.

Then what is the best way to define mobile app loyalty? The most simple way of describing a customer in this stage is that their first instinct for interacting with your brand is to access your mobile app. Understanding why customers feel this way about your app is a crucial step in cultivating more mobile app loyalists. 

App loyalists interact with your brand primarily (or exclusively) through the mobile app. App layout, ease of use, utility to the customer and features are major factors. For example, The Wall Street Journal App provides a much more consistent and streamlined experience than consuming their content through other channels, and the SiriusXM app which offers a more intuitive UI with more functionality than accessing through my vehicle. However, for most people, becoming a loyalist requires more than that. Loyalists expect to feel that the brand knows them and that their app experiences are individualized to their history and relationship with the brand. For them, Interacting with the brand on the app must always feel intuitive, personal and contextual.

Curating this level of personal and individualized experiences requires access to organized data and leveraging that data in a decision framework leading to elevated mobile app experiences. 

That framework depends on defining and measuring your mobile app loyalists according to relevant criteria. We suggest the following metrics:

You can measure frequency and depth of app engagement by looking at the number of sessions (frequency) and number of interactions (depth) in the app. Typically your mobile app loyalists will stand out at the top end of your engaged customers. You can use these engagement levels to measure size and movement of your loyalists over time.

Mobile app loyalists will represent your highest Lifetime Value, NPS, consumption, advocacy and (often) tenure metrics. Understanding what these monetary metrics mean for your brand and mobile app is important for assessing the impact of loyalists as a segment and to identify new loyalists as they emerge.

At Airship, we have the benefit and pleasure of participating in the innovative and strategic mobile app initiatives of our customers every day. If you have an interest in learning more about how we can help your brand maximize your mobile app loyalists please, let us know. We are eager to help wherever we can.