6 Apps define “Active User” and how to stimulate engagement

You can learn a lot about an app by hearing its marketer explain what they consider to be an “Active User”. The performance metric crucially important for measuring the success of an app is not tied to an official industry standard or definition, so app marketers often create a custom definition of the term to reflect their app’s unique growth goals.

These definitions can be complex to create and may change over time, as they reflect the focus of the app which can evolve. Below, 6 leading mobile app marketers share their current definition of “Active User” and explain the key action they take to ensure new and existing users become and stay engaged.

How do you define “Active Users” and stimulate engagement?

Saulo Marti, 8fit

Saulo Marti, 8fit

“We take several types of engagement into account to make sure we have covered all the different possible engagement opportunities within our app. A person who uses the meal plan, for example, engaged in a much different way than a person working out, and so on.

So for us, we have a big list of relevant engagement events and anyone of them trigger the “active user” status. Currently, the best engagement strategy is creating a great product. It sounds “obvious” enough, but in reality, the best use of your energy is focusing on creating value for your users. We also focus on re-engagement campaigns through push and CRM. Ideally, you determine a happy path for your customers and continuously tweak and iterate it to drive the most engagement.

It’s not rocket science IMO – focus on creating value, create enough touchpoints/reminders and make sure you create conversational opportunities for your user base.” -Saulo Marti, VP of Marketing at 8fit.

Anna Yukhtenko, Hutch Games

Anna Yukhtenko, Hutch

At Hutch, a user is considered “indeed active” if he has completed at least one race (as Hutch is a mobile racing game company). Regarding reactivation – currently we are looking into different ways of re-engaging users, not only via re-targeting UA campaigns, but also by using notifications wisely.

The way I see it, all this re-targeting business is well and good, but it is even more important to build your game in such a way that you encourage users to come back by themselves. Think daily quests, daily rewards, live events – all these motivate users to come back to your game and re-engage on their own.”– Anna Yukhtenko, Games Analyst at Hutch.

Marc Pelejá, Glovo

Marc Pelejá, Glovo

“There are many ways to define active users. Our approach was to create an algorithm that populates current user data and events and process them in order to know when users are more or less likely to churn.

Additionally, we have 7 different types of users, depending on their order frequency and recency. We also calculate each user’s LTV score and we know the user’s preferred type of food and restaurant and add this as a custom attribute. Based on all the data we collect -user segment, churn probability, LTV and preferred type of food- we can show specific content and exclusive offers for the stores we know the user likes, that are also really close to their location, with different incentives depending on the user’s calculated value.

We use this strategy not only to reactivate campaigns but to prevent users from becoming inactive in the first place. It’s much more effective -and cheaper- to prevent users from becoming inactive than to reactivate them once they are already inactive. This personalized sending of useful and relevant promotions has been key to reactivating and reengaging our users.”-Marc Pelejà, CRM and Retargeting Manager at Glovo.

Ekaterina Shpadareva, Runtastic

Ekaterina Shpadareva, Runtastic

“Internally we have detailed segmentation in place, designed and implemented by our BI team. In our system, users are assigned a status based on how many times a week they were active, ranging from “idle” to being “highly active” during a certain timeframe. In order to fall into one of these “activity” categories, a user should have at least one session in the last 5 weeks.

When it comes to re-activating users in any other state than “active”, at the beginning we extensively rely on our CRM capabilities, because it’s cheaper than running re-engagement campaigns on the UA side. To avoid wasting money on users who may have returned to the app organically or with the help of push notifications, we start re-engagement campaigns on the UA side when the CRM journeys are almost over.

We create segments of users who stayed inactive despite all the CRM efforts (or who were not reached at all because they have push notifications disabled) and target them across channels with more appealing creatives (and with more specific CTAs) in order to bring them back to the app. We also often offer discounts and special offers via deeplinks in our ads, to non-engaged users, if regular ads still don’t look appealing enough to them.”- Ekaterina Shpadareva, User Acquisition and ASO Manager at Runtastic.

Michael Jessen, eCooltra

Michael Jessen, Social Point

“An active user from my point of view is a user that has installed the app and at least opened the application once or more. However, from a retention perspective, it would be a user that comes back to the application frequently.

The best strategy for re-engaging users can be re-targeting campaigns (paid) when your app underwent a big update or change, or re-awaken them by refreshing the icon (free). This way they see something new on their phone and you are able to grab their attention. Last but not least you can work with push notifications to let users know there is something new available (new feature, offer, etc.) inside your app to trigger them to get back to it.”-Michael Jessen, User Aquisition Specialist at Social Point.

Pau Quevado, Innogames

Pau Quevedo, Innogames

“Various stakeholders might define the classification of active users on Apps very differently.  CRM happens to be a channel with long experience in this regard and we sometimes base our assumptions on the definitions outlined by them.  Apart from CRM – which has very deep and complex re-engagement strategies – Performance Marketing has tested several channels and we’ve seen some positive outcomes in Social advertising for instance.

We’re also facing some technical difficulties -like attribution- that need workarounds, but we always find solutions for these issues.  We are looking forward to start re-engagement activities on Mobile Programmatic and will hopefully open this new channel.  We see great potential with Programmatic since you can plan your campaigns leveraging all the 1st party data needed in a very transparent way, this can greatly increase the impact of the re-engagement activities.”– Pau Quevedo, Senior Programmatic Advertising at Innogames.

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The must-read mobile app marketing resources for insight and inspiration

The capacity to learn is a gift, the ability to learn is a skill,  

the willingness to learn is a choice.”

In the same spirit as the very Instagramable quote above from Brian Herbert (the co-creator of the popular sci-fi Dune series), this article is all about how marketers can get inspired to make the choice to continue to learn every day. Today is the perfect day to find new mobile marketing resources, get some new books, join a fresh newsletter, and surround yourself with industry thought leaders to turn 2019 into your best year yet!