MarketingMobile MarketingOnboardingPersonalized Experiences

Don’t Sweat It: Using First Impressions to Win Over Your Mobile Users

This is part of our “How to Court Your Mobile Users” series with Amplitude and Prolific Interactive.

We’ve all been there before. You’re on a first date or at a job interview, ready to be put through the wringer, and you’re nervous. You have about seven seconds (or, according to some sources, as little as 1/10 of a second) to win them over, but how do you do it?

For these situations, conventional dating wisdom is great; be authentic, make eye contact, have a firm handshake, don’t be super weird. But how does this relate to courting mobile users? It’s not as if you can shake every single user’s hand and ask them about their day. The knowledge about first impressions that’s been instilled in us since day one is surprisingly relatable to the mobile growth sphere.

Mobile First Impressions

Don’t Come On Too Strong

You don’t want to be that guy or girl who just talks on and on and on about him or herself. Courting should involve a two-way conversation, and not turn into a 15-minute monologue about all of your good qualities and how perfect you are. Talk about information overload!

Take Nandhita Kumar of Prolific Interactive’s advice, “The goal of a first date is just to optimize for a second date. You’re not necessarily convincing someone to marry you right there.”

A lot of the time, companies try to wow their users with intricate, interactive onboarding processes. It’s important to remember, however, that people are independent and curious beings by nature. Drawing out your process with unnecessary information during onboarding can hurt your app by delaying the chance for your users to actually use and explore it. Choosing a one-size-fits-all approach just doesn’t work for every individual.

If you force every single one of your users to go through the same four different onboarding screens, you may lose some of the initial excitement and interest that made him or her download your app in the first place. The user may not  remember the information you’ve provided, because they just want to swipe as fast as possible to get to the app’s content.

Instead, give your users an opportunity to explore the app for themselves. Allow them the chance to complete non-essential onboarding steps after they watch that hot new video or check out that impossibly cool playlist. The best way some users to learn about your app is to use it for themselves.

Lengthy onboarding processes just end up wasting your user’s time while offering very little in return, so leave the dotting of i’s and crossing the t’s until a little later, after you’ve already enticed them with content.

Make Them Comfortable Via Deep Linking

Congrats! You’ve learned how to be a bit more aloof and not scare your mobile users (or your date) away in the first five minutes. But what else can you do? Personalize your app experience— just like you would a date. After all, if your date has mentioned that he or she hates country music, maybe don’t tell the hilarious (to you) story about how you and your best friend listened to nothing but Miranda Lambert for a 10-hour road trip.

So how can you personalize the experience and make each user feel special? There are a couple ways. Branch’s Mada Seghete draws a great analogy — who are you more likely to go on a date with, some random stranger you meet at a bar or a friend of a friend? Most people are likely to say someone that they are at least tangentially acquainted with, and who they naturally trust more than a complete stranger — there’s less risk of going on a date with someone who spends the entire time talking about his six cats (unless you’re into that).

For example, say that you give your users the ability to share your app with friends. Potential users are much more likely to sign up for your app if you offer them a personalized welcome screen and experience. In fact, Gogobot saw a 78% increase in conversions to signups from simply adding the referring friend’s photograph to the new user’s onboarding screen and the specific piece of information the friend was trying to share. It’s the app’s way of saying, “This person is way cool and totally won’t leave you with the whole check and ask you to drive them to a meeting with their parole officer.”

Personalizing your users’ experiences can also streamline the whole process. Remember that whole conversation about unnecessary onboarding steps? Deep linking can help with that. If a user links their friend to a specific piece of content, do you really want to force the new user to go through a whole standardized onboarding process and them make them search for the content again? That’s a surefire way to get him or her to close the app immediately. Instead, deep link through install by taking them to the correct app store and the exact content that had been shared, without wasting their time.

Show Them That You’re Cool… Immediately

No one wants to go on a date with a person who has the personality of a wall. You have to show your potential date that you’re cool and fun, right? Well, apps are the same way. Amplitude’s Wendy Vang says that it is of the utmost importance that you show your app’s value immediately: “Help them feel that there’s some sort of connection with your app or that they see some sort of value.”

Keep in mind that you don’t need to convince your users to marry you right away — you just need a second date. Show your users that you are more than just a pretty interface by offering them a service that is immediately useful to them. You need to make sure that they don’t ghost you after the first date and that it’s worthwhile to hang out with your app again. Remember, your user needs to find enough value in your app in both the short term and the long term, and that the user’s perceived value isn’t always the exact intended use of the app. Keep them coming back for more.

Alright, so you’ve mastered first impressions but still want to learn more? Be sure to check out the rest of the posts in the “How to Court Your Mobile Users” series:

And if you’re still not satisfied, head on over to watch the complete webinar.

Branch is a mobile linking platform providing unified mobile experiences and measurement for more than 27,000 mobile apps, including Airbnb, Slack, Reddit, Tinder and Amazon. Branch’s free linking platform can help you grow your mobile app through features like deep linking, sharing, referrals, mobile banners and interstitials, custom app onboarding, and unified attribution across platforms and channels. Learn more about Branch.