Apr 23, 2015
When it comes to users downloading and using your mobile app, not every person is the same.
Some might have come to your app looking for a specific piece of content, such as a video. Others might have been invited by their best friend through a referral. And some might have seen a promo on a blog that piqued their interest.
Since every user is unique, you shouldn’t give them all the same app install experience. Instead, you can personalize the user’s first experience based on where they came from or what you know about them by using the tips below.
Back when we were building Kindred Prints, we realized that there was a problem with the app stores: they blocked the context about a new user when he or she installed, so every user that came into our app was taken through the same flow. In an ideal world, we wanted every user to have a personalized install based on their context before downloading Kindred, and that’s why we built Branch. Users who came from a referral link would see a personalized welcome message from their friend. Users who installed because a family member shared a photobook in the app would get taken immediately to that photobook preview – not the generic welcome screen – so they could enjoy the photos right away.
Personalizing the first-time experience is a small gesture that will resonate with your users. Understanding the context that led users to download your app and bringing users to that content not only improves the overall experience, but also increases conversions, engages users more, and boosts revenue.
Here’s what we learned from our own app experiences and the tools we’ve built to help other apps implement personalized app installs.
Using Branch.io to pass data through install: Branch enables you to take the context of the user (where they came from, what they clicked on, what they were doing when they installed your app) and pass that into the app through install so you can personalize the first-time experience for them based on what they were hoping to see. In fact, you can personalize the first-time experience with ANYTHING you want. Here are two of the most common ways to use personalized onboarding for your new app users.
Deeplink to content through install using a shared link, ad, or mobile website: You can deliver a personalized onboarding experience for new users the first time they open your app instead of giving them the generic welcome experience other apps show everyone. For example, if a new user clicked on a link from mobile web to continue booking their Uber ride in the app, they should get taken to where they left off – addresses already entered and ready to book. If you know the user came from a specific spot, you can also add a personal welcome message for them. Or if a user clicks on a link to listen to a certain radio station in the iHeartRadio app, they want to hear that radio station first when they open up – they don’t want to have to search for it on their own among the hundreds of thousands of radio stations in the app.
Personalized Referrals and frictionless onboarding without the need for referral codes: You can forget about referral codes and building your whole referral system in-house. Branch passes referral information through the install of the new user so they can enjoy a frictionless onboarding experience without ever needing to worry about entering promo codes. Most apps still require new users to copy and paste a referral code into the settings somewhere – a step that leads to massive dropoff in the referral conversions and a bad user experience. But Branch automatically applies the referral code for whatever action you’d like, so the user never needs to worry about copying and pasting a referral code into some hard-to-find box in the settings menu. It automatically happens without the user doing anything but download. We also help customize the first-time experience so users get a personalized welcome when they open up, letting them know the referral has been applied and showing them a personal welcome from their friend.
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