Upgrade to Pro — share decks privately, control downloads, hide ads and more …

App retention, engagement and everything between

App retention, engagement and everything between

Designing mobile apps that will achieve high retention and engagement is a key challenge for developers. Introducing several gamification elements and techniques in the design process can do a great deal to help reach that goal. This session will cover some gamification techniques that can be used in any app. Over the course of this session we will discuss several examples of actual apps and how they used gamification not only in order to boost retention and engagement, but also help with user acquisition. Looking at topics ranging from the evolution of users’ feelings, to social influence, to the unpredictability and variety of rewards, to the manipulation of user behaviour and scarcity, we will aim to provide an overview on how to design apps that engage users with the use of gamification.

Andreas Vourkos

April 24, 2017

More Decks by Andreas Vourkos

Other Decks in Technology


  1. The sense of ownership, the feeling that something is yours

    is well recognized in psychology. It can be used by publishers in several ways to engage and build a captivated audience.
  2. Give every user control over the whole process of adjusting

    the app experience Customization “Make each user feel at home” as seen on
  3. Give the ability to customize an app. That can alter

    the entire user experience and eventually the user’s feelings toward that app. Customization “Make each user feel at home” as seen on
  4. How easy is to tear yourself away from a product

    that knows you very well and move on to one that does not know you at all? Personalization “An environment that learns” as seen on
  5. Keeping track of a user’s actions (history) is a great

    way to create a sense of ownership. Personalization “Track & show user history” as seen on
  6. Allow users to take actions and save things of interest,

    progress, or status for later use. This creates the illusion of commitment; an illusion that will bring the user back to the app. Save for later “Invest in commitment” as seen on
  7. Save for later “Invest in commitment” Saving or adding preferences

    and alerts creates an anchor point of reference that will bring users back in the future. as seen on
  8. Track a user’s progress and give them the option to

    save it. This also helps create a feeling of commitment, and bring the user back to try and increase his status and achievements. Save for later “Track user’s progress” as seen on
  9. Allow a user to record his performance and activities and

    compare them with previous ones, as well as challenge those with new activities. Save for later “Challenge previous performance” as seen on
  10. When a user comes back to an app to find

    that the developer took into account one of his suggestions and made a change, that user is “hooked”. Feedback “Turn user into an active part of the process” as seen on
  11. The notion of “catching them all” prompts users to go

    after all the items in a collection. You have to catch ’em all! “Introduce a collection” as seen on
  12. Loyalty schemes can turn occasional users to loyal visitors. You

    have to catch ’em all! “Introduce a loyalty scheme” as seen on
  13. Humans are by nature social beings. They tend to group

    and socialize with others that share their interests. These common interests are how people meet each other, get introduced to new friends, compete with each other, show off their accomplishments, exchange knowledge and evolve themselves.
  14. If you see a funny gif that made you laugh,

    you are much more likely to click on a share button if one is easily accessible, and share the gif and the way it made you feel with your friends. Let them bring the others in! The promoters “Share a moment of joy” as seen on
  15. Allow users to easily share their results/performance in the activity

    they participated in, with the rest of the world. This will drive their motivation and gain them more support. Let them bring the others in! The promoters “Brag about it. Show off” as seen on
  16. Allows users to ask their friends for help. This can

    increase awareness of the app and drive users in. Let them bring the others in! The promoters “Ask for help” as seen on
  17. Encourage users to share an app or send an invite

    to their social networks in exchange for a reward. as seen on Let them bring the others in! The promoters “Get rewards for asking others to join”
  18. The introduction of a kind of referral scheme can help

    the virality of an app and also drive user acquisition. Let them bring the others in! The promoters “Referral schemes as a recruitment process” as seen on
  19. Offer users rewards if a certain goal is met, such

    as a specific number of people achieving a goal. Let them bring the others in! The promoters “Driving more and more users to achieve a specific goal" as seen on
  20. Allow users to react to each other’s content, like status

    updates, photos, links shared by friends, comments, and advertisements. Let them interact! The socializers “Allow reactions to other user’s content” as seen on
  21. Allow in-app chat or commenting on other users’ actions. This

    is a great way to initiate communication in a group. Let them interact! The socializers “Moving from passive to active communication” as seen on
  22. Allow users to ask other members of an app questions

    and receive responses. This can actually make an app really engaging. Let them interact! The socializers “Allow them to ask questions” as seen on
  23. Add leaderboards or other scoring schemes that monitor a user’s

    app performance within the community. This can actually build competitive feelings and make users more engaged in the usage of the app. Let them interact! The socializers “Let them compete with each other” as seen on
  24. Allow users to see how their friends actually perform. This

    can “bind” them to the app, making loyal users out of them. Compete or compare! The ambitious & curious “Let them see what their friends are doing” as seen on
  25. An app’s user base is a scale-down model of society.

    Show them what is currently trending in a specific app’s world. Compete or compare! The ambitious & curious “Show them what others are talking about” as seen on
  26. In behavioural economics, scarcity is a well known approach that

    drives engagement and desire in a product but can also lead to some ‘irrational’ decisions by users.
  27. Introduce components or features that are rare and difficult to

    acquire. This will make users eager to have them. “Only a few exist out there!” as seen on
  28. A scarcity effect can manipulate user desire and promote anticipation

    in potential app users. “You can’t have it!” as seen on
  29. Allow only a few people to reach/gain specific privileges like

    power moderation. Leveling up is a challenge and this can drive daily engagement and participation. “This power is only for the few that will earn it” as seen on
  30. Create offers on specific dates and within specific timeframes, in

    a first-come, first-served mode, until stock lasts. “First-come, first-served until it runs out!” as seen on
  31. Prompt users with a limited time offer to drive desired

    actions. “Limited time offer” as seen on
  32. You have to wait..Boosters can thrive when strategically placed in

    moments of silence. “Moments of silence - Boosters” as seen on
  33. Today’s deal not only triggers users to make purchases but

    also attracts new visitors daily; users that are looking to see what the Today’s deal is. as seen on “Today’s deal”
  34. A regular promotion can attract people’s attention and bring them

    to an app every day. “Free App Of The Day” as seen on
  35. Providing restricted access to content as part of the app’s

    design can sometimes be the key feature to an app’s success. “Limited time access” as seen on
  36. Heighten the feeling of missing out on a rare opportunity.

    This can keep users coming back to the app and motivate them to take action. “Driving decisions” as seen on
  37. Introduce scarcity by revealing the number of items left. This

    can push users into making a decision, prompted by the fear of missing out. “Only a few left at the time you checked” as seen on
  38. Introducing features with limitations can be also a secret to

    an app’s success. “Feature limitations” as seen on
  39. Introducing limitations in access to content may provide several monetization

    opportunities. “Access limitations” as seen on
  40. When people are allowed to be creative, they engage more

    with a product and once that creativity gets social it all becomes fun and highly addictive.
  41. as seen on When creativity is combined with social mechanisms,

    the fun begins. And fun brings in masses of users, turning them into loyal players in the process.
  42. as seen on Remove barriers and let users free. This

    will increase user participation and engagement on a platform.
  43. Ads exploit people’s feelings every day, in ways we cannot

    even imagine. Can we design apps and products around a story that people would follow?
  44. Groups that people belong to are an important source of

    pride and self-esteem. We look to enhance the status of the group we belong to in order to better our self-image. The better a group does, the better the user feels and the more likely he is to take further action to improve, protect or contribute to the group’s status. and Social Identities Open Source as seen on
  45. Communities created around a story that drives content and dedication

    can result to a loyal userbase. and Social Identities “The quest for the perfect elite group” as seen on
  46. When people feel they contribute to a noble cause, it’s

    fascinating to see how far they would be willing to go. “Share your opinion on things that matter” as seen on
  47. • It’s important for people. • I can really put

    my thoughts on products out there. • Answering surveys makes it seem like someone is listening and actually trying to improve things. • Answering surveys allows me to state my opinion in a way that matters. • I can show businesses real responses to help their potential. • I am contributing to better product development. I am an active participant in the process. • Giving an opinion can make a difference. Makes me feel involved. as seen on
  48. There is only one thing that can beat people wanting

    to share their opinion and that is a Charity. as seen on
  49. Show to the world that the community around your products

    is filled with people with values, driven by a passion to make a difference in the world. “The core values”
  50. Associate an app around an already established idea that has

    proven engagement and retention. as seen on
  51. Create a story that users will actually want to follow

    and be a part of. as seen on as seen on
  52. Focus on users’ feelings and how they evolve. Allow users

    to progress fast and complete achievements or feel special.
  53. When someone receives unexpected positive feedback on an action, such

    a reward, he will instinctively repeat the action. When an action results in a predictable outcome, it is no longer fascinating; it is just another action or tool, like all the other ones available in the surrounding environment.
  54. Research has shown that anticipation that occurs on the unpredictability

    and variety of rewards raises the levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter chemical that is responsible for transmitting signals between nerve cells in the brain and thus drive behaviour. A rise in dopamine levels is associated with pleasure, desire and habit and can be found in different rewarding behaviours that people usually engage in like eating, bragging and such.
  55. Anticipation of the unknown reward makes users wait with excitement

    until the date of the surprise arrives! The Egg Surprise “Waiting for the unknown”
  56. Give users the option to get a random reward. This

    will drive users to a specific section while they are trying to find out what the reward is. Random reward on the press of a button “Raise anticipation” as seen on
  57. Anticipation about what the next outcome will be, makes it

    difficult for users to stop. Maybe you win on the the next spin “You need to play one more time”
  58. Every new action creates a hype around a new and

    better reward, getting users obsessed. Who will be your next match? as seen on
  59. Looking for acknowledgment through social networks is something perceived as

    a reward or achievement by our brain and drives satisfaction! Social Media “The like effect”
  60. Even variability in the content can spark curiosity but also

    obsession in user participation. The respondent case “What’s next?” as seen on
  61. The chance of a daily reward, one not always available,

    can be used in order to drive users to get more chances and thus increase re-engagement to the app. Daily rewards “The Wheel of Fortune” as seen on
  62. as seen on Collecting a Mystery Box With a Mystery

    Box users are constantly looking to collect as many as they can, to explore the prizes inside them.
  63. Users can see the available items to be earned, but

    they spend their currency without knowing which one they will eventually get. It is common to deliver a really cool item at the first buy, in order to excite and engage the user. That will keep him eager to spend more credits on future items. Different options appear from time to time and so users are eager to spend and get a chance to try them out. Blind spending “Buying a random item” as seen on
  64. Users cannot know upfront what it is they are actually

    buying. The concept of constraining in-app purchase options and making them unpredictable may sound irrational, but it can be one of the reasons of an app’s success. Launch Boxes “Buying an unknown pack” as seen on