Congratulations app maker! You have successfully attained your first user from the app store. ‘Tis a day to rejoice! Though maker beware – bringing a user into your app is only half the ‘story’. If one is to aim their efforts at user acquisition only, they’ll find themselves with a high user turnover rate because the second part of the game is:
In-app User Engagement
Not to be neglected, user engagement encompasses the part of the app’s user experience that is aimed at keeping users enthralled and thus retaining them. For instance, a game at its core is an application that is made up of finite possibilities and experiences, but in order to not make this experience a repetitive one, games use live events to keep users coming back for more, for instance, Live Raids in Raid Shadow Legends or Special Events in Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes. Each app category uses its own quirks or gimmicks to keep users engaged and retained, it’s a simple construct: Would you be inclined to use an online shopping app that has sales on its products or one that keeps static prices across the board? E-commerce apps tend to use discounts as an in-app engagement mechanism to keep their customers close and their wallets closer still. Though, as aforementioned, just having discounts or ‘better’ app content is only half the game, the question is: How do you present it to your users and that too, in a way that keeps them coming back?
Talking about the presentation, Instagram learned that users attached too much prestige to their ‘gram posts, it was all about the glamour and gloss of the photo: Which filter to use? Which hashtags to add? What caption goes with the picture? What time should one post in order to gain maximum likes? (If you really want to know, Tuesday mid-day is the best time and Saturday is the worst day, you’re welcome!) This leads us to the question: How can an app known for its lavish and high maintenance nature make itself more accessible for casual users to upload more content and (hence) engage with the app?
In October 2013, Snapchat brought user engagement to a whole new level when it introduced Stories to the mix; it was simple, casual, and social. Instagram shamelessly picked up on this model, seeing it as the answer to its “too posh for the masses” problem and perfected it for its audience (and now Instagram Stories is nearly twice as popular than all of Snapchat together in terms of daily active users). In addition to Stories, Instagram also resorted to hiding users like counts in order to allow them to focus more on their content and less on their like counts (but that’s a conversation for another time).
Users were uploading and creating their content for others to see and react to on a much more frequent basis, since that they would disappear after 24 hours and not as permanent as the normal posts you would see on Instagram.
Click once to forward, respond and/or move between Stories, swipe sideways to move between story groups and swipe up to view a link within the story; the minimal effort required in viewing a myriad of visual content made them into the fool-proof answer to the complicated question of how to make content presentable in a way that boosts in-app engagement.
What is the Real Impact of Stories?
The shorter intervals between users uploading stories means they get to know each other and learn what the people they follow are all about. Instagram is a social app after all, and through Stories, we ‘engage’ with the lifestyles of the accounts we follow. App creators quickly started to catch up with the fact that Stories were leading to a surge in in-app user activity.
Having introduced Instagram Stories in 2016, Instagram saw a sharp increase in their MAU (Monthly Active User) count by 400M within just a year!
With some 31% of Instagram users posting them every month and 47% of users viewing them every week, Stories became a new trendsetter as the leading in-app engagement tool for apps. Business accounts on Instagram also began to notice this trend, which brings us to our next point of discussion.
Surely it Ain’t Just Social?
Businesses on Instagram learned that Stories are one of the best methods of promoting visual content within apps; they could promote their own content with context by presenting them in the same fashion and build their audiences and engagements.
Stories led to the birth of Carousel Ads, an interactive form of advertisement that combines images and videos in a more appealing way that blends right into the user experience of swiping through ads; it’s almost like you are swiping through the story of an account you would be following on Instagram. The more seamlessly integrated the ad – the more interactions users will have with it. Now with Stories really taking off as a bonafide in-app engagement technique, is it necessary for businesses to use Instagram, Snapchat, and/or Facebook just to put out their content?
Putting Stories to New Effect
Given Instagram and Snapchat’s success with Stories, one could argue that there are many new ways we can play with their functions. What if an app creator could use the same model to provide their own content to users to view with more ease in their own app?
Businesses are using Stories because it’s simply more easy and appealing for users to view. So much so, that an array of different Story-editing tools have arisen like VSCO or InShot just to make their content stand out. If this is a positive way of promoting engagement with your end-users, why not employ the same tactic within your app as well to show users your content? This is now possible with thanks to the geniuses behind Storyly.
Storyly? What’s That?
Storyly is a very simple tool that brings the familiar Stories format that we all have come to cherish to every app that wants to create and publish their very own Stories in their apps.
With the help of a one-step integration process, developers can create and edit spectacular content into Story form and also integrate Stories they’ve already posted on other social media, like Instagram or Snapchat for instance, into their own app.
I suppose you’d like to know more about how Storyly is useful for different kinds of apps?
How is Storyly Useful for Different App Verticals?
Thought you’d never ask! We’ve already gone over the correlation between stories and in-app engagement but let’s delve just a little deeper into specifics with some different kinds of apps so that you can get a better picture.
The bread and butter of almost every e-commerce app are its seasonal sales or ‘special days’ like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or festive/religious holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Eid, Ramazan, Hanukkah, Magha Puja (etc.). What better way to point your shoppers towards their festive shopping than a simple Story that can display what’s available and on sale (a Story group per category) and use the link feature to have them swipe up and head straight to the product page? It is fool-proof I tell you.
Traveling is a unique experience that we’d all like to personalize in our own ways. Visiting across the world, renting a scooter just for fun, booking a flight to see your beloved ones or maybe even booking an Airbnb close to a particular football stadium just to watch your favorite football club lose in a European cup final (totally not speaking from experience); they all generate the parts of your users’ ‘one-and-only-experience’ that will be the basis for their next adventures. Storyly can make the experience even more personalized and engaging with the help of different story groups that can highlight different possibilities for them.
Food & Delivery
It is general practice to have a list of restaurants for users to choose from to order from your app, but as a frequent user of food ordering apps I can attest to the fact that it is a headache to choose from a list every time. Think of the good it will do by having a story group dedicated to showing the hottest deals by different restaurants or perhaps the newcomers on your restaurant list. Perhaps you have a recipe app and you’ve found an amazing way to make apple crumble without having to use heaps of butter?! Use Storyly to inform your users and send them straight to the recipe page with the swipe of their fingers.
These are just some of the many different creative ways that app developers can make use of Stories within their apps to promote user engagement. If you’d like to learn more about how Storyly can suit your vertical, do check out the website for more information!
If you’d like to give Storyly a shot, it’s free for apps that have up to 25K Monthly Active Users, and for bigger apps there’s a free trial to test Storyly’s premium features. I’ll leave a link here in case you’d like to check out the integration page and then bring the joy of Stories to your app.