User Engagement Via Content During the COVID-19 Pandemic

It is obvious, we are going through unprecedented times. Times that we will be discussing the impacts from various dimensions including but not limited to, economical, political, social and psychological for decades. The way we live our lives and interact with each other will also change drastically once this period is over. A new era will certainly begin. 

Among all the struggles, challenges and consequences that we are facing, there are also some silver linings to this period from the lens of the mobile economy. Mobile being “mobile” will certainly thrive during a time like this. The “cliche” saying “this year will be the year of mobile” that we see everywhere during the past couple of years will become the motto and reality of the times of the pandemic for sure. Where #stayathome and #socialdistance are must-haves, people turn into their mobile devices more and more to shop, socialize, catch up with news, play and work remotely. In other words, people start to “live” on mobile. Surely that we’ve been seeing, and we shall continue to see the demise of some previously blossoming categories such as ride-sharing or some mainstream categories such as travel, events, sports. Yet, we most certainly see the exponential growth of others, such as gaming, online education, health & fitness, online finance, streaming, delivery, food & drink, online shopping, etc. The time users are spending on mobile is skyrocketing as a result of staying indoors. This corresponds to the consumer spend on mobile as well, where in Q1 2020, we have seen the highest level of consumer spend in all times.

Image Source: Instagram. The Instagram hashtag – #stayathome has had over 9 million posts. This illustrates how content and user engagement go hand-in-hand.

The question that may reside in the minds of the app owners of these rising categories; how to get and keep these users in your app and get the lion’s share from that time spent? By bringing them the relevant content, in the best possible way. Why, content? To answer this, we should take into consideration the state of mind that we are all in. Such ambiguity in the future, with no unforeseen end and back to normal, creates a definite distress on everyone. Therefore, people are actually turning into mobile to have a certain level of interaction, relief and distraction. Hence comes in the content that would enable them with such possibilities. In light of this, brands continue to produce and convey content through social media, keeping the two-way communication open with their consumers. Mobile apps are no different. 

Here comes another question to mind: How can apps convey their content to their users and make them spend more time in their apps? This is where Storyly comes into picture, with its unique proposition. In a nutshell, Storyly enables app owners to share their content in their apps via bringing the very well known story format into their apps. At a time like this, where relevant content becomes the key to user engagement, Storyly can come to the rescue quite easily and effectively. 

A great example of this that we can give is the latest experience we had with Tarif Küpü during the month of March. It is a popular recipe app from the food & drink category in Turkey that serves its users with various food, pastry, and dessert recipes. It is also an early adopter of Storyly, using the platform since the beginning of 2020. The pandemic broke in Turkey from early March onwards and the “stay at home” directive immediately followed. As a nation with an endlessly rich cuisine, cooking and baking at home and sharing this from social media became the hot trend across the country. Seeing and experiencing this trend from the first hand, Tarif Küpü team acted immediately and enriched its story content within the month of March, by creating more recipes to its users which they posted through stories. 

User Engagement Through Content During the COVID-19 Pandemic
This image, taken from Tarif Küpü’s user engagement campaigns carried out via stories. The app promoted dynamic recipe-based content to boost their user engagement goals.

To be exact, compared to January & February, the app has tripled the number of stories posted during March. The sheer simplicity and ease of consumption of the content through stories makes it definitely more appealing for the users. In addition to that, the timing for such an influx was totally relevant, the consumers were hungry and seeking for relevant and different recipes. As a result, they have embraced this influx of content fully: While the number of stories have tripled, the average impression per story remained the same, meaning users have consumed this increased number of story content quite happily and the time they have spent on stories have increased dramatically. This resulted with them spending more time navigating in the app as well. The tripled impression and click figures meant that through swipe-ups, the users also spent more and more time in the other pages within the app. This, in-turn contributed positively to the monetization of the app’s ad placements. More users, going through more pages meant that more ads were being shown to these users in these pages. Overall, via the use of Storyly, as the unique in-app or user engagement booster, Tarif Küpü brought its content together with its users and benefited from the most familiar format to them in mobile; stories, and across the country happy bakers and cooks proudly shared (and enjoyed!) the end-result of these recipes. 

This was just a mere example of how relevant content can boost the in-app or user engagement for apps that are currently on the rising trend. From a more philanthropic lens, in such times of ambiguity, relevant content certainly gets people to go through the day, enjoy and distract themselves from the distress that the pandemic brings. The very same content also makes it possible for the app owners to get their users to spend more time in their apps, interacting with their content. The contribution this would make to the LTV of their users is apparent. 

“Content is king” is another “cliche” that turns into a motto and reality during the times of the pandemic. It is certain that app owners need to invest more time to think about how to convey their content more creatively and effectively to their users to keep them engaged. 


If you’d like to know more about Storyly, and how in-app stories can boost user engagement, find out more here.

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