Appsee.com was an enterprise that said its goal was to help “companies deliver the best possible customer and user experience in their mobile apps.” The firm indicated that its offer was driven by the realization that many people were spending more time on their mobile devices, making it crucial for organizations to deliver a great user experience to their customers (Source).
Appsee would later be acquired by ServiceNow, a company that delivers technology to transform the “old, manual ways of working into modern digital workflows.” About a year after the acquisition, Appsee.com went offline.
What could have happened to the company that once claimed it was “used by hundreds of companies that leverage [its] SaaS platform to optimize their mobile apps?” (Source) We follow the history of the company and look at the services it provided. The article ends by looking at how you can optimize user engagement in your app.
The History of Appsee.com
Appsee was established in Tel Aviv, Israel, by Yoni Douek and Zahi Boussiba in 2012. Borussia was the company’s CEO. He holds degrees in Business Administration and Computer Science. He also has previous experience in the Israel Defense Force as a Research and Development Manager (Source). Douek became the CTO at Appsee. He holds a BSc degree in Neuroscience from Tel Aviv University and an MSc in Molecular Computing from Weizmann Institute (Source).
Assisting App Designers Improve User Experience
Appsee claimed that its customers included companies from several sectors, including gaming, news, travel, finance, and real estate (Source). But what specific services did the company deliver?
User Recordings: After integrating the Appsee SDK (software development kit) into their app, a developer could record user behavior. This made it possible to understand how the users used the app, the challenges they were meeting, and how such problems could be fixed.
Touch Heatmaps: Was a feature that recorded “all touch gestures (taps, swipes, pinches) in each [of an] app’s screens, and aggregated them into a visual touch heatmap.” This made it possible to determine which parts of the app users were focusing on. Such knowledge helps determine which parts of the screen should be enhanced, and which ones could be removed (Source).
Real-Time In-App Analytics: Made it possible for an app publisher to know where users spent most of their time while using the app and the rate at which users quit each screen. Publishers could also determine how users moved from screen to screen. Screens with a confusing user interface (UI) were identified (Source).
Conversion Funnels: Made it possible for app publishers to configure a custom conversion funnel by inputting critical processes within their apps. This made it possible to track and measure the conversion rate, and know the reasons behind the failure or success of the conversion funnel (Source).
Crash Recordings: Provided information regarding the exact sequence leading to a crash while a user was on the app. It helped developers immediately detect where the bug is located by knowing the page or buttons tapped before the crash (Source).
ServiceNow Acquires Appsee Intellectual Property
On May 13, 2019, ServiceNow announced that it had acquired Appsee’s intellectual property. Reporting about the acquisition, on the tech news website Techcrunch.com, Ron Miller refers to “a carefully framed deal.” Miller emphasizes that ServiceNow did not acquire Appsee customers (Source). The deal’s financial terms were not made public.
Why did ServiceNow want Appsee’s intellectual property? Senior Director of Platform Product Management at ServiceNow, Boaz Hertz, had the answer: “With Appsee, ServiceNow will be able to optimize its own mobile apps and desktop web experiences to bring consumer-grade mobile experiences to our customers.” He continues, “Over time, customers using the Now Platform will be able to analyze better how their end users are using the Now Platform to make their work simpler and easier” (Source).
What Then Happened to Appsee.com
As part of the acquisition deal, Appsee co-founders and its research and development team were expected to join ServiceNow. Appsee was to wind down its business in 12 months (Source).
By mid-November 2019, a visit to Appsee.com was being greeted by the message, “AppSee’s In-App Mobile Analytics Platform has been acquired by ServiceNow” (Source). The website disappeared from the Internet in the first half of 2020. ServiceNow has not indicated what it did with the website.
How to Optimize User Engagement on Your Mobile App
Appsee.com and its tools that helped organizations build a better experience may be gone, but what can you do to optimize user engagement in your mobile app? We have some suggestions:
Understand User Needs
Without knowing the target users and what they are looking for, it will be a challenge to determine what would make them engaged. When you know your users, it becomes easier to determine when something needs to be updated based on their changing needs and behaviors. Updates should not just be regular; they should be based on an analysis of customer satisfaction metrics.
A great user experience (UX) is also a crucial factor in in-app engagements. An enjoyable and straightforward UX will go a long way in retaining users. This is especially the case when the digital customer experience leaves users feeling that navigating through your app is simple and straightforward.
Focus on the App Store Listing
If users don’t know about your app, there is no need to even talk about engagement. Thus, it is safe to say that app listing optimization is a critical step in user engagements. The app listing is the first interaction a user will have with your app.
To optimize your app listing, developers must provide information and screenshots on the benefits of the app. Instead of advertising the sophisticated features of an app, show the user how the app will solve their problems. Also include positive customer feedback on the listing to increase credibility.
Make the Onboarding Easy
You’ve done an excellent job optimizing your app store listing, and the user has downloaded and installed your app. Now, they have launched the app for the first time to start the onboarding process. If the account creation or sign-up process is long and stressful, users may abandon it and look for an alternative. If this happens, engagement is dead in the water.
To optimize engagement in the onboarding process, developers should provide different sign-up options with social login (Facebook, Google, and Twitter). This reduces the steps in the account creation stage. Developers can also withhold the account creation aspect to much later after the user has explored the app’s benefits; this is called a login-free experience.
Using onboarding to educate users on the benefits and functionality of the app is also an excellent onboarding tactic. It’s vital to ensure that this does not become a tutorial on how to use the app. A tutorial may be overwhelming and time-consuming. Users could be given an option to take a tour if they want. Otherwise, the app can be designed so that tips are introduced at regular intervals, depending on how the user is interacting with your app. However, it’s crucial to ensure that users are clear about how to use your app.
Request for Permission
Asking users for permission before accessing data or part of their phone hardware fosters trust from users, and improves user engagement over time. Accessing users’ data, such as GPS coordinates, contact lists, the camera, and a microphone without permission, may scare them off. Scared users will most likely delete your app.
Speed is key for mobile app users. No-one likes to wait long for an app to load unless they have no choice. A page speed report by the “drag-and-drop builder that lets you create and publish your own landing pages,” Unbounce, indicates that 70% of consumers say that speed influences their decision to take action, such as buying. Slow speeds will also likely discourage users from using the app again.
Some apps’ loading time cannot be reduced due to the type of tasks they perform. In such unavoidable circumstances, animations and attractive graphics can be used to keep users engaged.
Use Push Notifications Sparingly
Apps that don’t use push notifications can be easily forgotten and later deleted if their purpose is not vital to a user. However, if overused, push notifications will irritate the user. An irritated user is likely to delete your app.
According to a report by the mobile engagement platform, Localytics, users are more likely to return for 11 or more sessions if they enjoy personalized brand interaction. Using push notifications to send relevant, thoughtful, and strategic information to users based on their location, interests, and pattern of app usage can lead to more app time and engagement.
Besides sending content or personalized push notifications, targeted push notifications, such as those based on location, can be used by developers to improve response rate. Such notifications provide information based on the user’s location and send them timely reminders.
Use In-app Messages
In-app messages are messages that deliver value to the user but don’t need them to take immediate action. These messages could be about payment methods that are about to expire, version upgrades, upcoming specials, exciting news, and warnings/notifications about app issues.
The key to effective use of the in-app message is to segment users so that only users who need specific information receive it. When users know that an app delivers valuable information at regular intervals, they are likely to keep checking to ensure that they do not miss anything important.
Ask For Feedback
A simple way to improve app engagement is by asking for feedback. Making it easy for users to contact you via the app will reduce users’ chances of giving a negative review on the Appstore when they could have easily passed the message across to you directly. Live Chat customer service in the app is an excellent example of how you can communicate with users and get the necessary feedback.
Creating two-way communication builds a relationship between the user and the app owner. However, when you create a communication channel in the app, it will be vital to answering every customer question. Also, it is crucial to reply to all comments, positive and negative.
Responsiveness to users’ complaints and inquiries will boost engagement, retention, positive reviews, and long-term brand loyalty. This kind of relationship makes users feel valued and appreciated by the brand. They know that you don’t see them as just a source of revenue.
App publishers can be more direct in their search for feedback by carrying out surveys (in-app or third party). This can reveal user trends. It provides vital information about features that can be created or improved based on the user complaints or suggestions in the survey.
Asking for feedback is essential, but it is vital to act on the feedback. If not, users may think they are wasting their time when providing feedback.
Having loyalty programs in the app could help increase engagement and make users feel appreciated by the brand. Referrals can also be used to incentivize app use. Offering users discounts or vouchers/coupons for referring your app to others is likely to increase engagement.
The gamification of the app could also keep users coming back and staying on your app for longer. Consider time-limited rewards/discounts, task completion points/badges/rewards, and creating a leaderboard or achievement board as methods of increasing user engagement.
As was shown by the Appsee service, developers need to know what is going on in their apps. What features or pages have a high bounce rate? Where do most users drop off and quit the app? How long does it take for actions to be carried out by the app once a user clicks a button?
To know these things, developers need to track several metrics: download numbers, lifetime value (LTV), app stickiness, churn rate, retention, conversion, monthly and daily active app users, average app time, and session length. The trick is to keep your finger on the pulse of your app.