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Monday, December 19, 2016

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Important best practices to improve app engagement

Posted: 19 Dec 2016 02:08 PM PST

Posted by Niko Schröer, Business Development, Google Play

Driving installs is important to growing a user base, but it's not much use if your app sits on users' devices and is rarely opened. In a competitive app landscape, it's increasingly important to engage and retain users over the long term to build a successful business. Users who are using your app more will have a higher lifetime value and be more likely to share your app. Watch my Playtime session below to hear about the tools and features other developers are using to increase app engagement. You can also read the summary of my main tips below.

1. Build a high quality app to engage Android users

Building a high quality app is the foundation of a great user experience on Android. The better your app's user experience is, the more engaged your users will be. Optimizing for material design, for example, can significantly improve user engagement as well as building for Android Wear, Auto or TV where it makes sense based on your value proposition.

To achieve high quality, we recommend you to check out the latest Android features, tips, and best practices in our Playbook for Developers.

The developer of the golf app, Hole19, tailored their app's user experience thoughtfully for Android Wear and, as a result, saw a 40% increase in user engagement compared to non-Wear users. Watch a video about Hole19's success.

2. Make your users feel at home

Personalising your app experience to make users feel at home is a good way to start a long lasting relationship. Onboarding new users is a crucial step in this process. Onboarding should be fast and seamless and ask for minimal user input - after all users want to start using your app as quickly as possible. Furthermore, the onboarding should be a core part of the overall product experience. Use images and wording that's true to your brand and only ask for user input when it's actually needed, to reduce friction and avoid losing users.

Freeletics, a fitness app, created an engaging user onboarding flow in which they tailored imagery and text to male and female users respectively. They also moved the registration process to a later stage in the funnel to reduce friction. The improved onboarding flow increased user activity by 58% within the first 7 days. They also implemented Google Smart Lock to seamlessly sign-in returning users.

3. Optimize feature releases as a way to increase user engagement

Introducing new features is essential to staying ahead of competition and relevant to your users to ensure they keep coming back to your app. To make new feature launches successful drivers for user engagement, follow these simple steps:

  • Define a clear objective for each release to measure your impact, e.g. increase number of users who edit a photo by at least 10%.
  • Use beta testing to gather user feedback and iterate a feature before it's rolled out to all of your users.
  • Enable the pre-launch report in the Play developer console to spot potential flaws and ensure technical stability in your alpha and beta apps.
  • Guide users to each new feature as if it is a light onboarding experience. Visually highlight what's new and provide a short explanation why users should care.
  • Measure performance with analytics to see if the new feature drives engagement (that you've defined as your objective).

4. Use notifications wisely

Push notifications are a popular engagement tool and rightfully so. However, there is a fine line between driving engagement and annoying users (who might then uninstall your app). Follow these guidelines to ensure your notifications are on the right side of the line:

  • Be relevant and only send messages that matter to the user in context. Be creative and true to your brand, speak your users language and use an authentic tone.
  • Make notifications actionable for your users and don't forget to deep link to content where applicable to save your users time.
  • Remember that not all your users are equal so personalize your message to different user cohorts with Firebase Notifications.
  • Consider timeliness of your messages to get users the right notification at the right time and with the right frequency. For example, it might be better to send a notification about something interesting to read at a time when the user normally gets out their phone – like during their commute – instead of the middle of the day, when they might be busy and dismiss a new notification.
  • Finally, give users control over what notifications they receive so that they can opt-in and opt-out of the notifications they like and don't like respectively. If users get annoyed about certain types of notifications and don't have a way to disable them, they might uninstall your app.

The Norwegian news app Aftenposten implemented a new onboarding flow that clarified which notifications were available, allowing readers to manage their preferences. This reduced uninstalls by 9.2.% over 60 days and led to a 28% decrease in the number of users muting notifications completely. Read more about Aftenposten's success.

5. Reward your most engaged users

Last but not least, you should find ways to reward your most loyal users to retain them over time and to make it desirable to less engaged users to engage more. These rewards can come in many shapes and forms. Start by keeping it simple and make sure the reward adds real value to the user and fits in your app's ecosystem. You can do this by:

  • Giving sneak peeks of new features by inviting them to a beta group.
  • Decorating user accounts with badges based on their behaviour.
  • Offer app exclusive discounts or promo codes that can only be redeemed in your app.

Generally, the more you can personalize the reward the better it will work.

Find success with ongoing experimentation

A great Android app gives developers a unique opportunity to create a lasting relationship with users and build a sustainable business with happy customers. Therefore optimising apps to engage and retain your users by following these 5 tips should be front and centre of your development goals and company strategy. Find more tips and best practices by watching the sessions at this year's Playtime events.

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Android Match

LG G Pad III 10.1 becomes official; bears kickstand and stylus

Posted: 19 Dec 2016 01:01 PM PST

After a recent leak, LG has made the G Pad III 10.1 official. The new tablet is decidedly aimed at average users who don't need extra power or features, though the name packs plenty of extras, with the official moniker being the LG G Pad III 10.1 FHD LTE. The device's unique feature is its built-in kickstand, allowing users to adjust the angle of the device for various uses.

The rest of the specs include:

  • 10.1-inch 1920×1200 display
  • 1.5GHz octa-core processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 32GB of storage plus microSD card slot
  • 5-megapixel front and rear cameras
  • 6000mAh battery (USB Type-C connectivity)
  • LTE connectivity
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • Stylus

LG has announced that the G Pad III 10.1 will be available in South Korea in early 2017, though future plans could include a global rollout and offering the device through US carriers. Pricing is set at $365 USD (KRW 429,000), which is appropriate for a device with specs of this caliber.

We'll keep you updated on a larger rollout of the G Pad III 10.1.


Android Match

Capcom will release the original six Mega Man games on mobile in January for $2 each

Posted: 19 Dec 2016 11:25 AM PST

mega manHere's an interesting bit of news for nostalgic mobile gamers: Mega Man is coming to Android. Quite a lot of Mega Man, in fact: the first six games from the original platforming series will arrive on Google Play in January, according to a press release issued by publisher Capcom. Mega Man 1 through 6, all originally released on the Nintendo Entertainment System, will be available for $2 each. The first game in the series was released in 1987, almost 30 years ago, with the 6th entry coming out in 1993.

Read More

Capcom will release the original six Mega Man games on mobile in January for $2 each was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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As stock value plunges, Nintendo now says it has no plans to bring any DLC to Super Mario Run

Posted: 19 Dec 2016 11:15 AM PST

run

Super Mario Run has, to put it lightly, not fared well in its first five days. The game is saddled with a 2.5-star rating on Apple's App Store with over 50,000 reviews, and Nintendo's share price has plummeted over 15% as investors hoping the mobile title would become a major new profit engine for the company began to react.

Nintendo currently plans to bring Super Mario Run to Android, but hasn't specified a release date.

Read More

As stock value plunges, Nintendo now says it has no plans to bring any DLC to Super Mario Run was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Facebook Messenger rolls out group video chat

Posted: 19 Dec 2016 11:11 AM PST

Video is a big deal for social networks, whether it's recorded or live streamed, and companies like Facebook want to capitalize on the market in a big way.

One way to do that is to support group video chats, which Facebook Messenger now offers. While one-on-one video calling has been a feature supported by Messenger for some time, the addition for groups to video chat will likely be a welcome addition for heavy Messenger users.

Messenger supports group video chats for up to six people at one time. To get started, users simply need to jump into an existing group chat, or start a new one, and then select the video icon up in the top-right of the conversation. Users can then add users directly, or they can send out a general invite into the group and let five other people join in when they want.

The group chat also supports up to 50 people with text and audio, but as mentioned above, only six people can video chat at the same time.

You need the newest version of Facebook Messenger for group video chat to work. It's rolling out now for Android, the web, and iOS users.


Android Match

Samsung Galaxy S8 will reportedly launch in April 2017

Posted: 19 Dec 2016 11:11 AM PST

Samsung Electronics will release its 2017 flagship, the Galaxy S8, at a dedicated event in April 2017, according to new reports. This event will take place in New York City and will be the launchpad for the new flagship, rather than previous rumors pointing to a launch at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The move is designed to allow Samsung more time to rebuild customer trust through a number of different tactics, including working with external agencies on new campaigns and initiatives. Samsung has faced a tough new market after its shutdown and recall of the Galaxy Note 7 line. Though customer loyalty has been higher than expected, work remains to be done.

As part of the launch plans, Samsung is said to be doubling down on security regarding the development of the Galaxy S8. The company is looking to minimize leaks and maintain control of the spin once the device is officially announced. Samsung has made efforts in previous years to reduce pre-release information spreading about, though the efforts have faced varying levels of success.

Samsung has yet to confirm the April launch, though with the company's efforts to rebuild brand trust, it may take time to see any promotions for the Galaxy S8.


Android Match

Group video chats now rolling out to Facebook Messenger

Posted: 19 Dec 2016 10:45 AM PST

Facebook has made a few long-awaited additions to Messenger lately, including that new Snapchat-like camera interface. Well, there's one more big change coming in 2016—group video chat. This feature it rolling out to Android and iOS starting this very day. You'll have to forgive the iPhone screens, that's all Facebook has provided. It should look similar on Android.

Messenger has had video calling before, of course. The difference now is that you can have more than two people involved with a video chat.

Read More

Group video chats now rolling out to Facebook Messenger was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Top 5 most popular Android apps from last week: Gboard, Contacts

Posted: 19 Dec 2016 09:06 AM PST

Every week we cover new Android apps with Fresh Meat on Wednesday, followed by Android Gaming on Thursday and Top 10 App Updates on Friday. When Monday rolls around, we look back to see which apps were the most appealing to our audience. Read on for the five most popular Android apps from last week. These apps are ones that are most likely new and haven't appeared in the top five list more than three times.

1. Gboard – The Google Keyboard

Gboard

App info: Gboard has everything you love about Google Keyboard—speed and reliability, Glide Typing, voice typing, and more—plus Google Search built in. No more app switching; just search and share, right from your keyboard.

 

2. Events from Facebook

Events from Facebook

App info: Looking for something to do with friends this weekend? Want to know what's happening tonight? Find events that match your interests and stay up-to-date no matter where you are.

 

3. Friendly for Facebook

Friendly for Facebook

App info: Friendly is the most complete Facebook and FB Messenger alternative. Built as an extension of the light Facebook mobile website, it will preserve your battery, storage and data, while giving you back control over your news feed.

 

4. Accubattery

Accubattery

App info: Accu​Battery measures the actual battery usage using information from the battery charge controller. Battery usage per app is determined by combining these measurements with information on which app is in the foreground.

 

5. Contacts

Contacts

App info: Contacts helps you stay in touch with the people you care about. Easily add contacts and edit information like their photo, phone number, and email. Save contacts to your Google Account and access them on any device. 

 

Note:  To ensure that all apps receive a fair chance to make the list, we will retire any app that has made the list for three consecutive weeks.


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