How to Achieve Better User Engagement - Moburst

How to Achieve Better User Engagement: The Life Cycle of a Mobile App User

Gilad Bechar | 6.7.16

Ever wondered what differentiates between users who downloaded your app but ended up leaving from those who became engaged, active users? The following post will introduce the industry’s labels for four kinds of users. These labels not only explain the full life cycle of a user, but can also help any app developer and marketer take a deeper look into what’s preventing inactive users from becoming active and finally achieve better user engagement rates.




Newbies are users who installed your app, took a moment to check it out, and left. This could indicate that while your media campaign succeeded in attracting the user, possible flaws in the app’s onboarding stage did the exact opposite.

The gap between the Newbies and the next group of passer bys is a focal point where many users ditch the app. So how can you avoid that? A flawless onboarding process is a great way to woo users in and lead them to the next stage. To achieve simplicity, keep the amount of onboarding steps to a minimum and don’t request access to information you don’t absolutely need at the moment (you can ask for it later on when the need becomes relevant).


Passer Bys

The only difference between passer bys and newbies is that beyond registering and checking out the app, passer bys have experimented with the app once or twice and have a basic knowledge of what it’s all about.

So what’s holding you back from achieving better user engagement? To each app it’s own; but generally, there are three elements that usually keep users coming back: a fear of missing out (FOMO), a sense of competition, and a basic need that needs to be answered effectively. If your app seems to be losing users, look into ways to implement one of these elements to enhance their experience.



Engaged users are at the peak of their “lives”. They’ve become regular users and have accumulated more than a few positive experiences. They love the app and tell their friends about it, and they don’t think twice before hitting “OK” when asked to share it through their social profiles.

Naturally, your goal as an app marketer is to do everything it takes to harness these “whales”. Whether it’s sending relevant push notification and marketing messages, or asking to recommend the app to friends (thus saving you marketing dollars) – your main focus should be to prevent them from falling into our next category of dormant users.

You should also direct the app’s marketing team to target an audience segment that closely resembles these engaged users in interests, location, gender, age, etc. Them possessing similar characteristics suggests that they’re likely to also become active and thus boost user engagement rates.



Dormant users are users who haven’t used the app in a while. The most common reasons for users turning dormant is competition (other apps are more appealing to them) or the sad fact that they’re simply no longer as thrilled with the app.

This is where push notifications come in handy. If your users “fell asleep”, try waking them up by sending push notifications that highlight one of the three elements mentioned above: FOMO, competition, and an answer to a need. For example, if the app is a social one, you can remind them that they’re missing out on friends’ activities. If it’s a mobile game – shove it in their face that other users are beating their score, and if its a utility app – inquire about why they haven’t been using it as often.

Getting to know users’ behavior on a deeper level is the most important step app marketers should take in order to succeed in harnessing active users and attracting plenty of others. The life cycle of each app user will eventually add up to the form the life-cycle of your mobile start up, so make sure you pay attention to each group and provide it with the appropriate solution.


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