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The Secrets of Successful Media App Onboarding

Mrinal Parekh Mrinal Parekh, Senior Manager at CleverTap, has expertise in product, consumer, and digital marketing, with previous roles at Razorpay and Amazon.
The Secrets of Successful Media App Onboarding

So, you’ve created a fabulous media app, put in place a smart app awareness strategy, and secured an impressive number of app downloads.
What now?
Once your user has been acquired, you need to offer a seamless mobile user onboarding experience that lays the foundation for successful adoption, engagement, and retention.
Done right, onboarding sets the ball rolling for you to deliver a fantastic user experience communicate your core value across the entire app user lifecycle.
App User Lifecycle

Why Should Media and Entertainment Apps Even Care About User Onboarding?

Mobile apps now constitute almost 52% of all time spent on digital media. This presents you with a major opportunity to target users, persuading them to search, browse, consume, and purchase.
However, approximately 20% of all media and entertainment apps aren’t even opened after initial app download and launch.
You only get one chance to win over new users. This makes your app onboarding flow extremely important.
Yes, user interfaces should be simple and intuitive. But at the same time, you can’t realistically expect new users to understand your app’s interface without any direction at all.
Keeping in mind your app’s unique target user base and core value, your media and entertainment app should have a user onboarding flow that focuses on:

  • Function: Briefly highlights the major app functions
  • Benefits: Highlights the key benefits of using your app
  • Actions: Showcases critical actions the user is most likely to complete

Learning from the Best: The Medium Story

Popular content publication and distribution platform Medium is a classic example of a media app built on a simple yet elegant user interface. It offers quality and diverse content created by a loyal group of global users.
With over 5 million installs across Android and iOS, Medium has re-envisioned the way content is created, consumed, and shared.
At the core of Medium’s success is its efficient user onboarding flow.

  1. Simple “Welcome” Messaging with Social Login Integration
    Medium’s “without-much-ado” approach is apparent in its simple welcome screen.
    Medium's Social Login Integration
    It quickly communicates Medium’s value, while encouraging new users to login via social platforms or an email account.
    The onboarding messaging is simple, clear, and conveys exactly how users will benefit from the app.
  2. Push Notification Opt-In
    Push Notification Opt-In
    On average, push notifications have a 71% opt-in rate across Android and iOS.
    By prompting first-time users to enable push notifications, Medium gets the chance to run targeted, personalized campaigns that highlight relevant content, track authors of interest, and encourage subscription purchases and/or social sharing.
  3. Subtle Call to Action
    Call to Action
    Medium’s subtle call to action urging users to “create” is coupled with an eye-catching creative image and easy-to-understand instructions.
    The messaging revolves around how easy it is to use the app.
  4. Profile Completion
    Profile Completion
    The social login plugins embedded on the welcome screen also help to capture a new user’s personal details and preferences.
    By encouraging new users to complete a profile, Medium can gather details on topics of interest and engage users with a customized feed of relevant stories.
    This also helps them develop personalized push notification and email campaigns, which encourage users to come back to the app and spend more time in each session.
    Learn how CleverTap can help you engage users with highly personalized push notifications.
  5. Paid Subscription Pitch
    Paid Subscription Pitch
    This is a bold move for any media and entertainment app. But by quickly communicating the app’s core value, Medium can afford to pitch the benefits of a monthly subscription plan in their onboarding process.
    Only when a user has experienced first-hand value from your service should you encourage them to purchase a subscription.
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Event Strategy Based on Use Cases

When users install and use your media and entertainment app, they engage in different in-app activities that can be tracked and monitored as specific events.
Try these tactics to improve your user onboarding for different types of user segments.

User SegmentTactics

Unregistered Users

  • Display an exit intent prompt/pop-up
    or in-app notification encouraging users to register or create a profile – who have undertaken an in-app search 10 times
  • Display an exit intent prompt/pop-up or in-app notification encouraging users to register or create a profile– who have read an article,viewed a video, listened to a song, etc. 5 times

Registered but not Activated Users

  • Run personalized push notification, email, or SMS engagement campaigns on days 1, 3, 5, 10, and 15 after registration encouraging users to choose news topics or music/movie genres
  • Use in-app notifications urging users who are browsing for the first time to sample fresh or relevant content with “you may also like” messaging
  • Use personalized push notification or email engagement campaigns on days 1, 3, 5, and 10 since last recorded activity reminding users to complete their first in-app purchase or sign up for a subscription

Registered and Activated Users

  • Use personalized push notification, email, or SMS engagement campaigns on days 7, 15, and 25 after purchasing a subscription encouraging users to sample new in-app content (based on their interests)

Key Business Metrics and KPIs to Track Success

Now you have several key strategies for improving user onboarding. But how will you know if they’re working?
Track the following key metrics to gauge your success and keep upping your game, one newly acquired and onboarded user at a time.

MetricDescriptionIndustry Benchmark

Average App Load (Launch) Time

The average time it takes for your app to launch or load on your user’s device

2-2.5 seconds

Average Onboarding Time

The average time it takes a first-time user to complete the entire onboarding process on initial app launch

2-5 seconds*

*This depends on the complexity of your app

Install to Registration Rate

The percentage of users that go on to register post app installation


Average Cost Per User Registration

The average cost you incur in getting a user to install and register on your app


Crash Rate

The percentage of app loads that result in crashing

1-2% of all app launches

What’s Next?

Creating app awareness and securing installs is a great launchpad for eventually delivering the ultimate user experience. This has to be followed by seamless user onboarding to drive conversions down the line.
Lose users at this stage and you’re fighting an uphill battle to grow your app.
I’ll highlight different strategies for driving user engagement and monetization in my next blog post. Stay tuned for more!

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Posted on April 18, 2018