Mobile app user engagement

Mobile app user engagement
AutorKamil GrzejekLipiec, 2022

Your mobile app is already in the Apple and Google stores. Users have started using it, and you're wondering if everything is okay. Users are the most important measure of your app's success. Their satisfaction determines the future of the project. How do you know if the app meets their expectations? What can you do to find out if it appeals to your audience?

There comes user engagement.

At the design stage you make certain assumptions about users. During app development you test hypotheses. However, reality verifies the assumptions. The results often deviate from the original assumptions.

User engagement seems on the surface simple to measure. However, each app accomplishes different goals and provides different functions. Therefore, at the outset, consider how your app should engage users.

Meaning of user engagement

The easiest way to spot user engagement is when a user realizes value by interacting with your app. Note the occurrence of the word ”value” here, this is a key factor in measuring user engagement.

On the surface, giving value may seem like an abstract way to measure, but it's all based on understanding how the app delivers value to your business. The next step is to optimize your app to increase the number and actions that matter.

What's more, valuable interactions will change as your customers use the app over time. So right from the start, you can assume that measuring user engagement is not a one-time activity. In order to develop your app in the right way, you need to periodically measure and verify valuable interactions.

However, two things will never change:

  • The higher the user engagement, the higher the value.
  • Engagement is about users performing valuable interactions.

Mobile app engagement and business

Look at user engagement from a sales funnel perspective. Engaged users become customers. Customers bring in revenue, and you drive business through them.

That's why each app measures engagement in a slightly different way.

Take the example of SaaS apps. Most often, apps in this model offer a free trial period to then encourage subscription. In this sales model, user engagement is measured by how often the user returns to the app. If a user uses it infrequently, he or she is unlikely to opt for the paid option.

Levels of user involvement

Before we move on to measuring user engagement, it's worth mentioning its gradation. This will help you better understand the flow of users through the stages of engagement.

  1. Discover – at this stage the user discovers your app and learns about its features, design, and capabilities.
  2. Shop – when the user has realized that he or she needs your app and checks out the options to purchase it.
  3. Buy – this moment pleases every app owner, it is the moment of purchase.
  4. Own – at this stage the user should have the most activity.
  5. Advocate – recommending another of your apps is an optional level that you will manage to achieve if you have done all the work around the app well.

User engagement metrics

The value of a measure of user engagement is a great way to check the overall health of an app. There is an engagement index that will tell you how your app is performing.

Engagement rate = number of active users in a certain time / total number of users in the same time.

The overall engagement rate is an indication of when something is starting to happen. It will give you information about retention and churn rates. If the rate starts to drop, it means that you need to quickly diagnose the cause of the problem. On the other hand, a rising engagement rate means that you have succeeded in covering users' needs.

Additional user engagement metrics

The user engagement indicator gives a general idea of the situation and condition of the application. To accurately diagnose the changes taking place, additional indicators will be useful.

User activity

This indicator is not about the number of people using the app. It is important to determine how you use the app, which means activity for you.

For example, for an app that collects industry news, it could be switching between articles. Such an app will measure the number of active users as those who have browsed more than one article in the last few minutes.

Periodic measurement of active users

User engagement is measured by looking at a specific period of time. Therefore, it is best to monitor the number of active users in relation to the same factor.

  • DAU – daily active users – the number of active users per day.
  • WAU – weekly active users – the number of active users per week.
  • MAU – monthly active users – determines the active users during the month.

Retention rate

With its help you will check how engaged the most active users are and what you can do to support the less active ones.

Net Promoter Score

Measuring user feedback from your app is just as important as measuring user activity. NPS is an indicator that helps you understand the extent to which your users are willing to recommend your app.

However, this indicator shows much more. It lets you know what percentage of your users are realistically engaged with your product.

Ways to increase user engagement

If you already know what are the most important user interactions with your app for you. What's more, you are able to measure the degree of their engagement. Then what can you do to increase user engagement?


User experience often translates directly into user engagement. However, even the best-designed app won't change the fact that every user once used it for the first time. Creating onboarding that explains how to use the app from the get-go will improve user engagement results.


Top app developers have quickly realized that gamification is a way to re-engage users to use the app. Thoughtful gamification can create an endless loop of user returns to the app.


Create an opportunity for your users to send feedback and suggestions for changes to the app. More often than not, they are the ones who will catch any shortcomings, so it is worth starting such a channel. Improving elements according to users' suggestions will definitely increase their satisfaction level.


Don't be afraid to appreciate the loyalty of your users. Rewarding the most active ones is a good way to keep them engaged and improve satisfaction levels.

User Engagement – Summary

With this text, I hope I have given you some insight into the topic of user engagement. It is worth remembering that it is not a one-time measurement, but an ongoing process. Verify your metrics, measure engagement, identify problems, and optimize your application, and you will surely achieve success.