How to track you app activation and 3 tips to improve it

We've already seen how important user activation is for mobile apps. Around 70% of users won't open you app the next day after installing it.

How can you improve your app activation rate?

Activation is the actions users need to do to get value from an app. The shortest user path to delight. What will convince them to keep your app installed?

For Twitter it might be following 10 accounts. For Facebook it might be adding 30 friends. For us at Bundlr, it was creating a bundle and adding the first 10 clips. You need to figure out this out for your app, and then start tracking it.

Don't know what makes app stick? Start using an analytics tool and analyze the behavior flow. Here's a comparison of Android app analytics tools.

How do track your activation?

You build a conversion funnel. Most analytics tool support them. First, setup events for every action an user can do: view page, signup, search, create something, edit profile, etc.. Here's how to do event tracking on Google Analytics. Then configure your funnel with the events you believe users will do to achieve your activation goal.

The funnel will tell you how many users complete your goal, and where do you lose them. Only then you can improve your activation rate.

How can you improve your activation?

There are many ways to improve your activation, and most are specific to the kind of app your building. There's a whole new/old field for this called Growth Hacking. But here's 3 general tips you should look into:

1. Remove steps

More users reach your goal if they have less required steps to take. It's that simple. Some examples: skip signups, ask for less information, create content for them, etc.. It's not about making all steps fit into a single screen. It's about making things easier for the user.

2. Segment based on where users come from

Chances are your activation rate will suck. Most do. But as you segment users on how they found out about your app, some will perform a lot better. Use campaign attribution to know where do your users come from (instructions for Google Analytics). Maybe your top audience is Canadian teachers. Talk to them to understand why, so you can get more like them.

3. Do A/B testing

experiment with how users can achieve your goal, and compare the conversion numbers. Don't just test colors and phrases. Unless you have thousands of users installing your app every day, small changes won't matter. Brainstorm totally distinct ways users can start using your app and test them.