Three features every mobile app should have

These features help you to keep your mobile app in the mind of users

App Features

Finding the next supermarket, impressing your partner with your knowledge about astronomy, shopping for hours until you drop… Apps usually serve to solve a certain problem or even better – make life easier in multiple ways. If users tend to open your app regularly, it probably is very beneficial for them. Thus, one of the most honest key performance indicators (KPIs) for mobile apps should be re-engagement.

User beim Nutzen einer App.

No matter how advantageous your app might be, sometimes users just forget that they have it on the phone or tablet. 

Some examples: 

  • Alan installs an app with delicious recipes on his phone. There’s a big chance that he forgets about it and googles the next time he wants to cook something special for his friends. 
  • Penny uses an app against food waste that helps her get food for less money under certain conditions – but over time she just forgets to open it. 
  • Paul has a shopping app on his tablet offering him great deals – but he is just too lazy to open it every now and then and as a result he misses the offer for his favourite sneakers

The outcome of all examples: app owner and customer miss each other. Although an app adds value, it might create awareness only for a short time. Here are  some solutions for this challenge.

Three approaches to make your users re-engage.

  1. Annoy the users if they don’t come back frequently. Although this might sound strange, it is a serious approach – mostly used by gaming apps. It’s also common among big retailers, which offer you coupons for discounts.
  2. Honor the visits of users – add value every time they open your app. This is especially easy for weather apps, news magazine apps or, for instance apps for renting apartments: They provide relevant and current content every time. 
  3. Create awareness while the user is doing other things on the phone. Besides marketing measures which you might already have taken, there are also some technical solutions. 

In the next paragraph I’ll introduce you to three great app features based upon the third approach.

Best app features for user loyalty and re-engagement.

1) App indexing

You have never heard of app indexing? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. App indexing is the least known feature, according to what we experience at Namics when talking to our customers. It deserves far more attention – so let’s uncover this hidden champion.

App indexing means empowering Google to search the content of your app.If you want search engines to find your website, you let them crawl it. You can provide details with the robots.txt file. As easy as it is for websites to be part of search results, it is not as straightforward for mobile apps. However, it’s possible,  – and it’s easier than you might think.

App auf Handy neben Suchmaschinenergebnis auf Laptop.

Let’s assume you are the owner of an app with recipes. One of your users forgot about it and googles “swiss cheese fondue with figs and champagne”. Google knows that your app has this awesome recipe – and if the user clicks on the search result the app opens and shows the recipe.

Yes, it’s that simple and yet so powerful! You get back to your users exactly at the time they need your service or product. What a perfect success. Re-Engagement at it’s best. You don’t even have to spend your marketing budget. 

My advice for app indexing

You can and should also provide the content on your website. That makes sure users will end up there, if they don’t have the app installed. Technically, the app / website switch is done by so called “universal links”

2) Widgets

Homescreen Widgets are known on Android for several years now. In 2020 Apple introduced widgets as well in iOS 14. If you build a useful widget,users will place it on the homescreen and see it every time they look on their phone.

User beim Nutzen einer App.

Widgets offer great new opportunities: 

  • If you have a news app, show the latest headline, and let users know that you provide interesting stuff! 
  • If your app is made for tracking purposes, show the latest figures, summaries or graphs over time – e.g. your weight loss over the last quarter of the year, maybe even compared to your friends. 
  • If you have an app for health or for cooking, show recipe suggestions. 

For most apps, there’s a good use case for beneficial widgets. 

My advice for widgets

Make sure your widget shows information that is changing frequently. Users don’t pick static content widgets – the space on the homescreen is too valuable for that.

3) App Clips and Instant Apps

New in iOS14 are so called App Clips. The Android equivalent is called “Android Instant Apps”. Although they exist for a while now, it’s not well known among the Android developers. However, the potential is huge, and we expect to see this feature a lot in the near future.

An App Clip / Instant app is like a tiny sister of your app. It’s size is limited to ensure fast downloads. In comparison to apps, they do not need to be installed. If a user detects an App Clip, it will almost instantly be shown. As it’s new on iOS, we stick to App Clips for the introduction.

What is an App Clip?

Once an app is discovered, it will be displayed. An App Clip is a lightweight native app, without the need of previously downloading something via App Store. 

If you integrate Apple Pay and Sign-in with Apple into an App Clip, it gets extremely powerful. Although it’s lightweight (limited to 10MB), you can achieve stunning results.

Let’s say there is a cool mountain bike parked at a train station. If you’re close by, the app clip shows up. This is triggered automatically thanks to NFC. If this App Clip offers Sign-In With Apple and Apple Pay, you can rent the bike within seconds. No need to fill in a form with your address or payment information. Have more time for your bike rides! 

This rent-a-bike example just needs some few interactions and clicks. Let’s imagine you’re abroad, and won’t ever need a bike from this company again – that’s fine. Nothing to uninstall. If you are interested more in this rent-a-bike company, you can install the host app with one tap in the app clip.

Discovery of App Clips

App Clips can be discovered via

  • NFC
  • Visual Code (like QR Codes, but much more beautiful)
  • Links in Messages
  • Safari App Banners
  • Map (when an App Clip is associated with a specific location, the App Clip can be registered to appear on a place in Maps so users can open it from there.)
  • “Recently Opened” on an iPhone

Possible use cases for App Clips

App Clips can for instance: 

  • offer quick payment processes
  • reserve a table – in times of COVID-19 also helpful for restaurant table check-ins / check-outs
  • order a coffee at the entrance of the bar and pay directly with Apple Pay 
  • provide some limited functionality of your app

Push notifications from App Clips

Most users give permission for push notifications to their most loved apps only. It’s about trust, because apps could misuse the permission to spam useless information to users. However App Clips have a special entitlement to send notifications for up to eight hours after the first opening of the App Clip without asking for permission. That’s awesome. 

Imagine you order food in a self-service-restaurant. If the order is ready, the restaurant can send you a “ready to pick up” notification. It’s also useful for delivery notifications or other business case related things that need to be postponed.

Development of your perfect mobile app

Curious what we can do for your mobile needs? We’re happy to help. We have broad expertise in conception, UX/Design, content, implementation, maintenance and continuous improvement. A nice way to improve your mobile experience is by analyzing your current situation and determining improvements. Wherever you are on the journey to mobile success, we’re looking forward to you.