April 24, 2024

7 Strategies to Improve Mobile App Feature Adoption in 2024

Feature adoption can be a tricky thing to tackle. So, here's an exhaustive list of strategies you can use to improve mobile app feature adoption.

Ananya Vairavarajan

Feature adoption can be a tricky thing to tackle, but with the right strategies, you can get new features into the hands of more users.

Here's a quick summary of strategies you can use to improve mobile app feature adoption.

  1. Focus on feature onboarding
  2. Use in-app messages to guide users at the right time
  3. Tailor app experiences to user preferences
  4. Create habit loops to keep the users hooked
  5. Disregard unused or lowly adopted features
  6. Implement gamification elements
  7. Utilize push notifications, but sparingly

What is mobile app feature adoption

Feature adoption refers to the process of your intended user group incorporating a specific aspect of your product or application into their regular use.

This is not a one-time occurrence, but rather a gradual progression in which users become aware of a feature, test it out, determine its usefulness, continue to use it, and ultimately make it a habitual action over time.

Challenges in mobile app feature adoption

Poor app onboarding

Onboarding is a crucial aspect of an app's success. It can significantly affect the frequency of app usage, especially for first-time users.

Providing a positive and effective onboarding experience can ensure users understand how to use the app to achieve their objectives. Neglecting this aspect can lead to low retention rates and infrequent app usage.

Users unaware of the full potential of the app

It can be frustrating to see your app's new features launched go unnoticed by users, either due to a lack of understanding or difficulty with navigation. Fortunately, there are ways to drive feature discovery through targeted onboarding campaigns.

This may include in-app messages that guide users toward new or existing features, email reminders to explore the app further, or contextual walk-throughs that demonstrate how to use specific features or sections.

For example, MakeMyTrip uses a subtle bottom sheet that helps users get educated about the newly launched MMTBLACK feature.

Bottom sheet for MMTBLACK feature

7 strategies to improve mobile app feature adoption

Focus on feature onboarding

We've all heard of app onboarding. What is critical here is onboarding users to new features.

This can be achieved through in-app tutorials, video explanations, or gamification elements to make the onboarding process more engaging.

To enhance the onboarding process, you can create in-app flows to educate users about new features. Google Pay, for example, accelerates user activation by demonstrating how to make payments to contacts through search or QR code scanning. They ensure new users are aware of these features through tooltips.

Tooltips for onboarding in Google Pay

Use in-app messages

In-app messages are an effective way to encourage feature adoption and improve user experience. These messages can alert users to engage with newly released features. It is also possible to contextually upsell or cross-sell related products and services.

To introduce existing and new users to their new launch of Dineout, Swiggy released a PiP video to educate and nudge the user to explore.

PiP video for feature announcement in Swiggy

While Swiggy took a very direct approach, Jar opted for a slightly more subtle experience for their users. Jar, a daily gold savings app, used a spotlight (in-app nudge) to introduce its GoldX feature and saw 80% of the users adopting that feature and completing the action.

Jar's spotlight provided by Plotline

Another prominent example would be the use of in-app blinkers in SonyLiv to highlight the “My List” feature and make the users adopt that to add their favorite movies and TV shows.

In-app blinker in SonyLiv app

Chalo, a bus transport tech company, incorporated native UI carousel embeds in their app to showcase their newly launched “Student Pass” feature which will benefit both new users and existing users.

Native UI carousel embeds in Chalo app

Tailor app experiences to user preferences

Users are more likely to adopt new features if they feel like they have some control over how they interact with them. Consider adding customization options that allow the user to adjust the new feature to their individual preferences or provide recommendations based on user activity.

For example, if your app has a "news-feed" feature, you could allow users to select the topics they are interested in and show them news articles related to those topics. This personalization will make users feel more invested in the feature, which can lead to increased adoption.

Phase out obsolete, low-adopted features

Using feature adoption data, develop a plan to recognize patterns in sentiment and user behavior trends through which you can enhance user engagement by eliminating outdated features or those with limited adoption and negative feedback.

Implement gamification elements

Adding elements of gamification to new features can create an encouraging and engaging experience for users. Consider adding achievements or rewards that players earn by using new features or providing badges that can be displayed in their profiles.

Duolingo is a widely recognized case of successful gamification. Given that language acquisition is a gradual process that necessitates continuous practice and repetition, Duolingo inspires its users to use the app daily by employing tactics such as streaks, daily objectives, and a life-based system that refills over time.

Duolingo's gamification elements

Create habit loops

The Facebook Newsfeed has been successful in retaining user engagement by creating a habit loop through infinite scrolling. This approach has been emulated by LinkedIn and Google, indicating that even though people may resist change, their habits can be modified to encourage the adoption of new features.

Habit loop through infinite scrolling

To increase user engagement, it is essential to comprehend how users naturally interact with their apps. They must then analyze the habit loops related to essential features and identify ways to prompt users to repeatedly use those features.

Use push notifications, but sparingly

Push notifications are a powerful tool that can be used to alert users to new features, updates, and promotions. They can also provide motivation or encouragement to try out a new feature.

Consider sending out a push notification highlighting the benefit of a new feature or offering an incentive to try it. Be careful though, you don't want to continuously spam your users.

Push notifications to boost engagement

Plotline helps mobile app companies improve feature adoption with highly customizable in-app messages

Plotline is an in-app engagement platform that enables product and marketing teams in high-growth consumer companies to create and deploy customizable in-app messages that match your design theme to a targeted user cohort.

Using Plotline, B2C companies can improve adoption using such highly customizable in-app messages.

You can drive feature adoption by introducing new features subtly and in a non-intrusive format. Khatabook used Plotline’s Spotlight feature to build awareness and drive usage of Bulk Reminders, which directly improved revenue per user.

Khatabook's spotlight feature provided by Plotline

If feature adoption is a challenge you're struggling with for your mobile app, reach out to us. We can set up a 21-day free trial to validate whether Plotline will be a good fit for you.

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