Onboarding Campaigns: Personalizing the Path from Install to Engage

By: Kahuna | August 6, 2014 | Campaign Strategy, Customer Spotlight, Growth Marketing, Product Features

User onboarding campaign
Install drop-offs are a huge obstacle for the success of mobile apps. Kahuna analyzed hundreds of applications across industries, and found on average for every 100 installs only 10 people become valuable to the application – 90% of installs generate no revenue whatsoever. Kahuna introduces Onboarding Campaigns to address this problem, making it easy to personalize every user’s path from install to engage.

Why Generic Onboarding Isn’t Enough

Kahuna’s Onboarding Campaigns are different because every customer is personally introduced to key features of the mobile app, receiving timely and relevant messages based on the actions they’ve taken so far. For example, if a user downloads an eCommerce app and immediately makes a purchase, his first message will be about motivating the second purchase or a social share. In contrast, for a user who downloads the app and browses Prada handbags, the first message will be about a luxury purse sale, getting them to that first purchase. Customizing the user onboarding experience is all about making every message count, and personally shepherding each user from initial install to top user.

How To Use Onboarding Campaigns

In order to better illustrate the power of these personalized Onboarding Campaigns, here’s a look at the results Kahuna has seen so far. Apartment List was one of our beta testers for Onboarding Campaigns, and their innovative thinking around how to help users get the most of their service through strategic user onboarding messages has led to remarkable success.

In order to get a holistic picture of the onboarding experience, think about what the ideal customer engagement journey looks like. What path do you want to encourage every user to take, and what is the end goal? For Apartment List, they want to help people find the perfect apartment, rent it, and move in. To start improving the quality of the user onboarding experience for users, Apartment List first identified the key actions that users need to take to become power users of the app: browsing apartments, adding to their Favorites list, and contacting a few renters. Through identifying a clear user onboarding journey, Apartment List knows exactly how to fully prepare every user to quickly and easily find an apartment, and complete their final engagement goal of renting.

Onboarding campaign

The unique value add of Kahuna’s Onboarding Campaigns is that users will never receive an onboarding message about an action that they have already taken. For example, if a new Apartment List user begins browsing Apartments right off the bat, they will receive a message about the second user onboarding action, adding an Apartment to their Favorites List. Likewise, if a user has already added Favorite Apartments, then they will get a message about contacting Apartments. This ensures that users complete the onboarding flow, without getting the same generic user onboarding messages that are sent to every new user without attention to previous actions.

If a user hasn’t engaged with any listing on Apartment List, they get this push notification:

Apartment List Notification

If they have already viewed apartments but haven’t saved any, they receive:

Save listing notification

If they have searched and favorited listings but haven’t contacted anyone yet, they see:

Contact notification

The Results

Apartment List has seen an incredible increase in Onboarding as an early adopter of Kahuna Onboarding Campaigns, seeing a significant dent in the normal 90% install drop-off.

“Kahuna is improving the way we communicate with our new users,” said Chris Erickson, Chief Operating Officer of Apartment List. “We know people who download our app are doing so for a reason – they want to find an apartment. However, finding an apartment can take anywhere from one day to several months. Our challenge is to encourage these new users to become active, high value participants within the first few days after install and stay engaged through their entire search. Kahuna’s Onboarding Campaigns are solving this problem, and we are seeing significant engagement among new users as a result.”

Why This Matters

Personalized Onboarding Campaigns take us one step closer to the end of spam. Currently, most user onboarding flows are set up in a purely time-based system, such as “on day one, send message about functionality A, on day 2, send message about B,” and so on. This ensures that every user will receive the same message flow, regardless of their actions within the app during these first days. Messaging a user about a feature they have already tried is a sure-fire way to tell them that they received a generic message like everyone else. Even some of the leading growth teams are making this mistake.

LinkedIn actually helped inspire Onboarding Campaigns, when they sent a Kahuna team member a message about trying a feature they used the day before.  With Kahuna’s Onboarding Campaigns, that will never happen.  It is all about making every message count, and with a comprehensive, dynamic approach to the user onboarding experience, that is guaranteed.

Making sure your mobile users are fully onboarded is a high-stakes game that can either make or break your app. Be sure the mobile messages your app sends during a user’s first few days are strategic and responsive to actions they have taken in the app. This personalized attention to detail can help win over long-term brand loyalty early on in the user lifecycle. If you clearly communicate the value of your app and lead users through a series of initial engagement goals with Onboarding Campaigns, it is much more likely that they will complete virtuous actions tied to revenue down the road. Kahuna is excited to be leading the way in this shift towards personalized mobile user onboarding.

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