How to optimize the onboarding of new users

iPhone with Login Screen

How to onboard new users Great content, features and capabilities alone do not make a successful app. Even dedicated marketing that generates lots of downloads is no guarantee of success. After all, only when first-time users can immediately and clearly see their added value, when they are curious enough to open the app again after installation and initial use, will they become satisfied and loyal customers. Good user onboarding introduces new users simply, smartly and playfully.Optimally designed

Considering that about 77% (!) of users bounce just a few days after installing mobile apps, it becomes clear: smart onboarding is extremely important for your own success.

Good user onboarding doesn’t improve the actual offering, but it can get more people excited about your app. Ultimately, no one is interested in marketing arguments, but only in the concrete added value they gain from the product. Conveying this is therefore the first goal of a good user onboarding process. Lengthy manuals, detailed FAQ or static help sections rarely lead to success, but rather to high bounce rates after the first use. A fate that literally costs many apps their “life”.

In the following, we would like to explain which building blocks and features each customer can use to design their user onboarding on our platform and adapt it to their own requirements and target group. It is often not possible to define a “one-size-fits-all” approach.

Less is more

The first and easiest step is the text for the so-called welcome screen. After downloading the app, this is the first thing a user sees. He/she is welcomed once. Here you should be brief and limit yourself to the most essential. After all, the user only wants one thing at this point: to finally interact with the product!

Therefore, we have deliberately kept this short. Especially since after the initial download and clicking on the welcome screen, the user is already asked the first important question. Namely, whether he/she wants to activate push notifications. Push notifications are a very important success factor for optimizing user engagement. Users who have activated pushes can be reactivated easily and addressed directly. You will benefit from knowing more easily when someone has sent you a chat message or when there are important messages.

For the query, we use a module that you can design textually and thus adapt to your own app. By using our own module, we also have the option of asking the user later in the app for consent to the push notifications – if he/she has not already given it.

Additional option: In App message

After the query, the user finally lands in the app, i.e. usually in the news feed. There is another exciting option: In App Messages can be used to integrate additional important content, links or queries in an overlay. In App messages can be used very easily for onboarding, but of course also later.

Here we explain in our blog what this is all about. For onboarding, this can be instrumentalized in many ways:

  • as a reference to additional content hidden behind the button
  • as a link to a survey, which is intended to learn more about the user
  • as a temporary promotion related to a specific event or message

Nevertheless, we recommend in general: the way to the actual app, to the first usable screen should not be too long. Nothing is more annoying than too long onboarding. Users are curious by nature, and it’s easy to find your way around the app. Data shows that most people scroll through the feed quickly anyway and then also try out other areas in the app with one click. No explanation needed for this! This is simple and self-explanatory.

Tool tips during use

Nevertheless, there are of course always features and functions that may not be obvious at first glance and whose benefits are not immediately apparent in the first “app session”. This is exactly what the so-called “Tool Tips” are for.

This describes the possibility to draw attention to certain functions by means of a special hint incl. text. The text and order of these tips can be customized. We recommend that you do not use the first tip in the first app session. It is better to start with it in the second “session” of the user. Only one tip is displayed per “App Session”.

The hints are also automatically adapted to the behavior of the user. If he/she has not yet looked in the chat tab, a hint makes sense. Otherwise, it may not be necessary. So everyone is only shown what is a potentially useful hint.

Of course, we are happy to advise our customers on content and sequence. Depending on the target group and application area, the focus may be on specific functions and content.

Automatic user engagement through push notifications

The methods mentioned above help all “newcomers” to get to know the possibilities and functions of the app step by step. In general, however, there is always the risk that a user simply becomes inactive and no longer opens the app. This can happen very quickly, especially in the first few days and weeks. But it can also happen later at any time.

We also offer a solution for this: Automated push notifications reach users who are inactive and have not opened the app for a few days. This can also be adapted to the text of your own target group.

How this works exactly, we describe here in the blog. Among other things, an algorithm is used that predicts if and when a user threatens to become inactive.

The good thing is that once set up, this mechanism does not involve any work.


Successful onboarding of new users is always a small science in itself. Combining the above-mentioned instruments correctly and also providing them with the right content and text can take some effort. Of course, we help our customers with this as part of the project preparation. What is important is the right dose. Less is always more, because as I said: Your app should be exciting and interesting enough in itself. But you can also use the various measures to get more out of it, always with the aim of ensuring that more users remain loyal in the long term.

Do you have any questions about this – contact us at any time. We will be happy to explain further details and options.