Kahuna have a recent article on How Behavioral Analytics Inform Your Engagement Marketing Strategy.
The key message is that “nearly 90% of app users don’t return 30 days after an install”. They recommend you solve this problem via push notifications, in-app messages, email and social messaging… using the Kahuna platform of course.
They further break down the problem into making the app valuable to the user, reminding them it’s valuable and then making use of the app a habit. The associated webinar talks of identifying the key actions you want the user to perform in the app and using analytics to analyse the behaviour of users you do initially retain and then refining the app to concentrate on those actions. But what if the user’s desired actions aren’t a subset of those you have identified?
I believe there’s another side to this in that it’s a similar problem to making mobile payments more popular. Maybe you should think about the actions users want as opposed to those you want. Think about motivation. What made someone download the app? If you can discover that then you can play on the original need and provide rewards and incentives for using the app.
As I previously mentioned, the important thing about many of the motivation and engagement techniques is that they need to be designed into the app. You lose a lot of users and time when you release an app and then later think how to retain users.
There’s some crossover here with Lean and MVP. Surveying potential users before you create the app might uncover some insights as you why (or not) people might download your app and you can then design your MVP app based on these assumptions. Behavioural analysis and funneling might then have some affect.