Why Onboarding is a Priority for App Publishers

Why Onboarding is a Priority for App Publishers
September 27, 2021 Comments Off on Why Onboarding is a Priority for App Publishers Business, Digital Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Information Technology, Startup, Technology Inspire Visual

Why Onboarding Should Be a Priority for App Publishers

Last year 218 billion free and paid mobile apps were downloaded and the number has increased every year since the first app store was introduced by Apple in 2007.

The mobile app market is definitely booming and not showing signs of slowing down anytime soon, but so is the competitiveness to grab app users’ attention in a market flooded with thousands of apps in every category you can think of.

Today, an app publisher not only needs to make sure their app is on the forefront of technology with the latest features and trends built in, they also need to give serious thought to the term app onboarding.

The ABC’s of app onboarding

Onboarding is one of the most important phases in the app development and publishing cycle. App onboarding is the first step in the customer journey and is crucial for making a great first impression, just like meeting a person for the first time.

The onboarding process is the time it takes a user to load your app initially until they have shown commitment by learning about and signing up for the app.

The process usually consists of:

  • Informing the user about the benefits of the app using screenshots and well-crafted copy
  • Gather user information from the registration fields to;
  • Personalize the app experience for future app launches.

There are different approaches to onboarding, but the 3 most popular app onboarding processes are:

Demonstration of functionality

Usually this is shown on the first initiation of the app and only shown once. It guides the user through how the functionality of the app works. The majority of times screenshot of the app user interface is shown along with text describing step-by-step how to use the app and its gestures.

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Step-by-step introduction

This is a somewhat similar approach as demonstration of functionality, but instead of a complete app walkthrough before the user gets to use the app, the step-by-step does what it sounds like. It will teach how the app functions at different stages of the app once they get accessed by the user. This is a popular method among more complex apps, where a complete walk-through would require too much information up front and a frustrated app user as a result.

Highlighting the benefits

The benefits onboarding is all about selling the conveniences and benefits your app brings the user. Instead of demonstrating exactly how to use the app, its focus is on selling the flashy features. This is sometimes combined with a free trial period to peak interest by getting premium content for free, even if it’s just for a limited time.

Why is onboarding important?

Imagine getting any unfamiliar product in your hands without a manual on how to use it. If an app is causing confusion, it’s likely users will abandon it before they see the value your app brings.

With the massive competition present, users are picky about what apps they dedicate their time to. 21% of app users are likely to uninstall the app after just one use. Retention rates can increase significantly with proper app onboarding protocols in place.

You must make people understand the value of your app upfront. So what’s the best approach to doing that?

Develop the best possible app experience

Key to having a successful app that can utilize a convincing onboard experience starts by engaging a mobile app development agency who’s capable of merging an intuitive user experience with a stunning UI, well-developed app framework and a professional quality control to ensure a seamless app experience.

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Your app agency should be able to help you define the best onboarding process for your app, whether it’s the type of onboarding process you should use, the screenshots/video and text most helpful or overall use of best practices. If they can’t help you with this, it’s time to look for another app company.

What are best practices for app onboarding?

4 best practices that can be used in any app onboarding strategy, no matter which onboarding process you choose (demonstration of functionality, step-by-step introduction, or highlighting the benefits).

Keep it simple

Don’t write a novel for each item you want to describe. If the copy starts to look like a study book, it’s time to scale back. Each guideline should be 5-10 words max.

Adapt screenshots to their message

If you’re talking about a feature that takes up 10% of the user interface, consider cropping and zooming to make it legible. Just make sure you don’t crop too much so the UI is unrecognizable.

Analyze onboarding behavior

There are great app analytic tools to share insights in how much time is spent on onboarding, where users seem confused, or where they abandon the rest of the guide. It’s valuable information to optimize your app onboarding strategy.

Hand hold through the process

Always let users know what to expect. A good rule of thumb is to use page numbers or dots to show progress through the onboarding process. Your app users have limited time and they want to know how much is expected of them. If they don’t know how much guidance is left, they are likely to skip steps to get started and end up with a frustrating app experience they can’t navigate later.

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There’s no doubt a good app onboarding strategy can make or break the user adoption success of an app. Spending the time and budget necessary on onboarding is worth its weight in gold and it’s only a small percentage of the entire app development budget.

To get started make sure to follow the pointers in this article, and you’ll be well on your way to gain a following of happy app users.

Once you have completed a successful onboarding, you need to make sure your users don’t abandon your app at the later stages. That’s another topic called mobile app user engagement and once you’ve completed the onboarding phase, something you should learn about as well, as it can further improve your chances of being a leader in the mobile app market.


Michael Frederiksen

Michael earned degrees in computer and business science, later graduating with top scores from Denmark’s prestigious multimedia program. His specialties include experimenting with digital technologies, creative direction, web and mobile app UI/UX design and is the co-founder of Inspire Visual.

About The Author
Inspire Visual Sarthi Lam is an author of LoogleBiz for both adults and teens, including The Kill Club and her upcoming YA debut, She’s Too Pretty to Burn. She was born in Tamilnadu, India and has lived most of her life in Los Angeles.