How to Actually Master In-App Personalization for your Users

No icon

Partner Post - Appsee – Understand user experience. Optimize your app. Drive results.

Posted: August 27, 2016


Hannah is the Content Marketing Manager at Appsee. A UX and content strategy enthusiast, she has a great affinity for discovering and sharing unique insights and resources with the mobile tech community. Hannah also loves photojournalism, classic rock, and pretending that she’s the only one with a “foodie” Instagram account.


Today, most people realize that mobile apps have become completely integrated with our everyday lives. This trend has happened so quickly that people rarely bat an eye when a person uses their mobile device to unlock doors, pay for drinks, or have groceries delivered to their front door.

Accordingly, the general public has become so attached to their favorite iOS and Android apps that competition in the mobile marketplace has gotten downright fierce. It’s a beautiful sign of an absolutely thriving industry.

However, today’s smartphone using public does not only demand mobile apps that offer huge benefits, they also seek effortless user experiences. With so many people expecting exceptional mobile experiences, users’ needs have to be met in more creative and first-rate approaches than ever before.

Enter- The Need for Effective and Innovative In-App Personalization

Appreneurs have begun to realize that by automatically adapting mobile apps to match the specific interests, habits, needs, and lifestyles of individual users, you can notably decrease some nasty barriers like high abandonment rates.

When executed effectively, in-app personalization converts many more users, greatly increases user retention and app affinity, and produces significantly more revenue for your brand over the long-term. It’s one of the greatest strategies for building instant rapport with your users and motivating them to harness the benefits of your mobile app.

Examples of mobile app verticals that use in-app personalization to benefit their users include:

Mobile commerce apps like Amazon which suggest products to users based on gender, past purchases, previous searches, and shopping cart abandonment

amazon_in app personalization


Social apps like Snapchat that enable users to apply ‘geofilters’ to messages which act as location-specific picture overlays

snapchat_ in app personalization


Dating apps like OkCupid that notify users of probable dating matches based on criteria like lifestyle choices, ethics, and personal beliefs

OkCupid_ in app personalization

In-app personalization can be as simple as greeting users by name when they first log-in, or as targeted as offering shoe coupons to women over 40 at 9 A.M. on Saturday mornings. The key involves making each of your users feel unique and connected in some way to your brand.

By now, you’ve probably heard enough to realize that the foundation of in-app personalization relies on one extremely valuable asset – user data.

The power of user data is widely-recognized across the mobile app industry, but it’s also one of those things that you can’t fully appreciate until you’ve experienced it first-hand. User data, especially qualitative and visual data, is like a treasure map that guides you directly to the parts of your product that could be leaking revenue, engaging the most users, or flat-out broken. This type of actionable, visual data can be gathered by app analytics solutions that zone in on UX.

Just as in-app personalization must appear simple and natural to the user in order work effectively, the same rule applies to UX app analytics. What happens behind-the-scenes is usually complex, but the end-result is a clear picture of the steps you must take to have a mobile app that generates significantly more revenue and user loyalty over the long-term.

UX app analytics platforms like Appsee ultimately provide mobile app teams with the reasons as to why your users behave the way they do. These answers can help point you in a clear direction as to what your users want and need.

Below we will elaborate on exactly how UX app analytics can markedly aid you in your in-app personalization efforts:

See Exactly How Your Users Behave

One of the most useful aspects of UX app analytics are User Recordings. By watching recordings of exactly how users navigate through your app and what they like and dislike, you will have a much clearer understanding of your target audience preferences.

Another big bonus that comes with utilizing User Recordings is that it doubles as an excellent user research technique. In fact, User Recordings offer a 100% remote strategy for conducting user research with much less time, money, and effort spent in comparison to formal in-person user testing scenarios. The results of User Recordings are often much more natural as well, since users feel natural while using your app however they please (as you gather the data).

User Recordings offer a 100% remote strategy for conducting user research

user recordings samsung

Not only can you use User Recordings to gather valuable information for your personalization initiatives, you can also utilize User Recordings to assess the effectiveness of newly implemented personalization strategies.

Take a look at Yummly’s unique recipe feed


In the past year they added a unique personalization detail with a status bar that updates users when their recipe feed was last personalized (considering their preferences).

The status bar also provides a standard “refresh” icon that users can tap in order to replenish their feed with new recommendations. Traditional app analytics would only provide Yummly with quantitative data regarding the efficacy of this personalization detail.

User recordings on the other hand, could help Yummly see exactly how intuitive the refresh button is for users, or whether the tapable space is large enough, among many other qualitative insights.

Everything that you are able to see and learn from your users’ gestures and journeys carries immense value, and will allow you to give your audience surprising personalized experiences and more of what they actually want.

Zone In on Your UI and Gesture Implementation

If you want to know the ins and outs of your target audience, then you need to stay attuned to their every touch. Using a Touch Heatmaps feature via your UX app analytics platform is a must, since this provides one of the clearest indicators of how your particular audience is responding to your user interface.

The reality is that there is no standard UI that works absolutely perfect for all audiences. Your audience is unique, and they likely have their own set of habits and preferences they’ve developed. Yet confidently understanding which parts of your app your audience finds most interesting can easily set your brand apart from the rest.

By using Touch Heatmaps, you’ll acquire a clear understanding of which features should be removed, and what should stay and even be further emphasized. You’ll know which CTA’s are working best, and what still needs to be improved on. Like the User Recordings, you can also use Touch Heatmaps to assess the effectiveness of new personalization initiatives. You will also have a perfect, visual record of every swipe, pinch, and tap that is made on each screen of your app and be able to pinpoint where the critical unresponsive gestures are occurring.

Let’s say you have implemented a new loyalty program for a specific geo, but you are seeing an eerily high app quit rate after users sign up for the program. Why is that? Traditional analytics will only provide you with the numbers but not give you the answers. Via Touch Heatmaps you can observe that there is an extremely high amount of unresponsive “swipe ups” on this particular screen. It seems that a large amount of users expect to be able to swipe out of the loyalty program screen and return to their app experience, instead of having to click your brand’s icon. This small, yet potent UI detail can cause friction with your app’s UX and actually undermine your personalization initiative.

Ultimately, the immense benefits of Touch Heatmaps allow you to visually connect with the ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ areas of your app, and expand on the aspects of your app that drive revenue and user engagement. This will ultimately enable you to create a more flawless, personalized environment for your audience.

An example of Appsee’s touch heat maps revealing unresponsive gestures on a particular screen



In-app personalization can encompass the simplest of personal greetings, but also the most in-depth current and historical user data that’s available. The most exciting part of it all is that no one knows exactly what’s in store for the future in terms of personalization capabilities and innovations.

One thing that we do know, however, is that in-app personalization relies upon qualitative analytics solutions which “tell the story” of user data. This is truly how personalized user experiences are developed and enhanced.

For more information about Appsee click here to visit their site.