Improve Your In-app Interaction

Partner Post - Apptentive A better way to communicate with customers.

Posted: August 30, 2016


Ashley Sefferman is Head of Content at Apptentive, the best in-app communications software for app publishers. A mobile marketing and content strategy enthusiast, she writes about mobile apps, loyalty, inbound marketing, and making the mobile world a better place for people. Follow Ashley on Twitter @ashseff.


With the introduction of messaging bots and the prevalence of blasting mobile customers with push notifications, it’s important for companies to understand what percentage of their customer base they’re reaching out to, and in turn, how many of those customers are responding.

Apptentive recently published a report around interaction and engagement rates across our customers’ apps. Today’s post digs into our findings and shares tips on improving your in-app interaction strategy, no matter your industry. But before we dive in, let’s start with a couple of definitions. Here’s what we mean when we say “interaction rate” and “engagement rate:”

  • Interaction rate is the average number of mobile customers that companies are engaging with through in-app actions like mobile surveys, ratings prompts, and messages.
  • Engagement rate is the average number of mobile app customers who take the intended action with the interactions companies send them.

Additionally, it’s important to understand how we gathered data around interaction and engagement. To asses, we asked our customers two primary questions:

  • How many customers do you try to interact with in-app?
  • How many of those customers respond to those interactions?

Below is an analysis of what we found. Enjoy!

Average interaction and engagement rates

Based on our customer feedback, the average interaction rate they see is 9%. This means that, on average, our customers interact with 9% of their total mobile app customer base over the course of a year.

In contrast, the average engagement rate with interactions is 62%. This means that of the 9% of customers who interacted with brands, an average of 62% of our customers’ consumers respond to the in-app interactions.

We encourage app publishers to be selective in how often they reach out to customers to avoid annoying or disrupting their in-app experience. An average response rate of 62% is considered healthy, but shows room for improvement. To us, these numbers mean 38% of customers were either annoyed by the attempted interaction or didn’t see value it in, which caused them to choose not to respond. We still have more research to do in this area to truly understand why.

We can make even more sense of this data if we break the apps down by category vs. looking at them as a whole. Below are the average interaction and engagement rates we found in our survey results, broken down by app category.

Apptentive customer response rates

As you can see, the Food & Drink category has higher average interaction rate than the rest of the leading categories, but their engagement rate isn’t nearly as high as apps in the Shopping category. There are many potential factors that come into play when considering these results, including where interactions are placed within the app, which customer segments they’re shown to, etc.

I encourage you to download our full report for more detail around this data, but in the meantime, want to leave you with some tips for boosting both your interaction and engagement rates within your app.

Tips for engaging proactively with your app’s customers

Our mobile devices are some of the most personal pieces of technology we own. The way we use mobile apps, and even the way we keep our devices on our person during most of our waking hours, have opened the door for deep personalization opportunities within apps.

However, as we can see by looking at the data above, not all in-app interactions can be positive from your customers’ perspectives. Here are three important tips for positive proactive engagement with your app’s customers:

Engage at the right time

When it comes to in-app engagement, timing is everything. It’s important to look at all potential engagement choices customers may have when the interaction is triggered by an action they take in your app. Thinking through potential outcomes before adding an interaction into your app is the best way to decide whether you should add a ratings prompt the first time a customer opens your app, or after they’ve used the app a few times and really get to know it (hint: the best choice is usually the latter option).

Engage at the right place

Placement of your in-app interactions goes hand-in-hand with timing. Every app is different, but most in-app interactions are best received if they are shown after a customer has completed a high-value action within the app, such as beating a level in a game, completing an in-app purchase, booking a flight, and so on.

To start, look at the places within your app you consider high-value actions before adding any interactions. Which in-app actions give your customers the most joy? Which ones cause the most frustration? In working through this exercise with your team, discuss how the in-app actions solicit different emotions from your customers, and use your takeaways to decide where to place your interactions.

Engage with the right person

As with any marketing strategy, your audience is everything. All in-app interactions won’t be a good fit for every customer to engage with. Instead, spend time looking at your customer journey map to understand how customers engage with your app at different stages, and make sure your customer segments align. From there, you’ll be able to select the best group of customers to show your interactions to, and other segments to keep the interaction turned off for.


Interacting with customers in-app can be a marvelous addition to your mobile marketing strategy, if done correctly. Hopefully the data above gives you an idea of how customers across app categories currently engage with in-app interactions, and you can use the tips we covered to make changes to your own app.

Have you used other strategies to engage with your customers I didn’t cover? I would love to hear your thoughts, simply email me at