Building a subscription onboarding journey to maximise engagement with your app
You only have about 48 hours to get new users to engage with your app, according to Airship's 2023 mobile consumer survey. This is why it's important to encourage new users to develop habits of using your app once they have downloaded it. An onboarding journey is a great tactic to achieve that.
What is a subscription onboarding journey
An onboarding journey is the process of welcoming and educating new users about their new subscriptions. It typically involves a series of communications that are designed to help new users get started, understand the features and benefits of your offering and become comfortable using it. It often starts with a welcome from a senior editor and includes calls to action for new subscribers to sign up for newsletters, download apps and personalise their experience. It is carried out online, via emails and sometimes on off-platform channels. The goal is to ensure that the new subscriber begins to engage with everything you offer and is able to take full advantage of all the content types, tools and features.
Why is it important?
Many publishers focus heavily on driving conversion, but once a user becomes a subscriber, your focus needs to turn to engagement. The most effective retention efforts begin immediately after conversion so it is important to ensure that the subscriber fully understands the product, and it becomes a part of their daily routines. A good onboarding journey will ultimately increase engagement, which leads to a lower rate of churn and a higher customer lifetime value.
The benefits of including your app as part of the journey
Apps are a great driver of digital engagement. Across Pugpig apps we see an average session length of over 8 minutes with a typical user visiting almost 19 times per quarter. Apps are enabling publishers to build a high level of engagement with their audience.
By including an app in your onboarding journey you can hope to achieve:
- An increase in engagement. Some users might not be aware that you have an app, or unaware of the benefits beyond the web experience. Onboarding is an important opportunity to allow you to promote those benefits.
- More contact points. Onboarding encourages app users to opt-in to receive push notifications and all users to receive marketing emails and content newsletters. It offers an unmissable opportunity to develop daily contact with a user.
- Higher retention. Retention and engagement are highly correlated, and apps are an essential tool to build habit and loyalty. Therefore, by getting a user to download and use the app they will become more likely to renew.
The vital elements to promote the app as part of an onboarding journey
- Pages embedded into the online journey that demonstrate the subscription benefits immediately after a user has subscribed and that link directly through to the app store.
- Dedicated emails sent in a series at regular intervals. These should include a full introduction to all services that you offer (i.e. newsletters, podcasts) as well as highlighting the benefits of downloading the app.
- Paid and organic social campaigns targeted to new users and tailored so that users who have already taken the onboarding steps don't continue to get prompts. This also allows you to experiment with highlighting different benefits based on user profiles.
- Newsletters can promote both downloads and app opens. We generally see success where calls to action are embedded within the newsletter content so that they don't look like an advertisement.
- Smart banners on your mobile site that link through to the app store. Pugpig Smart Banners are an effective way of re-directing a user to the app store if they don't have the native app installed or offering them the option to open it if they do.
What Pugpig Consulting can do to help you with onboarding
With our years of experience in the publishing industry, we can help you design an onboarding strategy that fits your business model, your content strategy and your user base. We will work with you to set KPIs, ensuring that onboarding is not just a goal in itself but works to increase engagement with your products in the long term. If you'd like to discuss further, contact Pugpig Consulting at firstname.lastname@example.org