Your idea has turned into a reality. You have successfully launched your app, marketed it, and received a good response. It has been downloaded by over hundreds and thousands of viewers. Hurray!

in app marketing strategies

Are you done? Is it over and time to move on to the next venture? Hell, no! If your app is on the market and getting a healthy number of daily downloads, it’s time for some solid action to make users engage with the app. It shouldn’t be downloaded and forgotten.

If you’re to drive revenues, you’ll have to devise marketing strategies to be deployed within the app. Better known as in-app marketing, these strategies are targeted to the app users and not non-users.

What is in-app marketing?

In-app marketing is a marketing campaign deployed within the mobile application. Basically, these are in-app communication techniques to promote users to take the desired action. The aim is to guide, engage, retain, upsell, or market the app features to the users who are actively using the app. The goal that is to be achieved with in-app marketing is tied to what action you want your app users to take within the app.

Some of the communication tactics you use in-app are-

in-app marketing
  • Informing users of the latest features, hardly-used features, updated features, or relevant features that they have missed.

  • Onboarding them with better user experiences

  • Promoting products/services and in-app purchases

  • Encouraging them to engage more with the app

  • Developing interest in referral programs, loyalty rewards, or incentivizing social shares so that more people download the app

  • Encouraging users to leave feedback and reviews or answer surveys

  • Providing better customer services through confirmation messages, welcome messages, and more.

The main goal of in-app marketing is to personalize onboarding, increase feature adoption, increase customer base, collect user feedback, and get the users back to using the app frequently thus increasing customer retention. You convince the users of your app’s value and deliver on their expectations.

What is the need for in-app marketing?

Of late, businesses have learned that user retention is more crucial than customer acquisition. Retaining users cost less than acquiring new users and improves the overall lifetime value. Having a reasonable retention rate can also be taken as a signal of your brand’s trustworthiness.

As the focus shifts to user retention, brands are turning to in-app marketing strategies to prioritize frequent app usage by contextual communication relevant to the users.

Do not confuse in-app marketing strategies with push notifications or email marketing. Push notification is to nudge a non-active app user to return to the app as is the case with emails. But in-app marketing is for users who are already inside the app and using it. In-app marketing to the users at the right time can nudge them to take definitive actions that will be beneficial to your sales.

1. In-app marketing improves user-experiences

improves user-experiences

In-app marketing is not about sales every time. It is to make users comfortable with your app. You can use in-app marketing to-

Take a product-based approach to improve user experiences. It, in turn, will lead to users returning to the app frequently.

2. It helps gather insights from users

insights from users

With feedback and surveys, you can understand how users feel about your brand and the app. You can also gather information on user pain points when it comes to improving your product.

3. It helps gather insights from users

With in-app marketing, you can control when the app messages are triggered and to whom. It empowers you to get as specific as you want which is not the case with emails or push notifications.

What are the types of in-app marketing strategies?

In-app marketing can be run in various forms. Note that, a combination of these strategies is more effective than looking for results in a single technique. Also, the results may not be visible instantly. But it definitely helps in the long run.

1. In-app notifications

In-app notifications are visible to the user only when they open the app. Unlike push notifications that pop on the screen to attract users back to the app, in-app notifications are subtle and are used to make the user stick around the app.

In-app notifications
  • You can alert users of new features in the app

  • You can also draw attention to existing features that haven’t seen much traction

  • You can use them to get users to opt-in for emails or push notifications.

  • Use in-app notifications to share updates

  • Make value-added suggestions using this feature.

  • Many apps nowadays use in-app notifications to build good habits such as reminding them of a daily challenge or urging them to open a page to get started.

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2. In-app messages using tooltips

You might be familiar with the onboarding process when you open an app for the first time. Messages in a box appear one after the other telling you of the app features or guiding you from one activity to another. This makes learning easy for new users. This in-app messaging using tooltips, though used with onboarding, can be used at any time. For instance, you can use it to introduce functionality that may not be popular.

In-app messages using tooltips
  • Use in-app messages using tooltips to help the user navigate through the app

  • Use them for the initial onboarding process

  • Make the users aware of any features that they haven’t used to date

  • Make the users aware of any shortcuts if you observe they need that to perform frequent tasks.

One way to make the in-app messages using tooltips work is to show them when someone clicks on them as opposed to them being popped up too often with a high intrusion rate.

3. In-app walkthroughs

When you combine a sequence of in-app messages using tooltips to explain the features of the app and help navigate the users through the app, you get an in-app walkthrough.

In-app walkthroughs

Almost similar to a product tour, the in-app walkthrough doesn’t dump the entire tour all at once. It starts with the basic features enough for the user to start using the app and then gradually introduces other features as and when required. This increases the user experience as the app users can better retain what they have learned from the in-app walkthroughs.

4. In-app modals

These are in-app messages or pop-ups that require you to perform any action like clicking on the CTA button before you’re allowed to go forward.

In-app modals

These are overlays that sit on top of the mobile application. They are often semi-transparent giving users a peek at what is behind them. The mobile modals can be categorized into three forms.

a. Pop-ups

The popular in-app marketing tool, pop-ups are hated but necessary as they serve a purpose.


For instance, you can use pop-ups for push notification permissions, location service opt-ins, access permissions, action confirmation, or reviews.

b. Partial overlays

Partial overlays take up part of the screen and have varied features.

Partial overlays

They can be used to make exciting announcements or offers within the app. They can also be used for in-app tutorials to walk the users through new features or updates.

c. Fullscreen

Fullscreen modals are used to tell the users something important that requires their undivided attention.


It is generally used for any confirmation of critical actions or exceptional app feature updates.

5. In-app surveys

In-app surveys are done to gather useful feedback from users. The objective is to analyze the feedback results and improve user experiences.

In-app surveys

The feedback may not be limited to the app usage experience. You can deliver in-app survey messages to obtain valuable data about any features or functions of your app.

6. In-app videos

In-app videos are usually short-length videos (30 secs or less) and are aimed to educate or inform the user. These can be used to highlight app features or for offers.

Strategies to use in-app marketing for your business growth

In-app marketing involves a lot of methodologies and having the right set to connect with the users is crucial for the app’s success. This includes in-app communication techniques to encourage users to use the app, drive revenues, and make them come back for more.

There is no general rule for designing your in-app marketing strategy. It will vary depending on the platform, app format, user demographics, and needs. But what’s important is making your app features easily accessible for the users so that they get maximum value for downloading and using the app. Let’s see the strategies for in-app marketing to be implemented for increasing user retention rates.

1. Define your app marketing goal

Before your start applying the in-app marketing techniques, ask yourself what you want to achieve from it. List the challenges your users are facing with the app. Determine the techniques you need to implement in different stages of the user journey. Knowing what you want to achieve from the in-app marketing techniques gives you a perspective on its implementation.

Define your app marketing goal

Before your start applying the in-app marketing techniques, ask yourself what you want to achieve from it. List the challenges your users are facing with the app. Determine the techniques you need to implement in different stages of the user journey. Knowing what you want to achieve from the in-app marketing techniques gives you a perspective on its implementation.

2. Design the in-app marketing techniques

Now, it’s time to design the in-app marketing strategies. At which point of the user journey are you going to implement the pop-ups or tooltips? Which feature in the app requires in-app messages through tooltips? How will you onboard new users? Create UI pattern elements using app design services or available third-party tools.

3. Test your campaign before deploying it

A good in-app marketing strategy, or any marketing strategy for that matter, has to be tested before it is deployed on the app. Create A/B campaigns and constantly experiment with what works best. Even a minor tweak can result in a considerable difference in user experience.

And don’t just test the campaigns on all users. Instead, segment users and test the campaigns for groups. Use different in-app techniques such as pop-ups or tooltips to know which gives the best results. In fact, you have to constantly keep experimenting with your marketing strategies to optimize your goals.

4. Analyze results

Once you have tested and deployed the in-app marketing strategies, it’s time for results!

Analyze results

There are some crucial marketing KPIs like the customer acquisition cost, retention rate, customer lifetime value, and so on that have to be analyzed and measured with respect to your campaign. You can also use third-party tools to analyze the data and measure the effectiveness of your in-app marketing campaign. Find out which works best and focus on improving it. See what’s not working for you and try tweaking for better results.

Additional tips to help you in your in-app marketing strategies:

  • Like any traditional marketing campaign, know your audience to ensure your message resonates well with their interests. Targeted or user-segmented marketing approaches have proven to be more successful than for a general audience.

  • Your in-app marketing campaign has to incorporate the latest trends. You have to take advantage of the newest device and software capabilities even if it means changing the campaign frequently. Come up with new ideas to promote your app features and updates. Monitor the trends to see what tactics are employed by apps that rank on the top.

  • Focus each in-app marketing experience on individual user goals. Have a well-defined purpose and make the in-app messages non-obtrusive without overwhelming the users.

  • Make your in-app messaging interesting for the users by including gamification. Rewarding badges for task completion or points for using an app feature successfully will motivate users to use your app better and improve their experiences.

What to avoid during in-app marketing?

avoid during in-app marketing

While in-app marketing may seem to be an attractive proposition, businesses should refrain from overdoing it. They should not interrupt a user from enjoying their experience. Communication should be clear and concise.

Also, avoid using multiple CTAs in your app messages. Decide on the message you want the users to focus on or take action. Adjust the priority of the messages. Your messages have to attract attention and not end up being ignored by the users.


Are you ready to master the art of in-app marketing?

In-app marketing is tricky, but once you master it, it will prove to be effective for your marketing strategies. But first, a well-designed mobile app is necessary to get in more customers and to offer a personalized experience.

avoid during in-app marketing

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