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How In‑App Messaging Can Increase Engagement

Discover how in‑app messaging can increase engagement with users, boost conversions, and enhance user satisfaction.

If you’re looking for a way to increase engagement and retention rates for your app and business, in-app messaging might be the perfect solution. You can use in-app messages for promotional, informational, and customer service purposes.

With in-app messaging, you can provide personalized experiences, improve retention rates, boost conversions, and enhance user satisfaction among active users. In-app messaging gives you a cost-effective way to reach your target audience and keep an open communication channel with them. But before you can implement in-app messaging into your business, you need to learn what types of in-app messages will work best for your business.

Here is a look at how you can effectively leverage in-app messaging and what pitfalls you need to look out for when utilizing these techniques.

What is in-app messaging?

In-app messaging is a form of direct, contextual, and highly targeted communication to an app user. An in-app message can take on various forms, including pop-ups, banners, and notifications.

These messages only occur within the app, unlike push notifications, which typically require an opt-in and occur outside the app. Also, in-app messaging doesn’t rely on an external or third-party messaging platform.

These messaging methods give you a lot of flexibility to engage with your app users. But you don’t have to use in-app messaging strictly for marketing. In-app messages can serve many purposes.

You can use the messages as a form of customer service, a way to notify users of updates, or to solicit valuable user feedback. How you use in-app messaging depends on the needs of your service, so don’t assume you can only use in-app messaging for marketing purposes.

Benefits of in-app messaging

Benefits of in-app messaging

From enhancing the customer experience to boosting engagement, in-app messaging provides a variety of benefits, including:

Provides a personalized experience

With in-app messaging, you can target existing customers and potential customers based on various criteria, such as:

  • Preferences
  • Location
  • Behaviors
  • How they use the app
  • The app version
  • Device type

Your messages can look and behave as if you meant them specifically for only that person. Some in-app message examples can include sending a friendly hello to a new user while giving them the information needed to start the user onboarding process. You can also send a reward and a message in the app to a loyal user to celebrate them using your app for six months, a year, or whatever length you choose.

Increases user engagement

In-app messaging, by nature, helps to increase engagement. You’re engaging with your users through your messages and strengthening your relationship with them. In this way, you facilitate two-way communication, which helps to make users feel more comfortable interacting with your app and your brand.

Use your messages to encourage users to try new things or highlight an underutilized feature. Maybe a timely message can give someone a needed advantage.

Ask your users to complete tasks, overcome challenges, or generally do more with your app. Reward their efforts through your in-app messaging platform. These things will all help to grow the level of engagement your users have with your app.

Improves retention rates

In-app messaging can help you retain users by reminding them of the value your app provides them. Your messages allow you to engage with your users in real-time. Give your users valuable content through your messages, and your retention rates will increase.

A satisfied user will stay with not just your app but with your brand. Use your in-app messaging platform to stay in contact with your users, reduce churn, gain user feedback, and continuously improve your offerings.

In that way, your loyal, existing users will keep coming back, even as you draw in new users with the same tactics.

Boosts conversions

You’re sending very targeted messages to people at specific and opportune times while they’re engaging with new features in your app. An in-app message can help someone decide to move forward with what your app offers.

In-app messages help to facilitate calls to direct action, and you can use that to prompt users or push a lead to convert. You can use in-app messaging to offer personalized promotions, discounts, and other value-heavy offers to increase the likelihood of a purchase.

Enhances user satisfaction

In-app messages can improve the customer experience in various ways while building more of a relationship between your brand and your users.

When done right, your messages will bring additional value to your users while also facilitating their needs. Any additional personalization you bring to your users will also make them feel closer to your brand.

Types of in-app messages

Types of in-app messages

There are several different types of in-app messages that you can use depending on your goals and the needs of your app users. They include:

Push notifications

Push notifications push messages directly to a user’s device. They’re great for time-sensitive messages and can help with engagement. However, too many push notifications arriving too often can annoy a user.

You can use push notifications to deliver breaking news, feature announcements, important reminders, or relevant alerts. More than anything else, push notifications must provide value. Your app users can turn off your push notifications at any time, so you want to make sure your messages are valuable and relevant.

In-app messages

As discussed, these messages show up in the app itself. You can use an in-app message to serve several purposes and present it to your app users in various ways.

These messages can display in-app notifications such as banners, pop-ups, or in-app inbox items. However, just make sure your messages aren’t distracting, disruptive, obtrusive, or unsightly.

In-app surveys

Use in-app surveys to gather user feedback, discover issues, make improvements, and increase your engagement with your app users. Ask them to rank features, make suggestions, give opinions, or speak about why they keep coming back. Gathering customer feedback will help you better understand your users.

Just make sure to avoid long or tedious surveys. Try to make them short, straightforward, and fun, if possible. Offering an incentive can help as well.


Chatbots and virtual assistants can answer questions, offer support, make recommendations, or help app users navigate some aspect of the app.

With a chatbot, you can offer more customer service to your users, which can work out especially well for smaller businesses that may not have the means or the need to hire someone to perform dedicated customer service.

Interactive content

Your in-app message doesn’t always have to look like a typical message. You can also use interactive content that can engage users while they engage with your app. Interactive content can consist of practically anything, from mini-games, to videos, to educational quizzes.

Nevertheless, you must ensure the content falls within the scope of your app and doesn’t clash with it. You may annoy users with something that doesn’t belong on your app, or you may offer too much and overload your user’s attention, which can lead to burnout.

Challenges of in-app messaging

While there are many benefits of in-app messaging, it also comes with challenges, such as:

Generic messages

You won’t see much engagement from boring or generic messages. Even when sending mundane update messages, try to make them more exciting. Make use of personalization tools so that even your generic messages will still speak to an individual in a personal way.

Sending too many messages

You want to engage your users, not annoy them. Too many messages can overwhelm your users and lead to user fatigue, which may make them want to avoid your app. You may have to do some testing to find the right balance.

Undelivered messages

Some users may block your messages in some way or another. Some platforms may not have the capability of delivering your messages properly, especially if you need scale.

So, encourage your app users to pay attention to your messages by sending out high-quality messages that provide value. You may also have a technical issue that goes unnoticed. Always monitor and track your messaging efforts to ensure they're on track with your goals.

Letting automation do too much of the work

Make use of automation, but don’t forget the personalization aspect that makes in-app messaging appealing. Relying too heavily on automated features can lead to diminishing returns. The more human the message feels, the more likely a user will engage with it.

Best practices for effective in-app messaging

If you want to make in-app messaging work for your business, consider implementing some of the following best practices to ensure your efforts are more effective:

Define your goals and measure them

What do you want to achieve by using in-app messaging? Define a measurable goal and use relevant metrics to track the results.

For example, are you looking for conversions as well as retention? Then make sure you keep that firmly at the forefront of your mobile marketing strategy.

When you define your goals beforehand, you can align your in-app messaging strategy with your business objectives and track the results.

Know your audience

Knowing your audience will help your brand in many ways. Your audience should drive every business decision you make, especially if you want to engage in personalized marketing.

Segment your audience to ensure the right users receive in-app messages designed specifically for them. Consider segmenting users based on behaviors, location, or preferences.

Make your messages clear, concise, and targeted

Clear, easy-to-understand messaging will help users take the direct actions you want them to and cut down on any potential confusion. You don’t want to send out a call to action that goes unanswered because your app users didn’t fully understand what your message meant.

Test and optimize your messaging

If a type of messaging isn’t working, then optimize it to make it more effective. You may need to switch to different messaging methods to achieve specific goals. Track the performance of your messages and always strive to improve.

Take advantage of all automation features

Automation saves you a lot more than time, and behavior-based automation still allows for targeting and some personalization. So, make use of it.

That time you save can go toward improving the app experience or investing in ways to bring more value to your app users. However, you still must make use of good practices, due diligence, and ongoing strategy development.

In-app messaging has an open rate of 75%. That's 45 times higher than email and three times higher than push notifications.

Drive engagement and user retention with in-app messaging

In-app messaging offers a tremendous number of benefits, including the ability to drive engagement and user retention. As a customer experience and service tool, you can’t really do better than in-app messaging. When combined with other forms of mobile messaging, you can develop a powerful mobile marketing strategy.

However, leveraging in-app messaging requires a platform that has all the tools needed to make the most of all your customer service and marketing needs. To that end, check out what Mailchimp has to offer. Mailchimp offers all the tools, services, and resources you need to improve your marketing efforts and grow your business.

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