Customer Activation

The 3 Rules of Mobile Adoption

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Mobile disengagement and churn are known problems across industries and platforms. Mobile product managers are challenged to build product experiences that not only wow users visually, but engage them during first use and keep them coming back again and again. Weā€™ll share 3 must-know rules of mobile adoption and strategies to keep your users engaged.

Marie Lunney:
Hey, everyone. Welcome to today's session, The Three Rules of Mobile Adoption. My name is Marie Lunney and I am a senior marketing manager here at WalkMe and I specialize in product adoption. So I actually come from a customer success background and have helped hundreds of our customers drive product adoption of their own product, website, and even their mobile applications. And I'm also joined here today by Liz Gilliam. How's it going?

Liz Gilliam:
Hi there. Thanks for having me, Marie. A little about myself. I'm new to the WalkMe team and I joined as a director of product marketing based here in Raleigh, North Carolina. I have a little over a decade of experience in product adoption, driving that with high-growth startups to large enterprises. So I'm happy to share that today.

Marie Lunney:
Awesome. So without further ado, we'll dive into the content that you're here to learn about, the three rules of mobile adoption, and we're actually going to stop sharing our screen and we'll pop up back at the end, but let's dive in.

Liz Gilliam:
Sounds great.

Marie Lunney:
Cool.

Liz Gilliam:
So as we mentioned, we're going to be discussing the top three rules of mobile adoption today. And we're really sharing this from the perspective of having worked with product managers, customer success leaders, and marketing leaders, trying to drive onboarding, retention, and growth, specifically in their mobile applications for almost the last 10 years. And we're going to do this in three parts. First and foremost, you can't talk about mobile adoption without acknowledging the mobile market we're in today. Some of this is a little obvious, but it has to be said so that we understand the context of why mobile adoption is so crucially important.

Liz Gilliam:
Second, we're going to share the top three mobile adoption best practices that we've seen among our most successful companies. So a lot of what we're pulling from here is not theory or idea, it's what we've actually seen in practice that's worked. And then part three, I think is the most exciting it's actual in-app examples of those best practices and customers sharing mobile content or user experiences that we've seen move the needle. It's one thing to kind of talk about strategy or best practice to drive adoption. We've all heard a thousand of these before, but it's another thing entirely to see them applied successfully in practice.

Liz Gilliam:
So to kick us off, let's talk about the mobile market today. This feels like the obligatory starting point, where we have to start by stating the obvious. We've all seen this graphic before, but it usually stops here with this guy with a briefcase, with some story about how we become a digital-first society, dependent on SAS products and services, with service providers increasingly thinking about developing mobile first strategies. But let's call it. The world is not moving to mobile-first anymore. It is mobile-first. And from what we've seen with so many product managers, founders, CEOs, CIOs, probably including most of you on the phone today, new products are developing mobile-first user interfaces, often with on-demand applications before they even consider the web alternative.

Liz Gilliam:
And among our more established SAS companies, most traditional web offerings at least have a mobile alternative, even if it has limited functionality and where mobile alternatives aren't available, we've all seen users switch providers for something easier and simpler to use. So all pretty obvious, right? Let's move on. Given that the mobile space has matured so much. One would think that we'd have mobile adoption totally figured out, but from what I've seen. And I think Marie, you too, we know that mobile offerings are struggling with the same challenges we've all experienced in web applications.

Liz Gilliam:
I know most of you are intimately familiar with the challenges on the board today. So as we're walking through, I want you to kind of think in your head, in your office, in your room, "Yeah, that's me." These aren't new challenges, but they're exaggerated and mobile, where the fight for user attention is most fierce. And they're the common things. High churn, extended time to market, dependencies on developers cycles, or maybe it's an app release. Low feature adoption, tracking and monitoring issues. And of course, that advocacy, evangelism and growth. So understanding that ecosystem, it's now important to understand what we actually do about it. What are the top three best practices we see across businesses that have figured it out? That have daily active use, loyal customers, and growing applications? Marie, tell us about the top three rules.

Marie Lunney:
Awesome. So being a part of the product-led summit last January, I know that we likely have a group of talented PMs, designers, developers on the phone today, and I'm sure many of you have actually have experience in developing great apps. So why aren't people actually using them correctly or as we'd like? And that's the hard part. Where the money is made is getting people to actually adopt them. And an example I'm sure you're familiar with, kind of bringing it into layman's terms, is a great TV show that critics write awesome reviews about, but yet no one watches it and it gets canceled.

Marie Lunney:
It doesn't matter how good that TV show is or if the critics write fan reviews. If the fans themselves aren't there and making it a habit of sitting down every Sunday at 9:00 PM, and watching it, and having a conversation about it, and content, yes, I am referring to Game of Thrones and I'm looking for a replacement if any of you have recommendations, it's just not going to be an adopted TV show. So apps are no different. And one of the great things about working here at WalkMe is we actually have a lot of access to big data and across all businesses of all sizes and verticals.

Marie Lunney:
So actually earlier this year, we took a step back and we reviewed our user data across hundreds of thousands of WalkMe users and third-party sources as well to better understand digital adoption best practices, and specifically in mobile. What we found out brings us to mobile adoption rule number one. Mobile adoption strategy starts with simple, personalized, and automated user experiences. You, Liz, me, everyone listening, we are users and we want to be treated as individuals, not segments. The first eye opening statistic we came across actually showed how important it is for first impressions.

Marie Lunney:
And we found that first impressions need to happen within the first six seconds. That's it. So before I started the sentence until now, your user needed to see value, and that's pretty crazy to think about. The second area that caught our eye is that workflows need to be really short. We don't have attention spans. When we aggregate our own user data, we found that processes less than five steps, that take no more than 70 seconds to complete, had a 70% completion rate. Getting 70% of any self-service audience to do exactly what you want is a huge win.

Marie Lunney:
Now, that also means if a user clicks or taps a button more than five times to get where they're going or looking for, they're going to start losing interest. As you've guessed, our outcomes get worse as we approach 10 steps. When workflows contain just 10 steps or take more than 120 seconds, completion drops to less than 50%. and Liz, whether you're an app provider of entertainment or serves a business function, if there's real action, your users need to take and less than 50% of them do that, that's a recipe for failure. So what do you do? Identify and automate. If you leave with one big takeaway here, it's that you identify and automate. Once you have identified what your user is trying to do, automate the rest.

Marie Lunney:
This leads to our third big data finding, which is that users can complete a 19-step task in just 120 seconds. This means automating parts of the workflow that make users three times more productive and efficient. So one thing we've seen in digital adoption that is so overlooked is user ability. If your users feel capable and they feel like they are getting value and from your application and feel capable while doing it, they are going to be a customer for life. We will adopt any application that helps us get something done and we feel smart and efficient doing it. So in short, keep it short and sweet, precisely less than five steps and 70 seconds and automate the rest.

Marie Lunney:
So up next, we're actually going to talk about mobile analytics. So this brings us into rule number two. Use data to corroborate feedback and recommendations of UX challenges. On the feedback side, we're talking about customer interviews, focus groups, user feedback sessions, live user testing, all of those real insights that build true customer empathy. But what we see all too often, and I think we can be guilty of this as well here, is that when we see a scathing review or the "I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed," type of support ticket, and hear product feedback from CSMs, we are so quick to jump to fixing that problem and going straight to the development teams and getting into reactive mode in lieu of looking at the data to corroborate those forms of feedback.

Marie Lunney:
So while both forms of feedback are important, qualitative and quantitative, it's important to remember to balance that feedback with data. And it takes a certain type of person to read a review. I don't know about you, Liz. I just looked at my Yelp account and I've been using Yelp for at least six years, and I've only left two reviews. One of them, I think, was to get a deal. One of them was because of the service was just that upstanding that I really needed to give that feedback, a positive feedback. But for the most part, a majority of us and myself included, don't give feedback.

Marie Lunney:
And it takes a really special person to go out of their way and give feedback, whether it's positive or that scathing review. And we can't hang on those small majority. We need to lean on data to corroborate this type of emotional feedback that we're hearing. So if you see something that raises a problem or an opportunity, take a moment and breathe first. And before you run to your developers to go fix that problem, make sure that it's a real problem, and for all of your users, or at least a large set of your users.

Liz Gilliam:
Marie, we were having this conversation with a client probably a few weeks ago and brought up the same best practice or recommendation. And he said, "Oh my gosh, can I actually get that on a poster that I can hang in my office, in my wall?" And his point was, we all know this. We know we should get user feedback, but then corroborate it with data. And then from there, we'll make predictive improvements in our applications. But he said, "In reality, I have too many stakeholders who feel and act and behave differently. And I'm constantly chasing user feedback or that angry review. And my CEOs in my office daily saying, 'Oh my gosh, how did that happen? Please go make this priority number one.'"

Liz Gilliam:
And the point that he was making is it needs to be part of your natural DNA that you are constantly going back to the source of quantitative data that's representative of the full segment, and that it's part of your day-to-day to proactively get in front of these in-the-moment demands and needs from other business stakeholders. So find an application, we don't care what it is, that's giving you this data and information that you can pull up every day for that person and say, "Hey, look, we're monitoring this. We know what's going on. We prioritize the right features. And maybe we've even gotten a little predictive about it to know where to go improve things ahead of time."

Marie Lunney:
So that's actually a great transition, Liz, into our last rule of adoption, which is use low code tools to build and optimize easy user flows. So as you identify areas of opportunity in your mobile app, either where your users are encountering challenging user flows, or maybe it's a long series of clicks to get to that value, you want to encourage the right user behavior. And the problem is it can be hard to solve for every user, every challenge, and every opportunity without maxing out your lucrative mobile development resources. And just to tie back in our first role of mobile adoption is you really want to make your experiences personalized.

Marie Lunney:
So that's where low code mobile engagement tools come in. Save your premiere developers for developing those really high value features and functionality and leave usability to a low code tool, something that can provide in-spp guidance, engagement, improving onboarding, featured option retention, and ultimately increasing your bottom line growth. And most importantly, something that you can build and optimize in real time. The moment you discover a need, of course, corroborated by data without going through an app store release. And we're not talking about UI or UX here, I just want to clarify that. We're talking about adoption. Use your app developers to focus on designing and innovating beautiful applications, and then use these local tools to drive adoption of them.

Liz Gilliam:
I think it's important to call out and here, Marie, again, it's a little obligatory. We don't care what tool you use to do this. Obviously, it's something we're passionate here at WalkMe, or if you choose to build this yourself. But the best practice here is really important and we've just seen it work over and over and over again. So kind of design it your way unique to your company, but just make sure it's worked in somewhere.

Liz Gilliam:
So we want to follow these three rules by sharing some real life product examples that drive mobile adoption. And we have to start kind of with another obligatory one that we see so much in mobile, and that's the industry standard of a welcome carousel. We've all seen this. You pop up your app for the first time, and it's probably a three to five swipe panel telling you some of the highlights in the app that you can get excited about. These are an industry standard. We see them in a lot of apps, and they can generate some good user excitement, but I think it's important to call out here, from the data we've reviewed at WalkMe, we actually do not see an impact on user behavior based on these carousels. And it kind of makes sense. They're a little bit like a slideshow presentation that you get in a classroom, which we know isn't an effective way to train.

Liz Gilliam:
And so carousels, frankly, while exciting, aren't great ways to drive user behavior. And so our recommendation would be either consider something else as your first user experience, or if you're really bound to the welcome carousel, consider pairing it with a call to action to engage the users at the end. For example, in this, you might click the "start now" button at the bottom, which kicks off a guided walkthrough into the app to get to the thing they actually want to get to. But they're unlikely to retain the information and recall it even seconds later that you showed them in the carousel.

Liz Gilliam:
An option that we'd suggest and lieu of a welcome carousel would be something like this, an onboarding checklist. And based on our data, this has a much more significant correlation with driving active use, which leads to that retention that you want. And the reason you do this is because you can ensure your users complete the most high value tasks in your app first. If you can even infer this information and you know that user's intent based on action on your website or somewhere else, that's even better. But in the event that you don't have that data, try this. And you'll see a few examples here. If this were, for example, a mobile app for a telecom provider, you could upload your photo or add your cell phone number. And hey, if somebody misspelled that, you could even come in here and fix that on the fly. We have to laugh about that.

Liz Gilliam:
Another idea here would be to actually automate some of these tasks. Like Marie was talking about earlier in the presentation today, if you can go ahead and take a user straight there without having to do tat by tap guidance, we know that users are willing to complete a far more complex activity and might do four of these items on the list instead of just two. Another pro tip that we've seen, give kudos to your users as they complete tasks. They might not do all five of these at the same time. So you want them to be able to find out where they left off later, or you might need to nudge them if they get stuck or don't complete those last two. We've all seen the really good examples from leading tools like Asana that have the unicorns when you check off the task. That may or may not be appropriate for every use case, but they're really giving and rewarding positive user behavior in a great way.

Marie Lunney:
So the next feature that we've seen is highlighting new features that are released to the application. So sure many of you have caught on by now, but LinkedIn released a feature where you can not only like a post, but you can add different reactions. I think there's a insightful or awe-inspiring reactions. And if you're a mobile user, this isn't quite intuitive. You have to click and hold and then be able to access these different types of reactions. So what we saw is LinkedIn actually highlighted the new feature and gave guidance on how to engage and use this feature, which instantly is going to see massive amounts of adoption of this new feature while you're making your user capable, which is something that we talked about earlier as well.

Liz Gilliam:
One of the call-outs you have to make here, because I've seen this done poorly so many times, and you'll see this on the pro tip here. Of course, if you're going to go to the work of highlighting a feature, make sure it's actionable. So you could actually click that like button there during the guide that you're seeing on the screen today. LinkedIn definitely allows you to do that, but sometimes we've seen folks just miss that last step, where they do the highlight. You can't actually click it.

Marie Lunney:
So the last example that we have here is personalized engagement, driving a user into your application. So we've shared different ways to engage your user once they're in the application. But what if they're not even logging in? How do we get them in there? So we recommend that you engage users outside of the application via push notifications, text messages, or even emails. Some of the examples that we have here are engaging users that haven't previously been engaged to remind them about really high-value features within your application and get them excited again. Another way that we can do this is using data on your user about previous user actions. For example, we see here on the screen is talking about vacation time. So maybe I bought data plan for traveling to Iceland and the app has this information. It can remind me that vacation is coming up based off of the dates that I chose and I can go back in there and adjust my roaming plan accordingly. And thus, engaging me and bringing me back into that application.

Liz Gilliam:
Thanks Marie. So we'd like to close out with a recap one more time just before we leave for member. Okay. What did we just do over the last few minutes? We talked about three things. The top mobile challenges in the industry. We talked about the three rules of mobile adoption based on our data and experience. And that's building simple, personalized, and automatic experiences using data to corroborate feedback, not running after the latest user review. And of course, leveraging low code tools to quickly build and optimize easy user flows no matter what that tool is. We also showed you a couple of in-app examples of things that really moved the needle in mobile adoption. And from these, we hope you were able to take something actionable away from this that you can implement tomorrow.

Marie Lunney:
So that is everything we have for you today. If you'd like to continue the conversation, have any questions or recommendations to replace my Game of Thrones addiction, please reach out to us. We have a link on our speaking profile and we would love to hear from you. And thanks again for joining, Liz.

Liz Gilliam:
Thanks everyone.

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Gretchen Duhaime
Liz Gilliam
Product Marketing Director at WalkMeā„¢
Liz Gilliam is a Director of Product Marketing at WalkMe, based in Raleigh, NC. With more than ten years of experience driving product adoption across global product and adoption marketing in the B2B SaaS space, she's passionate about understanding human behavior and creating delightful user experiences.