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Personalized App Onboarding: Successful Apps Case Study

App onboarding is the process of introducing users to a mobile app. With 25% of users abandoning apps after first use, onboarding can sometimes improve user retention by as much as 50%.

In this article we will look into how making the onboarding process more personalized helps achieve two other goals – improving user in-app experience and collecting additional information about app users.

For example, Blinkist, a book summary and podcast service, asks users to choose their topics of interest and favorite formats during onboarding. This improves the overall in-app user experience and allows the app owners to group users according to their interest profile to recommend paid book insights and podcasts to them later.

personalized app onboarding
During onboarding, Blinkist gets an accurate picture of user preferences to provide them with the best content that fits their needs.

Data gathered during onboarding

Onboarding can be an effective tool for collecting additional user information even before users start using the app.

User preferences

If your app features lots of different content, it makes perfect sense to allow users to pick topics that interest them most. This upfront effort can boost retention – when users are shown what they want right from the very first moment, they are more likely to visit the app more often and spend more time on it.

For instance, TikTok asks users to choose topics of interest during onboarding to feed them relevant content. This information can also be used later for personalized advertising.

personalized onboarding
TikTok’s onboarding sequence includes the splash screen, interest selection and a simple onboarding screen. This is followed by the sign-in or login options.

Personal goals

During onboarding, you can directly ask users why they downloaded the app. This usually comes in the form of a “Choose your goals” screen with a list of predefined goals.

This approach helps users make sure the app is well suited for their needs while allowing the app owner to gain valuable insights about the audience. It is no secret that it is easier to achieve a goal that is known.

Calm, a sleep and meditation app, asks users to select from predefined goals such as “Better Sleep” or “Reduce Stress” and then provides a list of personalized programs.

personalized apps
Calm onboarding: the "take a deep breath" splash screen, goal selection and request to turn on push notifications.

Users' physical characteristics

Onboarding can also be used to collect weight, height, sex and other physical details of the user – a common feature in fitness and healthy diet apps.

The BetterMe Fitness app has 27 interactive onboarding screens where the user is asked to input data or select the relevant option – from current and goal weight to diet and sleep. The app relies on this information when building a fitness program and a daily routine.

personalize app

Once all data have been provided, BetterMe Fitness develops a personalized fitness plan and builds a chart showing progress towards the goal weight if the user sticks to the plan.

But the personalized plan is a paid option. We see an interesting psychological effect at play here – the user has taken the trouble to complete all the fields and is looking forward to seeing the result. This may become key to either making a purchase or never returning to the app.

how to personalize an app
For users without paid access to the personalized plan, BetterMe Fitness is one of the many fitness apps where you have to select workouts on your own.

Engagement in the topic

If the app measures progress, onboarding can be used to assess the user's knowledge of the topic with an option to jump straight in and start learning without having to revise the basics.

Duolingo, a language learning app, onboards users by asking them to choose the language and their goal and then take a test. Based on the test results, the user can skip two or three units or go straight to the topics that need revision.

personalized app onboarding experience
Duolingo’s onboarding focuses on users’ goals and uses personalization to improve the further learning experience.

Make use of data collected during onboarding

Data gathered during onboarding can be used in future app releases, creative materials and ad campaigns based on insights about users’ goals.

Moreover, additional user data and an analytics system such as MyTracker can be leveraged for audience segmentation by certain attributes to power campaigns and display personalized offers in-app.

Non-personalized onboarding

If your app's onboarding is not personalized and changing that is not on your to-do list, you can still take advantage of MyTracker Personalize to get personalized recommendations for your app users. Read our case study to see how Hustle Castle managed to increase ARPU in one player segment by 23% with MyTracker Personalize.

Tags: personalization