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How to Effectively Encourage Mobile App User Registration

Polly Alluf
Polly Alluf

Tips for Motivating Mobile Users to Sign Up

When it comes to creating, delivering, and optimizing apps, there are many questions that must be answered.

One of the most challenging questions to answer is “When is the right time to ask for registration?”  

Done improperly or at the wrong time, it could cause users to churn. And when users churn, you have to work twice as hard to get them back.

Many app owners and marketers may think that they know how and when to ask users to register, but the most effective way to determine this is by testing and experimenting with the content and timing of the registration requests.  

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Asking Users to Register

For some apps, registration is an obvious requirement for accessing certain functionality. For example, banking apps may be able to locate the nearest ATM without registration, but to display account information, users must be registered.

If your app’s core functionality can only be accessed once users are registered, as is the situation with the banking apps, you should clearly explain the benefits to users when you ask them to register.

Otherwise, finding the right time to ask users to register, may be a little trickier. It might also require some testing until you get it just right. Your aim is to give your users enough functionality without registering that it will drive their desire to register.

How to Drive Registration

Think of your users as being in a relationship with you. As in any relationship, there is give and take. The successful relationships are the ones that achieve a balance. In fact, consider the dating scene. Coming up to attractive strangers and asking for their phone numbers rarely ends well; however, after an engaging conversation, when strangers want to get to know you better, they will be glad to offer their number.

To drive registration, give your users a chance to get to know your app. For example, a grocery store app may give users the ability to browse their inventory, view special deals, and add items to their shopping carts freely without registering. But when users want to create their own personal grocery lists or check out, the app asks for registration. In the relationship between app and user, the app needs to give value to drive the “take” of registration information.

Example of ClickTheCity App registration

The Best Registration Process

The best registration process is certainly not about the font you use or even the amount of information you collect. The best registration process is the one that is easiest and friendliest for the user.

While you want to keep the registration form brief, some apps may have customers who feel uncomfortable with a process that is too short, as it doesn’t seem secure. A friendly UX will give users a sense of security, and if it is a longer registration process, you could use a slider form that indicates progress.

Often, the easiest way to register is to link to social accounts. It’s fast, and users often prefer it for its ease. From your side, it often gives you access to all of the information you need, effortlessly. Make it very clear that you’re not going to use or share their data with any third party. Use privacy or regulation icons, as necessary.

The Worst Registration Process

If the best registration process is the friendly one, the worst is the annoying one.

  • Don't ask for registration as soon as users open the app. It may sound obvious, but there are thousands of apps out there that still require up-front registration
  • Don't ask for registration before users have had a chance to see the value in the app
  • Don't take anybody else’s word for it. Always test the timing as it relates to your target audience and their real-time actions

Perfect Timing

Experimenting with the timing for requesting registration is important, and the concept of “give and take” is crucial, here. You must choose the right time to offer your users something that will be of value to them based on their current activities (e.g. access to additional features) so that they will also give you something of value in return (e.g. their personal details and preferences).

For example, if yours is a Fandango-style movie app, you can track unregistered users who are looking at the list of movies and cinemas in your app. In order to get them to register, you must give them something of greater value, like access to movie critic reviews. Promising access to additional features, like critic reviews, that offer a higher value to the user is a fundamental tactic for driving registration. Your users know that in exchange for registering, they also receive something that is useful to them.  

You can also offer different levels of registration in cases where some users are not yet prepared to give all of their personal details. In the example of the movie app, people still need to submit their email addresses in order to purchase tickets, even if they do not create a profile within your system.

However, this minimum level of registration is a starting point for you to communicate and build trust with the users so that they will eventually feel comfortable enough to complete their profiles. Once they are familiar with your app and have good experiences using it, they will be more inclined to give you more information. 

Example of Movie Ticket registration from App

You probably already have a good idea as to when the compelling mobile moment is for your app, but once you experiment with it, you’ll be better able to determine the perfect time for requesting users to register and take advantage of it.

Image Credit: Jelena_Danilovic / Getty Images
Polly Alluf
Polly Alluf Member
Polly Alluf is the VP of Marketing at Insert, the first Codeless Mobile Engagement Platform. She loves everything about marketing, from digital to field and from branding to automation. Polly’s passion is data driven marketing and she considers herself very lucky, being a marketer whose target audience is enterprise marketers.