App engagement is at the core of any app-focused and mobile-first company. It is defined as the process of creating and nurturing valuable relationships with app users. App engagement is measured with various parameters, including user retention and LTV, and has a direct effect on the profitability and success of mobile-related businesses. Ironically, such an important part of app success does not usually have a clear owner. Responsibility for app engagement is frequently spread out over various departments, which may cause lack of focus and a negative impact on retention and user LTV.
Should there be a dedicated position in an app-focused company who’s solely responsible for mobile engagement? And, if so, to which department should this person belong and what qualifications should he or she possess?
The Three Possible App Engagement Owners
These are the relevant options to creating an effective engagement-focused role:
CRM – Customer Relationship Management departments manage many user-facing processes, such as sales automation, lead management, contract negotiation, customer data analysis, customer support, and more. When it comes to the communication aspect of app engagement, there’s not better department for the job.
Marketing – In the app industry, and specifically in B2C apps, most of the resources of the marketing department are focused on growth or user acquisition. As the definition of ‘growth’ broadened over the years, tracking the performance of any marketing campaign stretched further than the first install. Growth now takes conversion, retention, and LTV into consideration, in order to better calculate ROI. For this reason, it seems perfectly reasonable for the marketing department to monitor and manage app user engagement.
Product – The product team is responsible for the core of any app, and having users engaged with an app is at the heart of the app creation process. Whether app engagement is natively inherent in the app design or more dependent on communication, the natural owner of app engagement is the product department, at least until the app is launched.
Is there a definitive answer as to which department is meant to manage app engagement? Probably not. When it comes to size and structure, app-focused companies are not created equal. Moreover, each of the options above bears some disadvantages. Having a CRM for mobile apps has become a trend only in recent years, and used mostly by medium or large companies. Most marketing departments have yet to structure analytical expertise from UA to engagement and retention, other than tracking it. And finally, product expertise usually lacks any marketing experience which is vital to understanding the impact of engagement on user acquisition cost and ROI.
So, regardless of the department to which the owner of app engagement belongs, the solution lies in a person’s multiple capabilities. The ideal candidate should hold at least some Marketing and Product experience. The company should empower the app engagement owner with the ability and authority to suggest, manage, and oversee changes not only in communication, but also in the product itself. Lastly, anyone in charge of app engagement should be equipped with proper analytics that tracks the entire user journey, from ad impression to the end of the user lifecycle.
In such a competitive environment for apps, focusing on engagement has become crucial. Defining the role and responsibilities, and carrying out these engagement efforts, can scale apps into great businesses.