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Diego Trefny Head of Business & Strategy

How to improve user activation with a proper UX strategy?

Product Design & Development
19 Apr 2024 5 minutes

The user activation process is a carefully designed journey that takes users from being passive observers to active and committed participants in the digital ecosystem. In simple terms, it's a set of strategic steps that reveal the product's value to users, capturing their attention and getting them involved in a world of possibilities.

How to increase user activation through an activation strategy?

Let's begin by addressing the question: What is an activation strategy? 

An activation strategy aims to generate interest, awareness, and excitement among potential customers or users, ultimately driving them to take a specific action, such as making a purchase, signing up for a service, or participating in a campaign.

Now, a crucial set of key elements proves essential for achieving success. When skillfully implemented, these foundational components unlock the complete potential of user activation, leading to a significant enhancement in activation rates.

Let's explore these UX strategies, tips and resources to grasp their transformative potential.

Nielsen Norman Group reports that the first 10 seconds of interaction with a digital product are crucial in determining whether a user stays or goes.

A) Onboarding Experiences:

The initial user experience is critical in setting the tone for the customer's relationship with the product. A clear, efficient, and painless path to the desired outcome is essential for good onboarding. Understanding user needs and addressing any issues they face is key.

When building an onboarding process keep in mind these key aspects:

Clarity and Simplicity: The onboarding process should be clear and straightforward. Users should quickly understand how to use the product and how it benefits them.

User-Centric Approach: To create an effective onboarding process, it's crucial to understand the desired outcomes of your users and anticipate their needs.

Minimize Frustration: Ensure the onboarding experience doesn't lead to irritation or confusion. Address any potential pain points and provide assistance.

B) Feedback Loops:

Feedback loops play a crucial role in user engagement. Products that reward users with feelings of accomplishment, recognition, or success tend to retain users better. Curiosity, purpose, and mystery can drive these positive feelings.

Keep in mind these 3 tips for creating successful feedback loops:

Intrinsic Gratification: Understand what motivates your users intrinsically and incorporate features that fulfill those needs. This could be a sense of accomplishment, recognition, or mastery.

Curiosity and Mystery: Design your product to keep users curious and engaged by occasionally introducing new features, content, or challenges.

Emotional Rewards: Beyond tangible benefits, consider emotional rewards like praise, acknowledgment, or simply making users feel good about their actions within your product.

C) User Commitments:

Balancing ease and effort is essential in retaining users. By asking users to make small commitments, such as providing specific information or performing certain actions, you can create a sense of investment without overwhelming users.

In order not to overwhelm the user, you need to consider:

Balancing Effort: Finding the right balance is crucial. Ask for user investment, but be mindful not to make the process too complicated or demanding too much too soon.

Timing: Micro-commitments can be introduced gradually throughout the user journey, ensuring users feel a sense of progression and investment in the product.

D) Early-On Engagement:

Encouraging users to interact with your product immediately can lead to more involvement. Avoid gating access with too many sign-up or profile information requirements. The goal is to make users enjoy the product as soon as possible.

Consider following these best practices:

Reducing Barriers: Make it as easy as possible for users to start using your product. Reduce sign-up or profile information requirements, especially in the early stages.

Positive First Impressions: The initial interaction with the product should be positive, providing users with a taste of what's to come. This can lead to better user engagement and retention.

User Empowerment: Users feel in control when they can follow and complete tasks in their own time. This can lead to a sense of achievement and satisfaction.

E) Creating Habit-Forming Experiences:

To seamlessly integrate your digital product into users' daily routines, consider employing the following strategies, functionalities, and tools:

Include External Triggers:
  • Strategic Prompts: Leverage notifications, emails, and alerts to strategically remind users of your product. These prompts can be tailored to match user preferences and behaviors.
  • Timely Engagement: Engage users at the right moment by sending relevant updates, personalized recommendations, or event reminders, drawing them back into your ecosystem.

Provide Rewards and Incentives:

  • Positive Reinforcement: Reward users for desired actions or behaviors within your product. This can range from small acknowledgments like likes or shares to more substantial incentives such as unlocking new features or receiving discounts.
  • Progress Tracking: Implement progress bars or milestones to show users their advancement, encouraging them to continue engaging with your product.

Offer Gamification Elements:

  • Competitive Edge: Incorporate game-like features, such as badges, points, or leaderboards, to infuse an element of competition and achievement into the user experience.
  • Interactive Challenges: Create challenges or quests that motivate users to complete tasks, fostering a sense of accomplishment and engagement.

Netflix attributes its high activation rate of 75%, with over 200 million subscribers worldwide, to its strong focus on user experience. Its UX strategy centres on simplicity, personalization and accessibility.

What's a good activation rate?

Measuring the success of your digital product's activation rate is crucial for assessing its performance. Keep in mind that a good activation rate can vary significantly depending on the type of digital product, industry, and specific goals. However, a common benchmark in the tech industry is an activation rate of approximately 25% to 30%. 

Keep in mind that what constitutes a "good" activation rate is relative and should be evaluated in the context of your specific product and user base. Factors that can influence your target activation rate include the complexity of your product, the level of user commitment required, and the overall value proposition your product offers.

To determine a suitable activation rate for your digital product, consider the following:

Benchmarking: Look at industry benchmarks and the activation rates of similar products to gain a sense of what is achievable.

User Segmentations: Different user segments may have varying expectations for activation rates. Consider the characteristics and needs of your user segments.

Product Goals: Align your activation rate with your product's objectives. Some products may prioritize quick activation, while others may aim for higher-quality, more engaged users over a longer period.

User Feedback: Solicit feedback from users to understand their expectations and assess their level of satisfaction with the onboarding process and initial product experience.

A/B Testing: Experiment with different activation strategies to see what resonates best with your audience and continually optimize based on data and user responses.

Ultimately, a "good" activation rate should be a balance between your product's goals and the preferences and behaviors of your target audience. Regularly monitor your activation rate and be prepared to adjust your strategies to achieve the best results for your specific product and user base.

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