Miray Alanlar

Miray Alanlar (Mozilla): Increasing Mobile App Retention and Engagement

By Anya Pratskevich | January 2, 2019

“MAUs and DAUs are vanity metrics but I see these as a signal for something deeper,” says Miray Alanlar, a mobile marketing manager at Mozilla. We sat down with Miray at the App Growth Summit to chat about mobile app retention strategies, A/B testing and tips for brand-new mobile marketers.

For Mozilla, understanding how people use their apps is a challenge because of the company’s focus on privacy. Mozilla doesn’t collect user data. That makes improving retention and engagement – Miray’s top mandate — very hard to implement.

What strategies do you use to increase retention and engagement?

At Firefox, we are not tracking user behavior. Mozilla, the makers of Firefox, has a different mission: to ensure the Internet is a global public resource, open and accessible to all. With that in mind, I explore ways to better understand our users’ problems and engage them while respecting their privacy and time in the app.

In-app messaging and push notifications work very well for us. But that doesn’t mean sending random push messages. The message has to take into account the entire lifecycle journey and give users a good reason to come back.

Specific re-engagement tactics depend on the user segment and context. For example, some of Firefox’s core users are obsessed with bookmarking in the browser, so we can use that to engage them. This approach works better than sending a generic message like, “Hey! Come back, we miss you.”

How do you create app stickiness?

We built products and apps – privacy and agency – to deliver freedom to live your life online and protect it. Firefox Monitor is one such product where we send users notifications about data breaches across the internet whenever people’s data is accessed or disclosed without permission.

We also offer tools like Tracking Protection to help users take control of their personal information. By giving people the information and tools they need to protect their security and privacy online, we keep them in-the-know and coming back to use our apps.

What is your approach to creative testing?

I ran A/B tests on app store metadata, such as screenshots and descriptions, and now use experiments to optimize our push notifications. However, I think that A/Z testing (or multivariate testing) – an approach that includes testing more than two variants – is a better strategy. Combined with thoughtful segmentation, A/Z testing has a more significant impact, because different variants may perform best with different users.

What advice do you have for brand-new mobile app marketers?

When I first started in mobile app marketing, I wish someone told me to be more skeptical. What works for other app marketers may not be applicable for your vertical, your app or for your users at all. Try to gather knowledge from many different people in the space including partners and vendors. At the same time, understand your funnel better than anyone else.

My second piece of advice is to focus on quality over quantity. It is always a goal to acquire a certain number of users, but quantity doesn’t matter at the end of the day if those users don’t engage and convert. With CPIs increasing and the majority of new users leaving the app within the first few days, quality users is what matters most.

Lastly, even if you only have 500 app users, leverage them. Read all their reviews and learn about their expectations before trying to acquire the next 10,000.