There was a time when most of us interacted with software through a desktop. But those days are long gone following the meteoric rise of mobile devices at home and in the workplace. 

Customer expectations have changed as a result, making a strong mobile strategy a key component of how most businesses take their products to market. The teams building these products need to be mindful of the mobile experience because today, customers and users demand the same experience across all the software they use—regardless of what device they’re on. Simply put, today’s software consumers want a mobile experience that is seamless, delightful, and easy.

This is where a product-led approach comes into play. The best product-led organizations know that it takes dedicated focus on both their web and mobile experiences to engage, delight, and retain users today. They leverage product analytics and in-app guidance across both their web and mobile products to understand what their users are doing, support them in a timely and contextual way, and collect their feedback so they know exactly what needs to improve. 

For many consumers, your mobile app might be the only way they ever interact with your company. This has strong implications for your brand perception and future outlook, particularly when it comes to app store ratings and comments left by users. So, applying product-led strategies to the mobile version of your product not only helps you create a great experience with your app, but with your entire business. 

While it may sound like yet another platform that product builders need to account for, product-led approaches actually help teams across the organization scale their efforts and craft winning multi-platform product experiences. 

Why it’s important to unify your web and mobile experience

Ideally, the experience your users have with your mobile app shouldn’t be all that different from that of your web-based or desktop product. Both should be seamless, delightful, and make it easy for your users to accomplish the tasks they’ve set out to do. And the two platforms should share a similar look and feel that makes it clear they’re part of the same ecosystem.

For most of the organizations building business software, the reality is that users onboard and leverage desktop and mobile apps concurrently. It’s no longer a differentiator to have a mobile app that complements your desktop or web-based product—it’s simply expected. And in some use cases, the mobile app experience is more important than the web experience.

There will always be nuances in your mobile and web apps (e.g. navigation, formatting, and the user interface). But no matter how your product differs aesthetically across mobile or web platforms, it’s important to think about the user experience in a unified way—particularly if users move between both versions of your product in a single session or throughout their day. Mapping the customer journey across all device types:

  • Eliminates duplicity in your in-app guide strategy (i.e. helps prevents repetitive guides from being served to users during their web and mobile sessions)
  • Shows you how users move between sessions on various devices—and which features they leverage most on each
  • Helps you understand if your mobile app needs additional functionality to account for differences in where and how users access it

The guiding principles of mobile product-led experiences

The best product-led teams don’t see their mobile app as a tertiary element of their product strategy or brand. To them, the mobile experience is just as—if not more—important than the web experience. Here are a few tactics for bringing a mobile-first mindset to your product-led strategies.

Bring messaging inside the app

While it’s true that users engage with mobile apps on small screens, the impact of those experiences on their perception of your brand can be huge. The ubiquity of mobile devices, paired with the personalization that users expect in mobile experiences, present a massive opportunity for companies to interact with their users in a highly targeted way.

In-app guides are a powerful tool for helping mobile users navigate your app, and for imbuing your product with moments of delight. They’re also extremely valuable in onboarding—giving your users a contextual and integrated learning experience that allows them to stay immersed in the product as they learn. Tooltips are another great mobile use case—they allow you to deliver ongoing guidance to your users without taking up valuable real estate on the screen.

Make better decisions with product analytics

Product analytics is a basic requirement of every product-led company. Understanding how users are interacting with your mobile apps helps product builders identify what’s working well and what could use improvement. By leveraging product analytics data to see how customers and users are engaging with your app today, you can inform your in-app messaging strategy, improve your onboarding programs, hone your in-app support motions, and help guide decision-making for the ongoing development of the app itself. 

Crafting in-app messages based on user behaviors is exactly how to delight users in a world where so many things are vying for their attention. Instead of generic messaging, use the insights you uncover in your analytics platform to target in-app guides at specific cohorts of users, based on what they’ve been doing inside the product. You can also use this information to help drive new users to behave in the same way as your most successful users, and understand which areas of the app might not be working so well. 

Collect feedback in-app

Surveys and polls delivered in-app (used to gauge user sentiment, satisfaction, or solicit app store ratings) generally receive higher response rates than those delivered via traditional means like web forms or email. This is because mobile in-app polls and surveys are highly contextual and timely, capturing your users’ feelings as they’re engaging with the product. The same is true with qualitative feedback and feature requests—bringing these activities inside the product helps improve the quality of the ideas being submitted and improves the likelihood that customers will share their thoughts.

Combining how users are feeling (feedback) with what they are doing (product analytics) gives mobile product builders the full picture of the user experience. This qualitative and quantitative evidence helps form the basis of product roadmap discussions and ensures investments are being made in the right areas.

Measuring success

As you leverage these product-led tactics in your mobile product strategy, it’s important to rally your teams around a shared set of data and KPIs to measure your progress. Many of these metrics can (and should) be shared with your web products. But there are mobile-specific measures and nuances to note, too—including app versions and app store ratings.

App versions

Mobile products face the unique challenge of users updating to newer versions at different paces—which means product teams must support multiple versions at once

While these older app versions may feel comfortable and familiar, they can cause problems for the teams keeping them afloat. Users on old app versions may run into issues you’ve already fixed in later releases—bogging your team down with support tickets and causing them to waste valuable time addressing concerns that have already been addressed. Understanding the distribution of users across your various app versions helps you segment and target messaging (i.e. in-app guides) to the right users to encourage them to update. 

This data is also useful for contextualizing other qualitative customer feedback. For example, if a user is complaining about a bug or broken feature, you can dig in and find out which app version they’re using. If it’s a problem that’s already been solved in a recent release, you can serve them messaging that encourages them to upgrade to the latest version of your app. Or if they’re already using your newest version, their feedback could be an indicator of a larger issue that needs to be addressed.

App store ratings

While app store ratings may feel like vanity metrics, they’re actually incredibly important for driving the success of your mobile product. 

For the same reason we rely on reviews before making a significant purchase, we rely on app store ratings to reassure us that we’re making a good decision by downloading a particular application. So while ratings can feel like a popularity contest, they have serious implications for your app’s reputation. Your mobile app rating also impacts how visible your app is in app stores. Higher rated apps rank higher in search results, while lower rated apps are pushed to the bottom of the list. This is particularly crucial in the mobile world: screens are small, and users don’t like to scroll.

Tracking your app store ratings over time, particularly as you release new and improved versions of your app, can be a great way to understand what your users love—or don’t love—about each new iteration of your product. Striving for a good app store rating also:

  • Improves the likelihood that prospective users will download your app
  • Serves as an indicator of user sentiment and happiness
  • Gives you a benchmark to measure against competitors
  • Helps improve your app’s discoverability and ranking in the app store

To learn more about the most critical KPIs all mobile product builders should keep in mind, check out the Pendo e-book, The top 10 mobile KPIs you should be tracking (and why).