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In-App Stories

How to Set-Up an In-App Marketing Strategy in 2022

November 28, 2022

You’ve developed your app and it’s on both the Apple Store and Google Play Store. You’ve also employed an effective app marketing strategy to help you get many downloads and install. Now, you’re sitting back to watch your app grow.

If this is you, your app may not attain the kind of success you picture. Beyond increasing the number of downloads and acquiring new users for your app, retention is also of top priority.

Many competitor apps within your category are on the app stores to cover the same user needs. So, when users who have installed your app don’t find the feature they are looking for, or if your app fails to bring in newer features with time, they might dump it for newer and more exciting apps.

The good news is that it is nine times cheaper to retain existing users than to acquire new ones. It is also four times cheaper to upsell to already existing users than new ones.

Retaining users and upselling to current users are goals you can achieve easily with in-app marketing. So, in this guide, we’ll explain what in-app marketing strategies are, the types, and how to utilize them in marketing a new app.

What is In-App Marketing?

In-app marketing isn’t an ambiguous term; it is simply a message or marketing campaign that you display to your users in the app while using the app. From this explanation, in-app marketing is targeted at existing users rather than prospective ones. This is what makes it different from other app marketing strategies like push notification and email marketing campaigns.

In-app marketing utilizes user data in the app to deliver personalized and relevant messages that boost in-app engagement, increases retention rate, and eases the sales of new products to existing customers.

The Importance of Having a Solid In-App Marketing Strategy

Retaining existing users and increasing in-app engagement are only two things that in-app marketing can help you achieve. Actually, there is a lot more to it.

App marketers developing a detailed in-app marketing strategy as a part of overall marketing efforts find it useful because it:

Helps Shape User Experience

It’s risky to assume that your users instantly comprehend what is going on with your app because you’ve probably described how to use the app on a landing page or a blog post. While this content certainly matters for acquiring new users, it is also necessary to bring this information to the mobile app the moment that users start to use it. Additionally, you need to help your users go beyond discovering how to use the app by delivering the values your app offers. You can utilize in-app marketing to onboard new users, explain new features, provide quick access to helpful resources or customer support, and suggest high-impact activities to your users. All these will improve the in-app engagement of users and boost their experience.

Provides a Medium to Capture Users Feedback

While you’ve infused all those great functionalities into your app, you also need to know whether the users are happy or frustrated about them. Are they leaving multiple tasks unfinished? Are they doing the same thing over and over again? It’s time to use in-app prompts to know what their annoyances about the app are while they’re using the app. Then, it is a good idea to realize the changes they request. It’s best if you also use in-app messages or notifications to let them know that you’ve fixed certain bugs. Communication is most effective when it’s two-ways.

Elicits for Positive Reviews from Users

Prospective users are moved to install your app by the number of positive reviews your app has on the app stores. This means that gathering positive reviews is an essential app marketing strategy for the overall success of your app. However, a positive review is what only active users of your app can give, and very few users will review your app without any hint. So, while your users are enjoying the app, you can use in-app marketing tools to prompt them to leave a review that can be posted on the app stores, review websites, or social media.

Types of In-App Marketing

In-app marketing is more than just the messages or notifications that pop up when a user is using your app. There are several kinds of in-app marketing strategies you can use. They include:


In-app stories are a great feature to have in your app. It appears exactly like the story feature on Facebook and Instagram which helps you communicate your messages on the app in a striking way. In-app stories is an in-app engagement strategy that allows you to promote your product within your app.

With a good in-app story tool like Storyly, you can effectively communicate with your users in the app with stories by adding elements such as images, GIFs, emojis, and polls.

Storyly is highly customizable. It enables you to integrate the SDK into your app without coding and create new stories easily by selecting and adding the elements you want. It also allows for in-app marketing automation by providing you with the ability to automate your stories through product feeds on your e-commerce website or sites like Facebook, Google, and Amazon.

In-App Notifications

It’s important not to mistake in-app notification for push notification. Push notification is something that many apps use, which is why it is most often confused with in-app notification. The difference between the two is that push notification comes into your mobile device while you’re not using the app, while in-app notification comes in when you’re using the app.

While push notification helps you increase app launch, some users find it intrusive. In-app notification, on the other hand, is less intrusive and it provides your users with an obvious action to take in the app or a recent update. Therefore, it is more helpful than intrusive.

In-app notification will help improve in-app engagement by creating habitual behavior for the users. Pinterest, for example, notifies its users of other users who repined their content. So, users want to check their notifications once they get on the app.

You can also use in-app notification when marketing a new app by notifying users of certain features of the app that they’re yet to try out. In-app notification is also an effective marketing tool to use to suggest people, places, or interests that users can follow, as well as update them on the activities of their last visit.

In-App Modals

This is another kind of in-app marketing tool that can help you automate. In-app modals overtake the user’s activity on the app with a full-display overlay that requires the user to act to dismiss it. In-app modals will help you improve sales, increase the campaign participation rates, get more users to subscribe to your product, or upgrade to a higher package.

However, because of the nature of in-app modals, use them with care so as not to annoy your users. It’s best to time the appearance of in-app modals neatly as well as make it personalized. To know the best time to put up an in-app modal or the kind of messages to display or call to action to use, run tests on your modal windows.


Tooltips are milder than in-app modals. It is an in-app marketing content form that shows users how to navigate through or use the app effectively through simple overlays. Its most prominent use is in marketing a new app to introduce the new user to the app. However, you can also use it to encourage habitual behavior in the user or point out new or hidden features.

Tooltips make your app easier to use as they can show them where to tap or explain where to find the feature they’re looking for.

Full-screen Pop-up (Splash Pages)

A splash page or full-screen pop-up is an in-app marketing tool that asks users to take action by displaying prompts. It differs from the in-app modal in that it is mostly used for requesting permission from the system. For example, you can use it to explain to your users that your app will like to send a notification to them while explaining how receiving notification is beneficial to them.

Full-screen pop-up assists in transparency as it not only asks the users of your app to make a decision but also eliminates their feeling of vulnerability by providing them with the context for which they need to grant permission to the app.

When Should You Use In-App Marketing?

It’s not enough to know the importance of in-app marketing strategies or the types, you ought to also know when to use them.

Here are the various app marketing purposes that you can use in-app marketing for:


If you’re looking for an easy way to introduce new users to your app and its basic operations, in-app marketing is what you need. Through a quick series of in-app messages, you can remind your new users of the value your app provides and the buttons for important app features that they should know. Try not to complicate the onboarding process so as not to put off the new user.

In-app stories by Storyly answer many needs of mobile apps. Simplified onboarding is just one benefit among many. Easy integration, immersive experience, and customized onboarding flow… Meet in-app stories by Storyly and find answers to the many needs of your app. Let’s see here how you can simplify new user onboarding.

New Feature Upsell

Do you have a new feature on the app that your users should know about? In-app marketing can effectively do this for you. With a good in-app marketing tool, you can deploy tooltips or in-app notifications to inform the users of a new feature and educate them on how to use the feature to get more value from your app.

Product Discovery

Remember that in-app marketing can help you increase sales of your products. If you have an eCommerce app, there’ll surely be new products to display to your users. An in-app marketing automation tool like Storyly can help you make new products discoverable to your users through in-app stories that are personalized and have call-to-action buttons.

Campaign Participation

There are hardly any customers who don’t like discounts and other sales promotion campaigns that make products more affordable. When you have such promos, you can easily push them on to the right customers through the personalization option that in-app marketing offers. In-app modals, stories, and notifications can help you easily achieve this.


The best way to do app marketing is when you offer personalized services or products. Because in-app marketing speaks directly to the users of the app, it’s easier to improve on your services by analyzing your app data. You can then activate in-app marketing automation for tasks that individual users have done repeatedly with satisfaction.

Best Examples of In-App Marketing Campaigns

In-app marketing strategies are not new. Several apps have been using one or more in-app marketing strategies to retain their users and sell more products. Here are a couple of in-app marketing examples that will give you more insights into how to utilize in-app marketing in marketing a new app.

  • Duolingo, an online language learning platform, used in-app marketing to easily onboard its users and boost their engagement. Through a process known as progressive disclosure, Duolingo provides options that help users personalize their experience and learn how to use the app before eventually signing up.
  • Spotify, the music streaming app, regularly uses splash pages to remind users on the free package that they can upgrade to a subscription package that allows them to listen to music without the interference of ads.
  • Through the use of in-app marketing strategies, Starbucks regularly updates their mobile app with content that features new food items as well as those on discount. With a clear call-to-action button attached to these app marketing strategies, users are prompted to take action.
  • Discord, a communication tool for gamers, uses tooltips, pop-ups, and modal windows to educate users on how to use features on the app. They don’t want to assume that users sign up knowing everything that the app offers, so they place an orange exclamation mark beside some features that show  a pop-up box explaining what the feature does and how to use them.

How to Set Up an In-App Marketing Strategy

Now that you’ve seen some app marketing best practices using in-app marketing, let’s show you how to set up an in-app marketing strategy in a few steps.

Step 1: Choosing the Roadmap

Before you start developing an in-app marketing strategy, you have to define the goal(s) you want to achieve. Do you want to increase in-app engagement, make onboarding easier, boost the discoverability of new products, or inform your users of a new product? It is not this or that question but determining the aims -even if they are multiple- will guide the following process. When you know this, you can then decide on the right in-app marketing strategy to use. If you don’t know what you want, you can start by studying your best users. Uncover their early behaviors and the features that gave them their best experience.

Step 2: Pick the Right Tools

Especially you are looking for a way to achieve multiple aims through a single tool, in-app stories can help you with onboarding new users, introducing new or hidden features, increasing campaign participation rates, simplifying the product discovery, and maximizing user engagement. Storyly is the best in-app marketing tool for you if your chosen strategy is in-app stories.

Depending on the goals you’ve picked and the in-app strategies you’ve selected to achieve these goals, you’ll need different in-app marketing tools. In-app marketing tools like Leanplum and Intercom allow you to utilize in-app marketing strategies like screen splash, tooltips, and modals.

Step 3: Constantly Test

Understanding your users’ behavior is very important, which is why it is the first point of action in choosing a strategy. So, in testing the effectiveness of your in-app marketing strategy, you’ll need an analytics tool to provide you with the best behavior metrics in your app. You’ll also need to perform A/B tests from time to time to know which feature or look and feel y will provide more substantial results. Optimizely can help you perform A/B testing with ease.

Final Thoughts

Marketing a new app to be the best option for solving a user’s needs or engaging users in the app to retain them can be achieved easily through in-app marketing strategies. However, ensure to utilize the right kind of in-app marketing strategy and tool for your app marketing goals. If your app marketing goal is to increase in-app engagement, for example, in-app story is a wonderful strategy to use and Storyly is the right tool to use.

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