Mobile App Personalization: The Future of User Experience

Mobile App Personalization: The Future of User Experience

A growing number of people want to see personalized experiences with nearly every digital interaction. With so many aspects of digital marketing using AI and other developments to provide personalization, it’s understandably what consumers have come to expect. Today, 72% of consumers will only engage with personalized messages, making personalization crucial in getting any audience’s attention. It’s also worth noting that personalization is not only great for customers, but it’s equally beneficial for marketers. According to Google, 89% of marketers in the U.S. found that personalized apps and websites led to increased revenue.

Ultimately, mobile app personalization is vital if you want to connect with consumers and experience true growth. However, you may be wondering what exactly goes into mobile personalization and what it can do for your business. The following is a complete guide to mobile app personalization to help you realize the importance of delivering a truly personalized app experience to users.

What Is Mobile App Personalization?

Mobile app personalization is the process of creating customized user experiences within a mobile application based on individual user's preferences, behavior, and demographics. 

The goal of personalization is to enhance user engagement, retention, and overall satisfaction with the app by delivering tailored content, features, and recommendations that align with the user's interests and needs.

Why is Mobile App Personalization important?

Mobile App personalization is important because it can lead to higher user engagement, satisfaction, and retention. By providing tailored experiences that match users' interests and preferences, app personalization can enhance the user experience and encourage users to spend more time within the app.

This, in turn, can increase the likelihood of users returning to the app in the future and becoming loyal customers.

Personalization vs. Customization

The key difference between personalization and customization depends on the individual who creates the tailored experience. Generally, personalization requires a business or developer to create or alter items for customers based on the data collected from them. Meanwhile, customization involves the customer making the changes themselves based on their personal preferences.

Specifically, the difference here is implicit vs. explicit focus, with personalization being implicit or implied, meaning that companies can make changes to deliverables based on the customer’s implied preferences. Customization is explicit, i.e. users explicitly express what they want when making choices that influence their experience.

Personalization vs. Segmentation

When thinking about the differences between personalization and segmentation, it’s all about the focus. Marketers use segmentation to identify specific types of audiences based on demographics, psychographics, location, behaviors, and technology usage. Through mobile app user segmentation, marketers can make sure that they deliver relevant marketing materials to different groups of customers to achieve optimal results.

Personalization, on the other hand, is more customer-centric, focusing closely on specific customers within each segment. Personalization requires the company to provide an experience that’s custom-tailored based on that particular customer’s needs or problems. This entails understanding each customer and delivering an experience based on their individual intent, which can change with each interaction they have with a brand. In short, personalization involves companies learning as much as they can about individual customers to provide the best possible experience for them.

Benefits of Mobile App Personalization

App personalization comes with several benefits that make it worth implementing. Some of these benefits include:

Increased User Retention

In attracting and retaining users, you need to think about what sets your app apart from the millions of others vying for their attention. Keep in mind that most people abandon apps after initial use, making it necessary to leave a solid first impression for first-time users. If you want to show why your app is the best option, app personalization is crucial. Personalized apps will provide a uniquely personal experience that keeps users invested, with pertinent recommendations, offers, and discounts driving people to continue using your app on a regular basis.

More In-App Purchases

When users encounter more personalized messages, offers, and recommendations, along with tailored discounts, they’re far more likely to buy an in-app item. People are more inclined to make a purchase, often on impulse, if they feel the item is just what they want or need.

For example, to boost  in-app purchases for an eCommerce app, try segmenting users who added items to their cart, but ultimately abandoned the buying process. You can then send personalized  push notifications to these users to remind them to return, or you could push other offers that may entice them to come back for future purchases. You could also use personalized in-app stories to speak more directly to users and encourage them to return. People will be much more receptive to these messages if they feel as though those messages are truly speaking to them.

A Better Overall Customer Experience

Most users won’t find an app that offers impersonal product recommendations or experiences to be particularly compelling. App users want to see services and products that apply specifically to them in a fully personalized app experience. If it appears as though the app actually learns about them based on their inputs and previous purchases, users will be more content with their in-app experience.

More and more people want to enjoy a uniquely tailored app experience, with ideal levels of convenience and efficiency. In turn, customers will feel like you have a good understanding of them as people as opposed to consumers, which keeps them returning.

Increased Awareness

You can boost app awareness by determining what your users specifically enjoy about your app. What is it about your app that attracts people to it, and what are some areas that could benefit from improvement? To answer these questions, collect and analyze user data and figure out how they interact with your app. You could even ask these questions directly to users in the form of a quick survey, which you can even offer a reward for completing, such as an entry to win a certain prize.

Using the information you’ve collected about your users, you can then work to send out relevant notifications to users that cover certain events, updates, and other information that audiences want to see. However, you’ll want to avoid sending out too many notifications, as there’s a fine line between engaging users and merely annoying them, much like with ad frequency. One way to avert this is to use in-app stories, which entice users by allowing them to have some fun, discover products and services in a full-screen mode, and enjoy certain interactive features.

Storyly offers a great way to boost awareness and connect with customers through personalized stories. Using Storyly, you can address people by their names in story content and display relevant stories to users based on their in-app behavior. This can go a long way in raising awareness and engaging users.

More Loyal Users

Through mobile app personalization, you’ll significantly boost brand loyalty among users. Customer loyalty comes with many benefits that go beyond repeat sales. For example, loyal customers are likely to recommend your app to friends and family, or even virtual strangers on social media. They’ll also engage with your app frequently, and they’re more likely to leave a positive review for your app on app stores. Increased loyalty contributes to increased revenue that further fuels your app’s growth.

Higher Levels of Engagement and Conversion Rates

Part of what keeps people coming back to apps that offer a personalized app experience is the illusion of human interaction. People using apps that make personal recommendations and offers feel more like they’re connecting with a person on the other side. They may be consciously aware that this isn’t the case, but it will still feel like it is and that the app developers  truly care about the user experience. As a result, they’ll continue to engage with your app if it seems like you’re giving them precisely what they want. This increased engagement will also lead to more leads and sales, improving your bottom line.

Methods for Mobile App Personalization

There are several methods for implementing mobile app personalization, each designed to create a more tailored user experience.

Some common methods include:

  • User profiling: Collect and analyze user data such as demographics, preferences, and behaviors to create personalized experiences. This can be achieved through user registration, social media integration, or in-app behavior tracking.
  • Contextual personalization: Use real-time data such as location, time, and device information to tailor the app experience. For example, a weather app may display local forecasts based on the user's location, or a restaurant app may show nearby dining options.
  • Behavioral analysis: Track user interactions within the app, such as clicks, scrolls, and time spent on different sections, to identify patterns and preferences. This information can be used to deliver targeted content or recommendations based on the user's in-app behavior.
  • Machine learning and AI algorithms: Leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning models to analyze user data and predict user preferences. This enables the app to serve personalized content and recommendations more effectively and accurately.
  • Collaborative filtering: This method uses the preferences and behaviors of similar users to make personalized recommendations. For example, if users A and B both liked items 1, 2, and 3, and user A also liked item 4, the app may recommend item 4 to user B.
  • Content-based filtering: This approach focuses on the attributes of the items within the app to make personalized recommendations. For example, if a user frequently reads articles about technology, the app may recommend more technology-related content based on the user's interests.
  • A/B testing and optimization: Continuously test and refine different personalization strategies to determine the most effective approach for a given user segment or individual. This allows businesses to optimize their personalization efforts and deliver the most relevant experiences to each user.
  • Push notifications and in-app messaging: Customize communication with users based on their preferences and behaviors, delivering tailored messages, offers, or reminders at the right time and in the right context.
  • Dynamic content: Update content within the app in real-time based on user behavior, preferences, or contextual information. For example, a news app may update the articles displayed based on the user's reading history or a shopping app may rearrange product listings based on the user's browsing behavior.

By employing a combination of these methods, businesses can create a more personalized and engaging mobile app experience, ultimately leading to higher user satisfaction, engagement, and retention.

Challenges for Mobile App Personalization

While mobile app personalization can significantly improve user experience and engagement, it also comes with its own set of challenges. Some common challenges include:

Data collection and management

Collecting accurate and relevant user data is the foundation of mobile app personalization. However, it can be challenging to gather sufficient data without infringing on user privacy or creating a negative user experience. Additionally, managing and storing large amounts of data securely and efficiently can be resource-intensive and complex.

Privacy concerns and data security

As personalization relies on collecting user data, privacy concerns and data security become significant challenges. Users are increasingly aware of privacy issues, and businesses must ensure they comply with data protection regulations like GDPR and CCPA. Gaining user trust while collecting and handling their data responsibly is crucial for successful personalization.

Accurate user segmentation

Effectively segmenting users based on shared characteristics, behaviors, or preferences is essential for delivering targeted experiences. However, accurately identifying user segments and determining the best personalization approach for each segment can be challenging, especially when dealing with diverse user bases and limited data.

Implementing AI and machine learning

Incorporating artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms for personalization can improve the accuracy and effectiveness of your efforts. However, developing, training, and deploying these algorithms can be complex, resource-intensive, and require specialized expertise.

Balancing personalization and user experience

Striking the right balance between personalization and user experience can be challenging. Over-personalization may lead to an overwhelming or intrusive experience, while under-personalization can result in irrelevant content. Finding the optimal level of personalization that enhances user experience without being intrusive is critical.

Real-time personalization

Delivering personalized content and experiences in real-time requires robust systems that can process large amounts of data quickly and efficiently. Developing and maintaining these systems can be technically challenging and resource-intensive.

A/B testing and optimization

Continuous testing and optimization are vital for effective personalization, but they can be time-consuming and require ongoing commitment. Identifying the most effective personalization strategies and iterating on them requires a systematic approach, dedicated resources, and the ability to analyze and interpret test results accurately.

Cross-platform consistency

Ensuring a consistent personalized experience across different platforms (e.g., iOS, Android, and web) can be challenging, especially when dealing with platform-specific limitations or differences in user behavior. Maintaining a coherent personalization strategy across platforms is essential for creating a seamless user experience.


As your user base grows, your personalization efforts must scale accordingly. This can be challenging, as it may require additional infrastructure, resources, and expertise to manage increased data volumes and deliver personalized experiences to a larger audience.

Evolving user preferences

User preferences and behavior patterns can change over time, making it challenging to maintain relevant and engaging personalization. Regularly monitoring and updating your personalization strategies based on user feedback and data insights are crucial for ensuring your app remains engaging and up-to-date.

Addressing these challenges requires a combination of technical expertise, strategic planning, and ongoing commitment to refining and optimizing your personalization efforts. By overcoming these challenges, businesses can create personalized mobile app experiences that enhance user satisfaction, engagement, and retention.

Why Is It Important to Deliver a Personalized Mobile Experience?

There are a couple of key reasons why you should deliver a personalized app experience to users like any other business.

The first reason is that customers expect mobile personalization today. In fact, one Accenture survey found that 91% of consumers are more likely to favor brands that provide personalized experiences with relevant recommendations and offers. This also goes for app users who want a completely personalized app experience whenever they use their mobile devices. Customers are now used to getting exactly what they want with their digital experiences and brand interactions, and this is only going to continue in the future.

The second reason why mobile app personalization is critical is that it’s good for business. Establishing a strong personal connection with mobile users can make customers more loyal, which ultimately leads to increased app usage and sales. Personalization can help make sure that all collected data goes toward developing the ideal user experience, which will go a long way in keeping users coming back to you.


To enable your app to flourish and establish a strong connection with users, mobile app personalization is vital. If you’re not already using this strategy, you’re missing out on the opportunity to impress and engage users, which would help boost sales and user loyalty. Implementing personalized app experiences will set you apart and make sure you stand apart from the many competitors that remain impersonal.

Are you looking for some great app personalization examples? Check out this article: “5 App Examples with the Best Personalized Experience.


Deniz Tasyürek

Content & Brand Marketing Strategist at Storyly. Writes about mobile user behavior, user engagement, and retention. A genuine Potterhead. She also loves succulents, cats, and aerial yoga.

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