Man getting personalized recommendations on smartphone

Top 5 social features to boost your app's personalization strategy

Everyone has different expectations for what a product should provide them. Much like how a tailored suit offers a better fit, a personalized solution will always trump one-size-fits-all. This is also the case for the app market, as people prefer to use products that cater to their needs. That’s exactly where personalization comes in.

The importance of a personalized service can’t be overstated, as 71% of people report that an impersonalized UI frustrates users, pushing them away from using an online service again. 49% of people also state that they are more likely to purchase an item from an app after getting a personalized recommendation. 

But what does a personalized app look like and how can you implement these features into your own app? 

Understanding personalization strategies: What and why?

We now know the importance of personalization, but what exactly is it? First of all, you need to know what it isn’t: customization. Though the two may seem completely interchangeable, they are not quite the same.

Customization refers to when users are given the option to adjust or change the displays or interface of the app to better suit their needs. This is usually a voluntary process, requiring users to make those adjustments themselves.

Font sizes, drag-and-drop taskbars, and notification settings are just some examples of customization.

Personalization refers to when an app automatically tracks how a user interacts with it, then makes adjustments to the service to better suit their needs. 

For a personalization strategy to be effective, there needs to be a much greater emphasis on data collection and analysis. The insights gathered are what allows product teams to truly understand user behavior.

How major brands utilize personalization

There are countless ways to implement personalization to give your app an edge over the competition, but it might not be so clear at the start. We’ll give you some real-life examples to help you see the big picture of how personalization can improve an app.

E-commerce sites like Amazon and eBay use each user’s browsing and purchase history to give recommendations for products that customers may be interested in. And as mentioned, this is proven to drastically increase sales and conversions.

Spotify is a prime example of how music apps can use personalization to take their UX to the next level. Features such as “Your Top Mixes” use information from a user’s streaming preferences to put together a playlist of similar styles of music.

Features like the “People you may know” or “Pages you may like” on Facebook are also great examples of why social features work so well in tandem with personalization. They help to show how people form connections with one another on a common topic.

How do social features make personalization better?

The main reason that social features are such crucial elements of any personalization strategy is that they allow users to interact with the app on a more personal level. Communities and one-on-one conversations give users a chance to explore new avenues in how they engage with the app, allowing them to form connections with other users.

Social features also help teach new users to understand what the app is capable of through organic means: learning from other users. Instead of having to go through a long, boring, and arduous onboarding process, people can see directly how people are using the app and follow their lead. 

In the long-term, social features help build genuine connections between users as creators and followers, giving people room to grow their brands and increase the depth of interactions.

Another reason why social features are so integral to the success of a personalization campaign is that they give first-hand information on how people use the app. 

Social features like personal profiles and friend lists allow an app to learn about a user’s circle of relationships and interests, using that insight to make more relevant suggestions. This ultimately leads to better UX, higher retention rates, and increased stickiness

5 Social features to create a personalized app experience

Reaching your audience in a way that they can relate to is at the heart of a personalized app experience. In the long run, this personalized experience can lead to a boost in app growth, increased in-app purchases, and improved brand loyalty. Social features are the tools that can make this happen. By integrating these five key social features to your app, you can create a more engaging and memorable experience for your audience. 

1 - Social profiles

Even with much of our lives on the internet, online communication is regarded with some wariness. Users question good and genuine intentions, especially when they can’t tell who is leaving comments or writing long-winded posts.

Social profiles are a feature that lets users put some personality into their app usage. Aside from customizing their names, photos, and preferences, users can have a say in what they see online such as by following or unfollowing pages and reacting to the content they enjoy. 

2 - Chat features

Direct messaging is so pervasive on the internet that some form of it is present in practically every digital product. Aside from being a great communication channel, chats are also a great place to incorporate personalization strategies.

The first way to personalize chat is with relevant public and community chats. These chat rooms are where people discuss something that they enjoy and share interests with one another, making it the perfect place for data collection.

Chatbots can also be used for personalization through recommendations. If a user is looking for a specific item on your online shopping app, you can use their previous search patterns in conjunction with their current ones to give them recommendations right in their chatbox. 

As an example, if a user has a lot of plaid items in their purchase history, you could make it so they are recommended similar patterns the next time they launch the app.

There are many other ways chats can be personalized, from scheduling consultations to onboarding new users. The diversity of options is one of the reasons why chat features make such a powerful tool for improving your personalization strategy.

3 - Community groups

Community is a powerful tool for brand growth and overall positive UX, and group events are among the best ways to bring people together. One of the best ways to utilize this is by encouraging people to gather and participate in an event.

When given the right platform to thrive, these groups can build themselves to considerable sizes while drawing in more active members from the same spheres. With simple scheduling features and internal communications, you can allow these groups to host events while posting all the relevant information right on the group’s feed.

You can even add gamification to incentivize collaboration through some shared rewards on the app. The personalization element in this can be the recommendation for different users with similar interests or ones that are in the same community groups.

If you’re running an EdTech app, you can consider using social learning as a tool to encourage cooperation between different groups of users. You can allow users to start live public classes and send out invitations for people who may be interested in the topic to join in.

Curated recommendations help your app to grow organically without having to invest any resources into local marketing, making it a win-win scenario for both you and your users.

4 - Personalized newsfeed

Apps these days often act as a hub for people to update themselves on the latest news regarding a specific industry the app is in. Education apps often have a news feed section to keep people in the loop about new findings and exciting research that may affect their fields.

It’s important for apps to assert themselves as a strong voice in the industry, as that’s how you build brand authority. This is one of the prime reasons that apps and other brands have blogs on their platform.

With a live newsfeed, you can cater to each user’s preferences based on their viewing history. Most users prefer to have information delivered to them in the most convenient way possible. You can use personalization to ensure that the information that users receive is the most relevant to their needs.

When the right articles are pushed to the right people, they will be more likely to come back and check out your other pieces in the future.

5 - Push notifications

Push notifications are used to increase use time and stickiness, as they ensure that people come back to your app to engage with it in different ways. Personalized push notifications can guarantee that people are more likely to respond.

There are many ways that you can add personalization to notifications. One good way is to use geo-location to encourage people to interact with the app at a specific place.

This is common for franchise stores, as people can be notified of exclusive deals at a specific location: the users get the products they want for a lower price, and the shop gets more sales.

Another good personalization you can do with push notifications is by notifying users of their unfinished actions to increase conversion. If users left the app without checking out their orders in the cart, you can use push notifications to remind them with an accompanying personalized message.

One thing to keep in mind with push notifications is that they should be done sparingly and the message should always be something that benefits users. Many people don’t appreciate having their phone buzzing with multiple notifications throughout the day, especially when it’s something they don’t care about. These unimportant reminders can create a negative perception of your brand with customers and should be avoided.

Drive growth by delivering a personalized user experience

At the end of the day, personalization is all about getting to know your user base and their needs. You’re using this valuable information about how they use and interact with your app to ensure that they get the most from your service.

The goal should always be to improve your app’s UX, as that’s often the best use for personalization. People who download your app already have some interest in the service you can provide. 

Personalization adds a bit of a directed nudge for users to help them get the benefits that they’re looking for from your product. Use it as a guide for each user to take the action you know they want to. 


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