Engagement loops

Nope, not talking about the jewellery couples exchange when they decide to get married 😬

For network-based products, the engagement of one user will create conditions for the increased engagement of other users. With non-network products, current engagement will benefit future engagement of the same user.

This is why achieving network density and easy content creation is so important- you need ways to bring people back into the network.

Just like the acquisition loop, there are linear channels to re-engage users. These are useful, of course, but again, they don’t scale. It’s better when users re-engage each other or when users re-engage themselves.

This is part of why marketing-driven one-off email campaigns are often ineffective. They don’t scale, aren’t interesting to users, and with enough volume, can cause folks to churn. Not good.

It’s much better to see a natural engagement loop that leverages push notifications and email in a way that’s user-initiated.

One key aspect of every network is the density of connections. It’s important to build the number of connections up, but they have to be relevant. And there’s diminishing returns too. (…)  if the core activity is all inviting and friending and there’s no main activity, that’s not good either.

The logged out issue:

Avoid, avoid, avoid, doing things that logout your user. It’s a quick path to inactivity. In the opposite direction, review your login methods and optimize them. Treat them as funnels, make it as simple as possible to login again.

It’s common for 50-75% of signed up users to actually be inactive – that is, the majority of your users will have tried the product but never get hooked.

Engagement loop metrics

What value is being created on each visit?

There are a couple key things to watch for: The cohort curves need to flatten. Ideally >20%, so that each signup activates into a sticky, active user over time. If only 5% of users stick, then you’d have to sign up 2B users to get 100M MAUs. Not tenable.

You can project out the total size of the company with this, by combining TAM with the cohort % you have left after a year (D365 or D730) and then the ARPU. This needs to be big enough to have venture scale.


The right attitude towards notifications is that they accelerate engagement that’s already there

Frequency of use

Products are built in a way that attracts users for one use case (and have a certain frequency of use). Over time, additional use cases are built into the product, and user engagement increases, along with frequency of use.

Forecasting engagement

Credits: Andrew Chen (afaik)

Retention levers:

  • Activating new users to engage (signup is not active)
  • Adjusting mix of high frequency vs mid frequency
  • Usage intensity: actions / MAU

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