Quite some time ago, when Friendster was still a thing, the founder released a statement saying that they found having five friends was critical to keeping a user active. This meant that if a new user was unable to make at least five connections, the likelihood of them sticking around for more than the first week was dramatically reduced. What Friendster did was integrate a “Find your Facebook Friends” flow as part of their onboarding experience. Users were encouraged to use their Facebook login to sign in and then the system would find other Facebook friends using Friendster. The app would ask if they wanted to make theses same connections in Friendster. This was an easy way for them to reach that five person threshold that made user retention so successful.
While this example may not apply to your use case, it is a very important principle. By Friendster guiding people to complete the step they knew would heavily influence their success, they were able to dramatically increase their retention rates. This same technique can be used for your app as well. What are the traits of active users in your app? What features do they use the most? Is there a correlation between these features and active users? If you can answer these questions, then you can guide your users to these features.
There can even be a longer chain of actions that need to be completed. For example, let’s say that users who have profile pictures get five times the engagement of users who do not. Users with more engagement are more likely to be active. Therefore, encouraging users to upload a profile picture will help to increase others’ engagement with them, which will make them more active.
Is adding a profile picture part of your signup flow? Should you remind users that don’t have a profile picture to add it? Can you tell users that having a profile picture helps increase engagement? How can you make it easier for users to add a profile picture? Can you grab it from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.? These are the types of questions that a product manager should always be asking.