The average web app faces a precipitous drop-off between initially attracting a user and retaining them over the first month. Of 1000 users who visit your homepage to check out your product, 20% sign up, of whom 80% finish onboarding, of whom 40% visit the next day after signup, of whom 20% visit the next week after signup, and 10% visit after 30 days after signup. After 30 days, 20 users (out of 1000!) are Daily Active Uniques.
Two mistakes are often made when designing features meant to bend this engagement curve. First, too few people will use the feature, particularly if the feature targets engaged/retained users rather than non-users and new users. And second, too little impact is made when they do engage, especially if important or key functions are displayed as optional actions outside the onboarding process.
Picking the features that bend the curve requires a strong understanding of your user lifecycle. First and foremost is maximizing the reach of your feature, so it impacts the most people. It’s a good rule of thumb that the best features often focus mostly on non-users and casual users, the reason being that there’s simply many more of them. Similarly, it’s important to have deep insights into what users need to do to become activated, so that their first visit is set up properly.