Digital Banking Guide: 10 Ideas to Re-engage Idle App Users

By Reagan Bonlie
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Community banks and credit unions are facing increased competition from neobanks, big banks, and even tech firms like Apple.

  • According to a recent study by Bain & Company, in the US the net promoter score (NPS) was only 40 for traditional banks compared to an NPS of 61 for the neobanks and direct digital banks.
  • Jack Henry reports that today’s consumers often have 20 to 30 financial relationships.

With digital competition increasing, it’s common for community banks and credit unions to see more idle app users, customers, and members who haven’t logged in or opened a new product in months or even years. In this article, we look at common reasons for user inactivity and explore 10 ideas to re-engage banking app users.

Understanding User Inactivity

Before implementing any of the 10 re-engagement tactics, think for a second…why are users becoming inactive in the first place? Common reasons include:

Poor App Experience

A poor app experience drives users away. Especially when an app is complex to understand, has a confusing interface, or shows exaggerated value propositions.

Lack of Onboarding Process

Sometimes, what causes poor experience is an ineffective onboarding process. No matter how easy your app may seem, an onboarding flow guides new users through the services and features that you offer, increasing their chance of future engagement..

Loss of Relevance

A banking app that serves only basic functions may have lost relevance in recent years, especially as digital banking features have expanded during the pandemic.If your app fails to provide updates or new features regularly, users may lose interest and turn to alternative banking platforms.

Security and Trust Concerns

Customers may become inactive if they don’t trust your app with their sensitive information or feel that it lacks the necessary security measures. Being proactive by educating users on your app’s security can help build trust.

Excessive Advertising and Notifications

Too much in-app advertising and push notifications can irritate users, and lead to app abandonment.

1. Implement Deep Linking and Webhooks

After understanding the reason for app abandonment, the next step is to win users back with re-engagement. If your mobile banking app platform supports the functionality, deep linking and webhooking is one way to go.

Deep linking and webhooks help create personalized experiences for users, encouraging them to re-engage with your app. With deep linking, you can direct users to specific content or pages in your app, saving them time and effort.

Webhooks, on the other hand, track user engagement and enable targeted rewards and incentives.

2. Optimize In-App Content and Functionality

To re-engage idle app users, ensure that your digital banking app offers a seamless, user-friendly experience. Some optimization strategies to keep in mind are:

2.1. Simplify your Navigation

Ensure your app has a clear and intuitive navigation structure. Make it easy for users to find what they’re looking for.You can run tests with changes to your navigation to learn what navigation structure best drives valuable behaviors.

2.2. Regularly Update Features and Content

Keep your app relevant and engaging by regularly updating its features and content. Consider offering educational content in-app to provide additional value and build trust.

2.3. Enhance Security and Privacy

Build trust with your users by providing robust security measures and transparent privacy policies. Communicate these in your marketing and onboarding to position your institution as a trusted digital partner.

2.4. Personalize User Experience

Leverage user data to create personalized experiences and recommendations. According to Bain & Company, over 70% of consumers are interested in having their personal data be used to offer solutions and products that better reflect their needs.

3. Leverage Analytics and User Segmentation

Understanding user behavior is crucial for effective re-engagement. With analytics and user segmentation, you gain insights into how users interact with your app and identify potential areas for improvement.

3.1. Track User Behavior and Engagement Metrics

Like analytics, metrics show you how you can improve and engage users better.

Set benchmarks and monitor metrics such as session duration, active users, and feature usage to understand how users engage with your app.

3.2. Segment Users Based on Behavior

Divide your users into segments based on factors such as engagement level, demographics, and in-app actions. This enables targeted and higher-converting re-engagement efforts.

4. Utilize Push Notifications Strategically

Push notifications can be an effective tool for re-engaging idle app users, but they must be used strategically to avoid annoying users. Some best practices for using push notifications include:

4.1. Personalize Notifications

Tailor notifications to individual users based on their preferences, interests, and behavior.

4.2. Limit Notification Frequency

Avoid overwhelming users with too many notifications. Strike a balance between providing valuable information and respecting users’ time and attention.

4.3. Test and Optimize Notification Timing

Experiment with different notification timings to determine when users are most likely to engage with your messages.

5. Offer In-App Incentives and Rewards

Incentives and rewards motivate idle users to re-engage with your digital banking app. Some examples of incentives include:

5.1. Exclusive Deals and Discounts

Offer special deals and discounts to loyal members or users who have been inactive for a certain period.

5.2. In-App Credits and Bonuses

Reward users with in-app credits and bonuses for completing specific actions or achieving milestones in your app.

5.3. Gamification

Implementing gamification elements such as progress dashboards and achievement badges keep users hooked and wanting to complete set tasks.

This increases and encourages users to engage with the app.

6. Enhance Customer Support and Communication

Effective communication and customer support can help reengage idle users and address any concerns they may have.

6.1. Implement In-App Chat and Support

Provide in-app chat and support options to assist users with any issues they encounter while using the app.

6.2. Utilize Email and Social Media

Reach out to inactive users through email and social media channels to share updates, promotions, and helpful content.

7. Encourage Referrals

Referrals help reengage inactive users and also attract new ones. Be conscious of compliance considerations related to sharing of information.

7.1. Features That Spark Word-of-Mouth Referrals

Providing members the ability to plan for specific goals causes conversation amongst communities. Gamifying the digital experience with achievements, points, or other app activities enhances the discussion around how their financial institution helps them reach their goals.

7.2. Implement a Referral Program

Offer rewards and incentives to users who refer friends and family to your digital banking app. This keeps users invested as they gain benefits from promoting your product.

8. Collaborate with Influencers and Partners

8.1. Partner with Influencers

People love social proof. And they love their influencers. Having influencers promote your product or a feature of your product gains you new users and re-engages inactive ones.

Collaborate with strategic influencers in your industry or geographic area to promote your app and showcase its benefits. Look for influencers with a good amount of followers and a high engagement with their content.

8.2. Establish Strategic Partnerships

Form partnerships with complementary businesses or services to offer exclusive benefits to your app users.

9. Continuously Assess and Optimize Your Strategies

Reengaging idle app users is an ongoing process that requires constant assessment and optimization.

9.1. Monitor Performance Metrics

Track the success of your re-engagement strategies by monitoring key performance metrics such as user retention, engagement, and conversion rates.

9.2. Adjust Strategies Based on Insights

Adapt your re-engagement strategies based on the insights gathered from your performance metrics and user feedback. Mine your data to identify what other financial institutions your users may be using and track the mobile app capabilities of those institutions.

9.3. Stay Informed With Industry Trends

Stay up-to-date with the latest digital banking and digital engagement trends to ensure your strategies remain relevant and effective.

10. Engage the Branch Teams

If your bank has brick-and-mortar locations, don’t forget that you have a team of people championing your best services and features to your customers every day. Make sure you have a tightly coordinated promotion in partnership with the branch for each of the latest and greatest features in your digital experience.


In conclusion, re-engaging idle app users in digital banking requires a combination of understanding user behavior, optimizing app functionality, leveraging analytics, and implementing targeted re-engagement strategies. By focusing on these areas and continuously assessing and refining your efforts, you can effectively boost user engagement and retention in your digital banking app.