Traditionally, marketing has kept a firm focus on user retention, relationship building, and deep engagement. Marketers and customers both naturally tend towards this love-story scenario: the former want to win as many hearts and minds as possible, and the latter want to be wooed and charmed… Or so it was.

Download – Gratify – Uninstall

Nowadays, the pace at which users go through different apps has increased dramatically, and a distinct new usage trend is fleshing out: consumers seek to satisfy a specific, temporary need via the right app and almost immediately discard it after it has served its purpose. We call these ‘sLTV users’ (that stands for ‘short lifetime value’). Chasing after the high-LTV crowd is still the holy grail, and we do not dispute its importance.

However, short-term user monetization can be as lucrative and sometimes more easily attainable than enchanting somebody for the long haul. Here is a rundown on how to best monetize short-term users and tap into a wrongfully neglected population segment with great value and promise.

Spot Your sLTV Users

To monetize sLTV users, you have to single them out first. Build a quick and simple identification mechanism into your app registration sequence. For a local gastronomy app, ask whether your new user is just a visitor in city X or he lives there full-time. For a guitar tuner or sheet music app, find out whether the user is a professional musician, a student of music, or a shoe-gazing hobbyist. Add a quick second question about their motivation to download the app, and help them answer you swiftly with a dropdown menu or a multiple choice list.

There are many ways to identify short-term users, and you will surely find the one that is most appropriate to your particular product. The one requirement is to keep this step short, simple, and as entertaining as possible. Otherwise you run the risk of putting newcomers off and ending their journey before it has begun.

Monetize Short-Term Users

Take Your sLTV Users Down a Special Rabbit Hole

Once you have identified your slTV hatchlings, show them right to the express service line. Take them to your app’s main contribution right away and let them get down to business. Make that special rabbit hole hard-coded, or play with a few known parameters to create a more dynamic model which has even higher chances for successful short-term user monetization.

For instance, put together a simple matrix of gender, acquisition route, and time of day. That way, you can target male or female users based on the specific ad campaign that brought them to your app at the time of day in which they are most likely to spend money. For a gaming app, that would be the latter two quarters of the day; for a dinner-and-drinks app, the second and fourth quarters usually peak.

A Question of Time

When you are working to monetize short-term users, you often find yourself racing against the clock. This is apt under certain circumstances; under others, it may cloud your judgment. For quick, location-specific queries of high importance like local transportation guides or booking services, sLTV users are prepared to sit through ads to get to the goods. This is the moment to bust out your best-targeted, longer videos and make every second count.

At other times, you want to maximize the short-term engagement with your app. The best way to stretch out a user’s in-app time is via a freebie or a bonus. It serves the double function of increasing screen time and giving your customer a warm and fuzzy feeling of getting a present. Bonuses are also a good way to make your sLTV’s cross over into the high-LTV zone relatively effortlessly.

A general time sensitivity will go a long way to help you monetize sLTV users overall. Making your CTA at the right hour of the day and promoting a special offer on a particular day of the week have been shown to increase revenue, even from short-term engagements, and you will do well to get to know the particularities of your market niche and typical users in order to make the most of them even in a compressed time scale.

Getting in Touch with the Times

It is long overdue for app developers and mobile businesses to accept the realities of today’s marketplace and develop strategies to monetize short-term users. Instead of going against the tide of typical usage, why not ride it instead and make the most of the lucrative opportunities it presents?