6+ Mobile App Retention Strategies

Any business thrives if it can retain its customers.

Jun 11, 2021 - By Adomas Sulcas


Any business thrives if it can retain its customers.

Unfortunately, mobile app churn rate is one of the highest across industries.

Based on research, the average android mobile app loses 77% of its user base within 3 days with the 30-day retention rate looking even worse!

Therefore, all mobile app owners and developers should scramble to create strategies for retention. As mobile app retention may be difficult for some, we decided to outline several effective strategies for maximal ROI – improving retention rates by just 5% may increase profitability by up to 75%!

Always Track Statistics To Know Your Mobile App Retention Rates

Proper statistics tracking is the first step into optimizing mobile app retention. Without insight into the numbers, it’s nearly impossible to know what to fix. Usage statistics become the analytical tool that can allow you to understand your user base better.

All data tracking should begin as soon as the application is launched.

Statistics take some time to become accurate and useful. Minimizing that “downtime” creates opportunities faster.

There are several simple, yet effective data points to get a good idea about retention and what can be done to improve. As there’s no direct way to force the user to keep using your app, understanding engagement is the way to go.

To get a good understanding about engagement track:

  • Number of downloads. While not very useful on its own, it’s a great way to get a glimpse into the true retention rate by comparing downloads with active users.
  • Active mobile app users. Understanding active users can not only reveal retention rates but get a glimpse into the problematic parts of your mobile app. Following an average user’s journey until a churn may reveal important consistencies.
  • Session interval. Interval shows how long a user takes to reopen your app after he/she closes it. Keeping this as low as possible is great as it means the highest level of engagement.
  • Session length. Length is your direct engagement correlate. You want to maximize session length without annoying the user.

Include Gamification to Increase Mobile APP retention

Games have the lowest mobile app churn rate. Of course, these apps are meant for entertainment only which naturally lends itself to a higher retention rate. However, there is something to be learned from games – a small dopamine hit from a benefit never hurts.

Gamification doesn’t have to be all that flashy. Actually, most of the time the users don’t even notice good gamification. A great example can be seen in nearly any smartwatch or any fitness or health related application. Most of these calculate steps, flights of stairs, workout times, etc. and give out prizes or trophies for beating some high score. That’s gamification.

With some clever strategies, nearly any app can include gamification. One of the simplest ways to do it for absolutely any application is to include levels. Grant experience (or points) to a level for each minute the app is in use.

Create a Smooth Onboarding Experience

If you think about your own mobile (new) app use, long registration processes are the best way to make you look for something else. Needing to register under several forms, agree to numerous T&C through numerous windows, and asking the user to connect social media accounts before he or she can begin using the mobile app is the best way to lose them right off the bat.

There’s a slight tinge of hype whenever someone downloads your mobile app. It’s natural as the person is hoping to derive some benefit. However, the user would like to do it as fast as possible and with as little interruption as possible. Long onboarding procedures go against that.

Therefore, going for minimalism in the onboarding experience is the way to go. You can collect other important information from the user later on when he or she has had time to use your mobile app. Doing otherwise is risking increasing mobile app churn rate.

Implement Mobile App Push Notifications

If you’re looking to have people come back to your mobile app, getting users to enable push notifications is one of the most efficient strategies out there. These notifications have a close to 10% reaction rate which means that getting people to enable them turbo boosts mobile app retention rates.

However, they can be slightly risky if applied without strategy. Sending them out too often or at improper times might actually annoy users. While getting them to uninstall your mobile app due to a badly timed push notification is unlikely, every little bit counts. Therefore you should heed these three simple rules:

  • Customize & personalize. Send only what may be relevant to your users. If you can’t find anyone who would benefit from the push notification then don’t send it.
  • Pick the right time. Send them only during regular waking hours and avoid sending push notifications at night. Remember to adjust for time zones.
  • Use them for special occasions. Don’t start sending push notifications every hour or day. Find opportune times and implement notifications as just one tool in your entire mobile app retention strategy.

Use In-App Messaging

Implementing an extremely simple strategy of using in-app messaging can greatly boost mobile app retention rates. Certain engagement metrics may be boosted by up to 3 times through proper use of in-app messaging!

Going through in-app messaging strategy deserves its own article. However, for retention rates one of the most effective ways to utilize in-app messaging is to use predictive suggestions to send special offers. A great example of in-app messaging is informing a user that an item he was looking at has low stock.

Additionally, special offers and discount codes can be sent to heavily engaged users through in-app messaging. That way you get two benefits in one as users get rewarded for being engaged into your app and you drive others to do the same.

Continually Optimize Your Mobile App Retention

Mobile phones get significantly better a lot quicker than any other machine.

However, that doesn’t mean foregoing any type of optimization. You will notice that a lot of older phones might be using your apps. Optimizing your application better means that slower machines overall will be able to run your mobile app without hiccups.

Slow load times, hangups, and other common issues that plague older phones and mobile applications are a great reason for the user to keep looking. If you optimize your application, you greatly reduce the overall mobile app churn rate due to the bad performance.

Want to get more of your marketing efforts? Keep reading the Sender blog! We have enough posts to cover most marketing channels to help you get the most out of SMS, MMS, mobile apps, and emails!

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Article contributor – Erika Klisonyte

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