Engage Your Mobile App Users to Increase Retention

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The process of conceptualizing and developing a mobile app involves a lot of effort and hard work. However, the real work starts after your app has been launched. If you fail to engage and retain users, it is as though you never released your app in the first place. Unfortunately, that is the fate of many mobile apps out there.

According to a 2018 study by Localytics, up to 21 percent of users abandon an app after using it just once. While this figure is better than the 25 percent abandonment rate in 2015, it is still a cause for concern. The study also revealed that the retention rate for mobile apps is 38 percent – up from 37 percent in 2017. In addition to this, most apps lose 57 percent, 66 percent, and 71 percent of their active users after 30, 60, and 90 days respectively.

Considering these statistics, it comes as no surprise that although the market for mobile apps is booming, very few seem to be benefiting from it. It takes more than a good app to be successful today. As a developer, you must go the extra mile to keep your users engaged and keep them coming back to your app. With that said, in this article, we’ll look at some of the effective mobile app user retention strategies.

Push Notifications: Push notifications have been proven to increase user retention by up to 56 percent, according to Localytics. The app analytics and marketing company also revealed that the current opt-in rate for push notifications is 53 percent. While push notifications can be very useful, it must be used selectively. This means not overwhelming users with messages and sending notifications based on their interests. According to Andrew Chen, the opt-out rate for push notifications is as high as 60 percent.

Case Study: When used properly, push notifications are an excellent way to remind users about your app and bring their attention to interesting content or deals. Several popular companies including Ticketmaster, JetBlue, and Netflix have used push notifications to increase user retention. In the case of Netflix, the company sends out messages to users based on their viewing history and interests. For example, if you have been watching a particular TV series, the company sends you a notification when a new episode has been released. This is an excellent way to bring the attention of users back to your app.

Easy Onboarding: You need to win over users to your app from day one, and this requires easy onboarding. First impressions count in the world of apps. The goal with onboarding is to make it easy for users to get started with your app. Rather than teaching them how to use it, let them enjoy first-hand. As a rule, reduce the number of pages and steps that users have to get through before they can start using your app. Data from Localytics and Slice shows that simplifying the onboarding process can improve your app retention rate by as much as 50 percent.

Case Study: Many of the top apps on the market make the onboarding process smooth for users. Twitter is a good example. To use this social media app, all you need to do is signup in a few steps and follow five accounts. You can manually choose five accounts to follow or do so automatically. It takes only a few minutes to do all of this, and you can start posting tweets. What’s more, the Twitter app has a simple design which makes it easy to figure out how it works. When users do not have to go through several steps before they can use your app or deal with a steep learning curve, they are more likely to patronize your app.

Personalization: Another great way to improve the user retention rate on your app is to offer options for customization. This essentially means giving users the ability to customize their experience on your app to make it more relevant. There are many ways to personalize your app. This includes filtering content by location or by each user’s preferences. There are many examples of personalization in apps. For example, Twitter allows you to view trending keywords based on your location.

Case Study: Starbucks is known for its loyalty programs. However, the company’s personalization efforts have also been a success. You can check the app to find the nearest Starbucks outlet. But that’s not all; you can discover what music is playing at the store, check the menu and place your order before you even arrive. The app even stores your recent orders! Such personalization options make using an app exciting and will keep users coming back.

Incentivization: Everyone likes to be rewarded – even users of your mobile app. Incentives and prizes do not only make your users feel rewarded and can go a long way to build loyalty for your app. There are many types of incentive programs including coupon codes, loyalty programs, and other special promotions. The kind of incentives to offer users depends on the nature of your product. Usually, companies provide their products or services as prizes to customers. However, in some cases, it may make sense to offer users something else. The underlying thing is to give them something valuable.

Case Study: McDonald’s successfully clocked 7 million downloads for its app partly because it offered free sandwiches as an incentive to users. While this was just a welcome offer, it shows the potential of how incentives can inspire users to ask. Starbucks also offers a loyalty program for users of the app. You can accrue points from buying from the company, and you can redeem the points to get foods or drinks at any Starbucks store.


It pays to dedicate time and effort to improve the user retention rate of your app.  The importance cannot be emphasized enough for both Android as well as iOS mobile app development.  It is a well-known fact that it costs considerably more to win over a new user than to retain an existing one. A study by Bain & Company revealed that you could boost your profit by up to 95 percent by just increasing your customer retention rate by merely 5 percent. Some of the strategies highlighted above for boosting your app’s user retention can also help to attract new users.

Engage Your Mobile App Users to Increase Retention

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