Mobile App Retention and Engagement Accelerate Growth

by Bistriti Poddar |

What’s the most important metric that provides real insight into the success of your mobile application? Mobile app engagement and mobile app retention. This shows how valuable your app is in the eyes of the user. This also enables you to gauge what’s working and what isn’t so that you can make necessary improvements to engage your customers and increase retention. The main goal for any marketer is to inspire as many downloaders as possible to keep them coming back for more, hence the value of retention and subsequent revenue opportunities. 

Leanplum, a mobile marketing software company, found that most apps lose a majority of their users after being opened for the first time. By day one apps only have a 21% retention rate, and by day 10 this number drops to 7.5% and remains steady through the first month. By day 90 the number further declines to 1.89%. According to reports, a mobile app may lose almost 80% of its daily active users (DAU) within the first three days after installation. And, if you do not take appropriate action on falling DAU, the stats get even more depressing. Hence, high impact app retention strategies are high on the list of priorities for mobile marketers.

Measure your mobile app engagement with these metrics:

  • Number of downloads: To retain users, you need to first acquire them.  So, the more downloads the better it is for your business.
  • Active mobile app users:  A crucial metric for user retention, this lets you know how many active users you have who use your app on a daily basis.
  • Session interval: This can determine stickiness and is the time between two back-to-back sessions of your mobile app. It shows how often someone opens and uses your mobile app.
  • Session length: Session length is all about how long a user spends on your app at a time.The longer the session, the better it is.
  • Lifetime revenue: This is the total amount of money you have earned from a user before they discontinue using your app and this can be measured through a monthly average of either purchase value per user or advertising revenue.

Which app categories have the most retention? 

  • Utility apps, like translation software, tools, and organizers, are doing very well on Android.
  • The Finance and Business segment that has apps for bookkeeping, stock market trading, etc. are ranked second on Android, with retention rates on day one crossing 35%.
  • The Travel and Transport apps that offer timetables and travel services, ranked third in retention. These apps retained well and maintained high rates as long as the seventh day for both Android and iOS platforms.
  • Education category apps also perform quite well. Gaming apps on the other hand continue to be top performers and look promising on Android.
  • Books and Magazines on Android recorded the highest rate of retention on day one.
  • There’s also been a significant growth in the online medical consultation applications.

Starbucks is pushing the envelope when it comes to app retention. It’s new payment system through the app has proved to be a huge success with fast adoption and usage of the mobile app. The two pivotal elements that led to the rapid growth and customer adoption success of the Starbucks mobile app and payment system are its linkage with the lucrative rewards system that offered immediate stars for each purchase and the fact that Starbucks also used digital channels for effective data mining and to learn more about its target customers.

Increasing engagement and retention result in active and loyal users. The following mobile app user retention strategies are helpful in reducing churn and improving ROI:

  • Integrate your app with other marketing channels to provide your users a seamless omnichannel experience and keep it consistent across your brand. To engage your users, it’s very important to merge it with your overall marketing strategy.
  • Simplify your user onboarding by reducing the number of steps to sign up. Empower your users with feature education like app functionality. The easier it is to use your app, the more downloads you’ll experience.
  • Send a push notification to users welcoming them and provide useful information to progress through the app. This sort of interaction is personalized and increases app retention and loyalty. Localytics reports that users who experience some degree of personalized brand interaction are more likely to return to an app for 11 or more sessions.
  • Use coupon strategies like Walgreens (By providing a coupon, Walgreens shows their users that they understand their needs and why they use their app in the first place) to engage and keep your users active. If you constantly offer value, they will come back for more. Make them easy to redeem as well and keep on improving the user experience.
  • Reward loyal users through gift vouchers and loyalty points. This is one of the many ways to keep your users happy. A widely famous example for an app which has retained users through loyalty points is the Starbucks App.
  • In app personalized messages like for birthdays, anniversaries, sending reminders or announcing sales are a great way to engage with your users. It can also be used to resolve a concern or nudge them to discover features.

Your mobile app users are often your most profitable customers and user retention through well thought out strategies is one of the most effective ways to influence your company’s growth and revenue.

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