It is one thing to acquire users but to actually keep them engaged enough to want to continue using your app long-term is a whole other story. This is why it’s advisable that app user retention strategies and features are taken into account while scoping your mobile app.

In terms of app usage retention, Loyalytics describes it as returning to an app at least once within 30 days. This shows the loyalty users have towards your app. Based on a report published by Brain & Co, increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%” and a 10% rise in customer retention leads to a 30% increase in the value of the company.

So then what happens when you can’t engage and retain app users? In this case, churn rates would increase. The act of churning is the opposite of retention and can be described as the number of users who uninstall and stop engaging with an app. According to Loyalytics, across all industries, 71% of all app users churn within 90 days.  

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With these definitions and statistics in mind, ask yourself these questions, does your app make your users’ lives easier? Does it identify and acknowledge any pain points? Figuring out where users find value in your app can help deliver more experiences catering to what users are looking for and increase their level of loyalty and engagement.

Strategies to Help Improve App User Retention

The following are some helpful techniques and strategies to help increase app user retention:

1. Simple onboarding process: It is important to show the long-term value and benefit of your app not only in the app store to engage users before downloading but to display its importance in the onboarding process as well. The goal is to show users how your app can change their lives and solve their problems, clearly identifying and acknowledging some of their everyday pain points. It is important to show the value of the features you are presenting to users, they need to know exactly how those features will work to help them complete certain tasks.

Abandonment rates will go up if the onboarding process is too difficult and long to get through or there are too many steps to complete to sign-up before being able to use the app. According to a study conducted by Localytics and Slice, retention rates went up 50% after implementing a solid onboarding process.

First impressions are important, and so having easy login and account creation, minimal steps during sign-up, helpful tips on features, offering different registration options through their Google, Facebook or Twitter accounts and not overloading and overwhelming the user with too much information and features are strategies to completing a smooth onboarding process for users.

If during the onboarding process there are text-heavy explanations, users won’t want to sift through all that information. It is best to use illustrations, screenshots and progress indicators to help them along through onboarding.

2. Push notifications: Push notifications are a way to engage with users outside the app. These can be personalized messages sent to their home screens encouraging them to use your app. This function serves as a reminder to users that they have downloaded the app and it gives them a reason to return. Of the users who decide to enable push notifications, 88% show more app engagement.

Machine learning algorithms can analyse usage patterns and identify when the user usually opens the app. With this information, personalized notifications can be sent at optimal times of the day to ensure that the user will read them. For instance, if someone listens to a music app every day on their way to work at 8 am, then this user behaviour would be monitored and push notifications can be sent out at that time.

However, it is important to be careful and avoid sending excessive push notifications. Too many can irritate users and lead to an increase in uninstall rates. When applied correctly, this function can be used to send reminders for in-app events, special offers and promote valuable content in the app.

3. In-app messaging: Along with push notifications, personalized in-app messaging is a communication tool to engage with users while they are using the app. In fact, apps that send in-app messages show a 2 to 3.5x higher user retention. Similar to push notifications, in-app messages can be quick and informative to let users know of new exciting features and updates, inform them of what’s different and share important information and news that could impact their app usage.

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4. Predictive Insights: By using this technique you will be able to understand which users are at risk of churning and figure out a way to re-engage them. Predictive app marketing involves proactively targeting users by gathering all the data about your customers and the ways that they interact with the app to better predict consumer behaviour.

5. Mobile personalization: With mobile personalization, users can have a unique experience with your app. Using the user’s name when sending in-app messages and push notifications is a small start. Intelligent recommendations can also be made to provide more personalized in-app experiences such as tailoring content and product suggestions based on previous actions, behaviour, preferences and interests.

6. Provide users with an incentive: Another strategy for retaining users is providing them with an incentive to keep opening and using your app. This can be in the form of in-app rewards like coupons, discounts, special content access, exclusive services and promotions to help increase interest and encourage engagement and app loyalty.

With these acquisition and retention strategies, you are ready to ensure the success of your mobile app! Next up we are going to be looking at the best practices for pitching an app idea and how to avoid the top reasons why apps fail. Stick around!

Top App Developers in Canada

Guarana was recently named a Top Application Development Agency in Canada for 2018 by Clutch.co and CrowdReviews.

Guarana Technologies develops best-of-class mobile apps for smartphones, tablets and wearable devices. We develop your app ideas, make them smart and sexy, code them and launch them. Native iOS and Android app development.

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