Mobile App Performance: Increase Retention in 5 Easy Ways

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User retention is one of the most important app performance indicators. Retention can basically make a mobile app active for months – even years. This is important especially if the app is using the freemium model of monetization. Whales won’t normally spend money on an app as soon as they download it. It would take an average of 10 days before the conversion happens. But how do you increase retention? There’s certainly a formula to keep the whales in the app, right?


There’s actually no need for complicated implementation. It’s even possible that you know some (if all) of these strategies to increase retention. So without further ado, here are 5 easy ways to increase retention:


1.     Design an Easy User Onboarding

Easy, intuitive, and seamless – that’s what the onboarding experience should be. Difficult onboarding increases abandonment rates. A sign-up process with many steps and information fields is an example of a difficult onboarding. An effective onboarding, on the other hand, is achieved either through the following strategies:


  • Easy account creation and log in with multiple options for registration (through email, Facebook, etc.)
  • Offer a guest user option.
  • Offer an offline option.
  • Only offer tips/tutorials as applicable, not just in one go.
  • Easily adaptable gestures/actions.


Effective onboarding has a great impact on user retention and app revenue. This is through decreasing app churn and increasing LTV.


2.     Give Incentives

Incentives like exclusive content access, in-app item sale, and coupons drive engagement and conversion. This is especially true if you increase the anticipation for said incentives. A lot of game apps refill lives within a certain amount of time or give free coins for just logging in daily. The type of incentives you can use depend on the nature of your app. It can either be time-sensitive or usage/progress-based rewards.


3.     Gamify

Gamification encourages usage, especially if there is a social aspect to it. With games, competitive and co-op play are encouraged to increase retention. But with utility and business apps, gamification strategies increase retention by changing the way users respond to the app. About 89% of users said that incentives like points and rewards increase their engagement to an app. An increase in engagement reduces churn rate, therefore increases retention.


It is also important that the gamification elements you implement can add value to your app and appear natural.


4.     Push Notifications

Push notifications are often used to increase app engagement and re-engagement. But push notifications can also increase retention. On a study conducted over a 90-day period, apps without push notification capabilities only have 10% retention rate; apps with active push notifications, on the other hand, have 27% retention rate. About 78% of Android users opt-in for push messages while in iOS only 46% of users opt-in.


Push messaging is an important tool in the implementation of time-sensitive incentives, offers, and in-app events. Each notification should trigger users to return to the app over and over again.


5.     App Updates

Fresh and timely content can keep users interested. That’s why it’s important to regularly update apps to fit the needs and demands of your users. You can use mobile app analytics to track user behavior. This can give you an insight on what works for your users and what causes them to abandon your app. In order to get a closer insight, you can also comb user feedback from reviews in the app store, in-app feedback channels, and in social media. You can use any aggregated data to make informed choices on what to improve in the app.

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