8 Mobile App Retention Strategies: From UX to User Engagement

When tens of thousands of apps compete, standing out of the competition and grabbing the users’ attention is not easy. There are specific strategies that you need to know to increase your retention rate.

As an app owner, do you realize the significance of app retention in your business? Are you convinced you’re not lagging behind the competition? If you’re not saying a 100% yes to these questions, you need to read the following article to find out.

What Is App Retention?

Before knowing user engagement and retention strategies, it is significant for you to know what exactly app retention is. Simply put, the measure of calculating your users’ engagement with your application is app retention. In order to know which user engagement and retention strategies to adopt, you need to figure out the average user retention rate of your mobile app. Analytics offer information on user engagement to help develop the right mobile app user retention strategy. Ultimately, the better the engagement and retention rate, the higher the growth opportunities for your app.

The simple way to calculate an app’s retention rate is by dividing the total number of active users by the number of apps installed in a given period. Typically, the app retention rate is measured within one day, seven days, and thirty days after the initial installation of the app. The Daily Monthly Users (DAU) metric helps calculate the number of users that use your app in a single day. Similarly, Monthly Active Users (MAU) helps calculate the number of users over a specific month. Additionally, churn rate is also a metric using the retention rate that helps in identifying churned users. See here a separate article to learn about mobile app performance metrics.

What Is the Difference between Retention and Engagement?

People often think that user retention and engagement mean the same for mobile apps, so app developers choose the same retention and engagement strategies. However, these terms are actually two different sides of the same coin and need to be understood separately for increasing user loyalty.

When thinking about retention vs. engagement, remember that retention is related to retaining, and engagement is linked to engaging the users. App retention is when you get users to reach out to your app again and again after their first usage. Separately, user engagement is the length of time users spend using your app, its features, or performing any action on your app. The more the engagement, the higher the retention, and likewise, the greater the retention, the deeper the engagement.

As an example, you have an e-commerce app like Alibaba. You will have users who check in your app daily to gain points for rewards on the app without performing any further actions on it, other than collecting points for daily attendance. These users are being involved in app retention. While users who scroll through the app, check products, add them to their cart, navigate and perform similar actions on your app are actually engaging with it.

Why Retention Is Important for Your Mobile Business?

There is no better way to know the progress of your mobile app business than through the mobile app retention data. When you know how many users can retain your app, you know whether your app is doing better than before or not; and if not, then figure out your strategy for app retention to reach your benchmarks on mobile app retention.

If your app shows high mobile app retention statistics, it means that the users using your app are more active and engaged, leading to higher chances of better revenue for your mobile app business. Also, you get to know whether or not your app can retain new users, how long it can retain users based on your existing mobile app retention strategies, and what the mobile app analytics for user retention tells you about the growth of your business. You also get to know if users are disengaging from your app, i.e. mobile app churn rate. All in all, you get to know whether your app business serves the purpose and provides solutions to your users’ problems.

How to Increase User Retention Rate of Your App?

For new and existing mobile app businesses, retaining users is of enormous significance. Now and then, the developers are looking to discover the best ways to increase app retention rates. If you are one of those mobile app owners, then the following part of the blog will offer the right insights for you.

Following are seven of the best tips to improve mobile app retention:

1. Do Beta Testing and Soft Launching

As a developer, you should aim to offer an almost perfect app so that your user has no reason to churn your app. Both beta testing and soft launching are a significant part of the user retention plan typically performed before the app is made available for the users.

In beta testing, you offer a version of the app to some users to test the almost developed app but not thoroughly ready to be live. A beta app can be changed according to the responses of the users. Further down the road, soft launching is a test drive of your app, available in the app stores yet by providing a complete version to a restricted audience. In this case, the chances of having bugs are minor, and only highly significant changes can be made, usually on the marketing side.

Both methods are constructive in ensuring your mobile app’s success as it helps identify any significant flaws before making the app available to your potential users. Mobile user retention is likely to increase exponentially when your app is ready to be live and free of bugs.

7 App Retention Strategies From Development to User Engagement

2. Simplify Your Onboarding Process

Imagine you have guests over at short notice, and you want to order food. Your friend suggests you download a food delivery app, and you do it. However, when you launch it for the first time, the sign-up process itself takes so long that you prefer choosing some other app over wasting time on the never-ending complex sign-up process. There’s a good chance you will never seek out the app in the future. The reason for this is a failure in making a good first impression, i.e., a complex onboarding process leading to a zero app customer retention rate.

If you are looking for how to retain users on the app, you need to make the first step, the onboarding process, as easy, simple, and quick as possible. One of the best tricks to improve an app’s daily active users is to be strategic about how you design the onboarding process. The onboarding process is a sufficient preview for the users to predict the app’s functionality, value, and worth. A case study with Slice states that the retention rates of apps go up to 50% when they have a robust onboarding process, so the onboarding process is directly proportional to the app retention rate.

3. Personalize the Experience

When there are tens of thousands of applications on multiple app stores, it gets confusing for a developer to make their app one of the few apps that the users use daily. To have high app retention, the user experience offered in the app should be exceptional and enjoyable. Hence, one of the best mobile app daily active users’ improvements tips offers a personalized user experience.

Imagine if you are offered suggestions of products that are actually of your use without you having to look for them. It would feel great, yes? This is what happens when you personalize your app for the users.

App personalization is a strategy to increase post-install engagement by developing an app that fulfills all the users’ needs individually. If done rightly, the technique can help mobile app owners achieve overwhelming user retention, engage more users and build a strong relationship with them by understanding their needs and wants. According to Forrester, around 77% of people have chosen, recommended, or paid more for firms that offer a personalized experience to them.

There are different ways to personalize your app for users by using behavioral, contextual, or demographic targeting. The purpose is to tailor the app according to each users’ needs and preference.

4. Utilize User Engagement Tools

Are you tired of typing how to increase daily active users on my app on search bars?

Well, one of the best mobile app DAU improvement tips is to utilize user engagement tools. There are multiple user engagement tools available online, out of which the most effective ones include push notifications, in-app messages, and in-app stories.

In push notifications, you keep reminding your users with personalized notifications about your app. Likewise, in-app messages are used to update the users regarding new updates and promotions. However, in-app stories offer a unique, compelling, and comparatively more seamless way to take the users on an informative journey about the app and its features.

If you do not know how to customize one of the tools for you, then we have got your back. You can check out this blog post titled App Engagement Marketing 101 that is designed to increase your user retention by offering some of the most interesting, interactive, and informative stories for your users.

5. Track Data and Optimize the UI/UX Elements of Your App

To offer an optimum experience to the users, you need to know what your users want. There are different ways to track users’ data and observe user behavior. As trends change or new emerge, there will be shifts in user behavior and habits. An app’s retention strategy needs to take these changes into account and adapt accordingly.

Once you track the data accurately, you know what to optimize and when to, leading to higher retention and increased engagement. Inbound marketing authorities suggest that around 79% of users who do not enjoy the experience click the “back” button. To avoid this, you need to constantly observe and revisit to improve your app’s UI/UX elements. You may need to change the app design, rework the visual hierarchy, change the color scheme, add or remove functions, resolve bugs, or improve based on user complaints. In any case, do not undermine or delay the optimization process.

6. Use Gamification in the User Journey:

When you look at the app retention rate per category, the retention rate for gaming apps in the Apple App Store was ahead of all the other categories even in 2021, with 21.49 percent of active apps. Hence, the case with the constant acceleration of the industry and high retention rates.

Considering this, one of the most impactful ways to boost retention is through gamifying the user experience. You can gamify with rewards, challenges, points, and offers in your app. Moreover, you can include contests, giveaways, and quizzes to make your app more fun and engaging for the user.

7. Act on User Feedback

For app retention, active users mean a lot, but the churned users mean a lot more. The reason behind this is that the churning rate helps you identify the loopholes of your application. Now you must be wondering how to figure out reasons for no app retention, so one of the best ways to identify your cons is to ask your users. You can send your users, especially the churned ones a survey to fill out and then resolve the issues immediately.

8. Bonus: Embrace an Omnichannel Approach to Mobile Marketing

As you have come a long way through the blog, you deserve a little bonus in the form of another exciting app retention strategy. An omnichannel approach is a user-focused approach that helps marketing products and reach out to new users through different channels, devices, and platforms. What you can do is plan your marketing strategy keeping in-app marketing in mind through all the available outlets.

Final Thoughts

User retention means the world for mobile app owners. Hopefully, after reading the blog, you are well aware of how to keep users on your app. Now that you know all the tips and tricks, it’s time you make the best use of them and increase your conversion.

Explore in-app stories now and book a demo!

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