App Stickiness, How to Measure It?

Many times, it is heart-breaking and unpleasant to look at general app retention data. When you look at the graphics, you would generally see a capital L letter looking line whether your app is in the top 10 or the top 1000 because the average app loses 77% of its daily active users (DAU) within the first three days after install. That number rises to 90% within 30 days and up to over 95% after 90 days. 

Image: Andrew Chen

These statistics tell us that there is more than downloads to consider when it comes to growth. Although user acquisition keeps its important position, in a world where most of the apps are free and deleting an app takes no effort, product managers should look for other metrics to observe growth closely. One of the essential metrics in that regard is app stickiness. Let’s dive into what app stickiness is.

What is App Stickiness?

Generally, stickiness is how memorable something is, how much it sticks to your mind. This reference is valid for mobile apps too. App stickiness indicates whether users come back to your app regularly. Hence, stickiness is all about active users who think that your app is valuable and relevant to their lives. These users give your app the opportunity to monetize.

App stickiness is usually calculated by dividing the Daily Active User (DAU) by Monthly Active Users (MAU). The closer the number of DAU to MAU, hence the closer the ratio to 1, means that your daily users are becoming regulars. This may seem like a vanity metric, yet combined with other data, it provides you with valuable insights. 

Image: Braze, Calculation of app stickiness

App stickiness has a very close relationship with user engagement. User engagement is the level of user involvement with your app, and it is the interpretation of different metrics, including app stickiness coming together. Apart from the above calculation of app stickiness, user engagement metrics such as the number of sessions, session length, session interval, etc. also indicate the stickiness of your app.

How to Improve App Stickiness

Show Your App’s Value

One of the best ways to increase app stickiness is to avoid complexity and show what your app has to offer by limiting the number of steps required to take a core action and by stressing it. For example, imagine a weather forecast app. The core value that app offers is easily accessed by just opening the app. 

Image: A weather forecasting app showing its core value without pushing users to take unnecessary steps

Increase Value Over Time with Data

You can use data analysis in many ways to improve user engagement. One of the best practices to increase app stickiness is using data to improve the value your app brings. Adjust gives the example of Instagram’s archives of stories. Stories used to disappear, and the user couldn’t reach these stories. Because of that, a significant number of users were downloading their stories daily, and others complained that they had intended to but forgot. Using this data, Instagram made it available for users to reach their previous stories through the archive. 

Image: TechCrunch, Instagram Archive

Personalize Your App

96% of marketers agree that personalization advances customer relationships, and 88% say that they’ve realized a measurable lift in business results from their personalization campaigns. 

Personalization is a highly recommended technique to keep users engaged, resulting in a long-term relationship. 

Also, letting your users personalize your app is a good way to increase app stickiness. Imagine a dictionary app. Allowing users to register and keep track of their previous searches, take notes, etc. would increase their engagement and their likelihood of using your app later on.

Track Your Power Users

Power users are the users who gain the most value out of your app. Tracking how they use your app helps you understand what makes them come to your app regularly. You can use this data to adjust your app’s features to bring users the best experience.


Many apps can’t survive by just acquiring new users. You need regular users who find value in your app. You should be closely tracking app stickiness to assess your app’s health and make the necessary improvements to give the best experience to your users. 


Looking for ways to increase app stickiness? Check out how you can achieve it with the power of stories

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