To improve your app’s engagement and app user retention, the first step is understanding why users leave. User churn is one of the most critically important challenges to tackle in your mobile engagement strategy. Why? Because the average app sees over 95% of its users churn within the first 90 days of install. In fact, if apps just work to reduce their churn rate by 5%, they could boost their profitability by 75%.
Why users leave apps
As we like to say: “so many apps, so little time” — there might be a vast array of apps available across the app stores (over 5 million apps), but the truth is the average user only interacts with 10 apps per day.
So why do so many users download an app, just to uninstall it shortly after? Given the data with mobile app user retention, it seems likely that users download apps to test drive them. It’s that first experience — e.g. a user’s initial install and engagement — that’s critical for apps to optimize for mobile app onboarding.
Ninety percent of the people who engage weekly for the first month after they download an app are likely to be retained. In contrast, less than 23% of people who don’t engage in the second, third and fourth week after download are likely to be retained.
So, what’s the takeaway? Well, first, strategies like retargeting are key to implement from Day 1 of launch of your user acquisition and app user retention. Retargeted ads and push notifications can help keep your app top-of-mind for users.
Second, it’s important to thoughtfully optimize the initial experience a user has with your app to help increase your engagement and retention. Below, we outline five strategies you can use to optimize a user’s initial experience with your app to keep high-quality, ROI-positive users.
1. Reduce the number of steps in your mobile app onboarding
If the initial install of your app is its first impression, then make an impression that’s simple and streamlined. The sign-up stage is the point in many apps’ funnels when they see significant user drop-off. To confront this, minimize the number of required steps in your sign-up flow and think about what information could be asked for at a later stage in your funnel. Also, streamline new account registrations by integrating social media or Google login options in your app user retention strategies.
Aim for three to five welcome pages featuring clear and concise copy that succinctly explain your app’s features and benefits, and guide users through to a registration process (if needed). Use attention-grabbing images and icons to keep users engaged throughout the onboarding process.
2. Personalize welcome pages and in-app messages
Use data you’ve collected during your mobile app onboarding flow to serve personalized messaging to your users. Customizing your in-app messages and landing pages can result in a 27% increase in conversions according to Braze.
While more personalization is better, even making a simple change like adding a person’s name to the messaging can improve your engagement and app user retention. For more advanced customization, use audience segmentation to drill down on where a user is in your app funnel and create messaging that aligns with it. You can also use cohort analysis to understand better what users are experiencing right before they churn and personalize messaging from there.
3. Send emails and in-app messages to users who are likely to churn
Building off the last strategy — use cohort analysis to understand which segments of your audience are most likely to churn. From there, target segments of users that have the highest likelihood of churn and send them an email that’s customized and offers information or rewards to keep them engaged.
For example, if you’re a game app and users often churn at level 3, then send a power-up or an in-app reward at that level as a way to have app user retention. If you’re an e-commerce app and users often uninstall after a month of inactivity, then send an email with a promotion or discount to your users around the 3-week mark.
4. Customize opt-in permissions
As data protections give consumers more choice over sharing their personal information, apps that are transparent and informative will see higher engagement rates. With this in mind, customize any data sharing opt-in messages you must share under Apple’s ATT Framework.
Also consider using a pre-ATT permission prompt or “context screen” within your ATT opt-in flow to create a more seamless experience. According to Adjust, apps that integrate a pre-permission prompt in their opt-in flow can achieve up to a 65% opt-in rate. When focusing on app user retention, explain the value of opting in to your users in simple language that doesn’t overload them with information. Some benefits you might communicate to users include helping your app stay free and receiving relevant, personalized content.
5. Use DCO to bring users back to your app
Shopping cart abandonment is one of the most pressing challenges brands face today. In fact, according to the Baymard Institute, more than 69% of all transactions are abandoned. There are many ways to confront the issue of cart abandonment. One of them is using dynamic creative optimization (DCO) to serve ads showing items users have left in their shopping cart. You can also use DCO serve ads showing similar items to past purchases a user has made.
These strategies not only bring users back to your app but enhance your app’s long-term mobile growth and app user retention by keeping your app top-of-mind.
With the average app seeing over 95% of its users churn within the first 90 days of install, user churn is one of the most critically important challenges to tackle in your mobile app onboarding and engagement strategy. To improve your app’s engagement and retention, thoughtfully optimize the first experience a user has with your app.
- Reduce the number of steps in your onboarding
- Personalize welcome pages and in-app messages
- Send emails and in-app messages to users who are likely to churn
- Customize opt-in permissions
- Use DCO to bring users back to your app
Need support with your retention strategy?
YouAppi team of retargeting and app user retention experts have been working in the mobile space since the launch of the app store. From onboarding optimization to personalized retargeted ads, we can help you engage and retain your ROI-positive users. Reach out to us.