How Does Your Mobile App Retention Rate Compare in 2017?

April 21, 2017

Let me paint a brief analogy using the world of dating. More specifically, let’s look at Tinder (because let’s face it, we love mobile apps). Say you come across a gorgeous specimen on your Tinder account. You swipe right to indicate your interest, and fortunately enough, he or she reciprocates the gesture. The attraction is instant – you are two good-looking humans ready to get to know one another in person. So, you set up a date. You lock eyes across the room, and the physical attraction burns even stronger. You take your seat at your table and start chatting. Your suitor seems interested enough, bearing with your semi-humorous banter and playing along with your jokes. But then at the end of the night, you ask for your potential new beau’s phone number and he/she refuses.

Alas, you never see your Tinder unicorn again.

Mobile apps can follow a similar pathway. Sure, you might pique a user’s interest, but is your app really all that successful if you can’t convince him or her to commit? Is your return on investment worth it if a user downloads your shiny new app, but then deletes it within a month’s time?

When launching a new mobile app, it can be easy to channel all your energy into your acquisition figures. While this was certainly considered the most important mobile metric once upon a time, the app landscape has rapidly evolved over the past few years, culminating in the realisation that loyal customers often equate to a better ROI. Yes, downloads still matter, but how are you engaging your users and making sure they’re hanging around?

Viewing the mobile app as more than just a ‘fling’

Right now, the mobile scene is working on breaking the mould of transience it has previously been constricted to. With 25% of mobile app downloads only being used once, it’s become imperative to shift the focus from app installs towards in-app behaviour. Admittedly, app users are typically fickle – after all, digital audiences are known to harbour a shorter attention span than that of a goldfish. However, this doesn’t mean your retention rate should stagnate or plummet after X amount of time.

Let’s take a look at the average retention rate benchmarks

We can’t keep banging on about ‘retention rates’ if we don’t actually outline what this term means in the mobile app industry. In this space, ‘retention’ refers to returning to the app at least once within 30 days of downloading it. The latest stats, as dictated by Localytics, show that the average retention rate after a 90 day-period is 20%. Media and entertainment, eCommerce and retail, and travel and lifestyle apps appear to clock up the best retention rates, followed closely by the business and technology industry and social networking apps. However, 80% of all app users still churn within three months – figures that the app industry is currently attempting to change by adopting new approaches.

Make your 2017 mobile app goals to boost retention and reduce churn

Fortunately, there exists a wealth of tools at your disposal that can improve your app engagement. Let’s delve into a few:

  1. Remarketing: Finding other channels to spruik your app is typically more effective than in-app push marketing, which 50% of users opt out of. Explore your avenues – advertise on your social channels, shoot out EDMs or create search advertisements. By tapping into your lapsed users’ behaviours, preferences and interests, you can potentially draw them back in, reminding them why your app is so valuable to their lives.
  2. Individualisation: App users are also more likely to engage with an app that is tailored to things like their location and their preferences. For instance, recommending new content aligned with your user’s interests, customising favourite lists for your users, or offering special push notification deals when a user strolls past your brick-and-mortar business can get those thumbs tapping on your app.
  3. Rewards: Offering rewards for your users is another great strategy for driving engagement and building loyalty. Herein, you have a few choices. Points-based systems are highly popular: users can accrue points to cash in for actual, tangible rewards. On the other hand, moments-based rewards are much more suitable to products like exercise apps, where these kinds of gratifications produce feelings of excitement and accomplishment.

By keeping in mind that engagement overpowers impressions, you can ensure your mobile app truly soars this year. Realign your focus, try out the above techniques and create an app that is inherently successful. Don’t be the equivalent of a Tinder dud when it comes to crafting a mobile app experience.