5 Proven Strategies to Increase Mobile App User Engagement & Retention

Many companies invest vast resources into acquiring new users. But while user acquisition is a critical part of building and growing your app, engagement, and retention of these users is just as valuable for success.
Want to know why 72 percent of mobile phone users uninstall an app?

“I rarely used the app.”

Many companies invest vast resources into acquiring new users. But while user acquisition is a critical part of building and growing your app, engagement, and retention of these users is just as valuable for success.

The key to app success is engaging new users early and often. A recent study shows that 90 percent of users who engage with an app weekly for the first month after installation will stick around.

User acquisition is cost-intensive for businesses. And without real user retention efforts, ROI can be affected. So, what are the top mobile engagement and retention strategies that work to keep users coming back? In this post, we explore each one of them in detail. But before we dive into the strategies, let’s look at the basics.

Difference Between App Engagement and Retention

Mobile app engagement and retention are two key metrics that businesses of all sizes can leverage to generate real insight into the success of an app. So, how exactly do they differ?

What is App Engagement?

Simply put, app engagement is directly related to the set of metrics that measure the interaction between users and the mobile app. These tactics give app visitors a reason to keep coming back to your app to perform an activity or action you deem important - say, order an item.

What is User Retention?

While user retention is a highly subjective term, it measures the number of users who return to the app within three months, after their first session. The metric looks at first-time app users within a specific timeframe; say one week or month, and compiles the percentages of those users that return in subsequent periods.

Note: Every brand has its standard and benchmark to measure user retention rate, depending on the type of app they have built.

Why is User Engagement and Retention Important?

In today’s competitive market, consumers have many options and developers have a tough task of ensuring the app is as engaging as possible and users can stick around for longer.

Statista reports that only 32 percent of users will return to an app 11 times or more after installing it. What’s more shocking is that the user abandonment rate is at 25 percent, a figure that represents the user’s likelihood to drop an app just after one use. Moreover, if a user doesn’t open an app once in 7 days, the chances of uninstalling it are 60 percent.

User engagement is highly correlated with overall profitability. Once a customer creates a connection with your brand, they’re more likely to buy, become a repeat customer, and share the product or service with friends. Since no two customers are the same, it’s important to retain your best customers.

Retention brings the customer back, which offers an opportunity for engagement on a deeper level. Get to know your customer’s goals and personalize their interactions to help them use your product or service to meet their unique needs. When users are engaged, they’re less likely to churn and have a higher lifetime value that businesses can leverage to increase revenue for their app.

Understanding Common App Engagement Metrics

How users engage with a mobile app determines the success and failure of the application. Here are key engagement metrics you should keep in mind:

Active Users: It represents the number of users using an app constantly on a daily or monthly basis. The total percentage of active users is the key to understanding how well your app is progressing with new users.

The Number of App Downloads: It’s the number of downloads of your mobile app. The more downloads, the more users you accumulate. Tracking the number of repeated downloads for the same user is necessary to avoid inaccurate metrics.

App Retention Rate: This metric provides a general overview of the number of users who keep coming back to your app once installed.

Session Length: This metric represents the amount of time a certain user spends in your app every time they open it.

Churn Rate: It simply shows the percentage of users your app has lost.

Ways to Increase User Retention and App Engagement

Increasing retention and engagement translates to more active and loyal users of your app. Here are 5 actionable strategies, intended to increase user engagement and retention.

Simplified Onboarding Process

A smooth onboarding process can help to significantly reduce churn rates. The more complicated it is for a user to use an app (such as having too many complex steps to sign up, too many confusing features or functions, or numerous information fields), the more likely customers are to drop it.

Here are some ways to simplify the onboarding process:

• Reduce the number of registration steps for users when creating or signing up

• Highlight core features and functions only, and ensure you don’t overburden users right away

• Most importantly, keep it as simple and straightforward as possible

Send the Right Push Notifications

Push notifications are a powerful technique to acknowledge the user correctly and get to know the business even better. The technique has been shown to grab attention and increase retention by as much as 180 percent.

To ensure push messaging is as effective as possible, make sure you provide value to keep users engaged. The app should send relevant push notifications whenever required as a way of welcoming them to the platform and providing useful information as the users progress through the app. This technique can prove fruitful especially in shaping the user’s journey through being strategic and thoughtful in how you reach out to users.

In-App Messaging

The use of in-app messages is a great way to engage and retain users on an application. It keeps users in the loop and continuously communicates options or offers that may be of interest to them. This may include sending notifications about an upcoming expiration of a product or a reminder to upgrade to a new version.

Besides offering a better user experience, sending out relevant in-app messages such as order placed, order delivered, payment denials, payment approvals, requesting feedback, and more can help the app retain more customers and increase engagement altogether.

Deliver a Personalized User Experience

Personalization is possibly the most critical aspect of an excellent application. 91 percent of customers are more likely to purchase from a brand that provides offers that are specific and relevant to them. Personalized and customized content gives users content that is relevant and increases the chance of conversion and further engagement.

Personalization can be achieved in many ways. Including the name of the user in messaging and on screens is a simple approach to personalization, but going deeper to make sure methods such as push messaging are extremely relevant to the specific user is an area where personalization prospers. Personalization can also take the form of emails sent on things like product stocks, cart abandonment, and more.

App Incentivization

What better way to keep users coming back to your app than offering rewards, and incentives! It’s an effective way to keep users engaged when using your app.

Brands with a reward or loyalty system for users can take advantage of the opportunity to offer mobile-centered rewards, coupons, specialized access to content, special promotions, and other engagement opportunities.

To further increase the user’s understanding of the app, link these rewards and incentives to your key features demo, and see how much they engage with the app in the desired way to achieve the associated reward.

Optimizing Your App for Better Engagement and User Retention

Building an app is no easy task, and creating one that stands out is even more of a feat.

With that in mind, there are certain best practices you can follow to help you convert users to loyal customers and maximize profit. But still, the best ways to keep users engaged will take some trial and error. The best part is that the opportunities for increasing user retention and engagement are endless. Whatever improvements you embark on, you can be sure to improve user experience, keep your churn rate in check, and create sustainable growth.

If you would like to get started with your app optimization to better engage your users, don’t try to do it alone. Schedule a free consultation with our experts and let’s get some ideas rolling for your next project.


Heading 1

Heading 2

Heading 3

Heading 4

Heading 5
Heading 6

Hexagon tumeric banjo bicycle rights. Deserunt commodo try-hard taiyaki marfa, live-edge cardigan voluptate pork belly hexagon laborum 90's poutine bespoke. Hella asymmetrical offal skateboard chia DIY actually mukbang flannel magna messenger bag 3 wolf moon letterpress minim coloring book. Voluptate vexillologist raclette pariatur vinyl. Post-ironic chicharrones irure jianbing incididunt mustache etsy organic PBR&B. Do cillum vaporware ennui venmo adaptogen cloud bread.

Sriracha tweed gatekeep ennui, messenger bag iceland JOMO magna in tumblr la croix.

Mobile apps and websites and intranets and redesigns and...

Explore Our Solutions