Marketing Your Mobile App: How to Improve User Retention

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As mobile app experts, we are often asked about retention and all of the avenues available to market your mobile app. Retention for your app is absolutely key. So, how do you measure retention? What is the average retention rate for a mobile app? How much money do I spend on marketing and how does marketing help user retention? These are all important questions that need to be answered in order to ensure your app has the best possible chance within the competitive landscape, and to learn about the strategies to increase your app's retention rate. In this blog post, we will look at what retention means and learn marketing strategies to get your users to come back to your app - time and time again.

So, what is retention?

First and foremost, retention is the ability of a mobile app to maintain its users or customers. This means that you need to focus on creating an app where people want to come back again and again – this will increase retention rates as well as boost user engagement.

Retention is defined as keeping customers or users coming back to your mobile app. How many times do your users return to your app time and time again within a time period? Focusing on retention is so important that up to 25% of all apps are only used once.

How will I know if my mobile app has a high retention rate of users?

To help you understand retention, let's look at an example. Let's say that 100 people download your app and 20 of those users continue to use it after two weeks - this is a retention rate of 20%.

There are ways to measure retention that can help you determine whether or not your app has a high retention rate compared to the industry standard. Finding out the retention rate of mobile apps specific to your industry will also help you determine whether your retention rate is high or low compared to the industry standard.

How can marketing strategies increase retention?

Marketing is an integral part of any business, and it's no different when you're launching and marketing your mobile app. There are many marketing strategies that you can implement to ensure your users return to your mobile app.

Engage your users through email marketing

Email marketing campaigns are great for retention. You can easily collect your users’ email addresses when they download your app and enter their information during onboarding. You can trigger different email flows, and send subscribers emails that they’re interested in. This will encourage retention because you are providing value to the user and educating them on how to use your mobile app effectively. It also keeps people engaged, so they don't miss any valuable content or updates in future. This is an opportunity for you to remind your app users of your unique value proposition, and click on your app icon if they haven't in a while.

Creating a community

Facilitating a conversation between app users is a great way to build retention. By encouraging users to communicate with one another, you'll make them feel like they are a part of something bigger by encouraging an inclusive and responsive environment. There are many ways to make your community thrive. You can run a monthly contest or allow users to submit photos and stories of how your app has helped them in their day-to-day lives. Implementing a blog/forum and encouraging feedback from users is a tried and tested method to improve user engagement.

App store optimisation

App store optimisation (ASO) is an important element when marketing your mobile app. Ranking in the App Store and Google Play store is one of the best ways to generate new downloads. ASO affects user retention in two major ways:

  1. Improving visibility
  2. Increasing ratings and reviews

The App Store and Google Play is the first place people will look when searching for a mobile app. Incorporating keywords into your title, descriptions and screenshots (where possible) helps ensure your mobile app will be found by the people looking for it.

Getting higher visibility is great, but if you're not retaining these new users, then your efforts are wasted. Once a user has downloaded and opened your mobile app they need to be entertained or informed quickly – otherwise, they’ll simply delete it off of their phones. This is where retention strategies come in.

One retention strategy is to make sure your mobile app's content doesn't become stale or irrelevant, instead, it remains useful for users at all times - even if they haven't used the app for a while. This is important because most people won't return to an app unless there is new content delivered to them on a regular basis.

Push notifications

When used correctly, push notifications are a great retention tool. Push notifications can help you to re-engage users who have not opened your mobile app for some time, the same way email marketing works with websites or blogs.

If done correctly they will increase retention rates and reduce your app's churn rate, as well as increasing loyalty which leads to higher retention over time. Push notifications have been shamed in the past for being too invasive, so you should only send them when it's relevant and when you believe your users would want to receive them.

Increasing your organic ratings is a powerful retention strategy that can be executed by including a prompt for users to rate your mobile app - after they have used it. This lets you know what consumers think of the product and if there are any problems or issues that need attention, such as crashes or bugs in the code. It's important to pay close attention when people give negative feedback about your mobile app because it can be a great way to improve your product and provide value to consumers.

Offer incentives and rewards

Incentives are a great marketing strategy to improve your retention rates. Reward users who return to your mobile app with a special promotion or discount. You can offer a reward for inviting friends, sharing your app on their social media and other actions that drive retention. Referral systems can be implemented by encouraging users to invite their friends through a shareable link, social media, SMS or email. Offering a reward in return for staying on your mobile app is one way to encourage retention. For example, if someone stays with your mobile app for 30 days they may receive extra credits or free services. This will keep them engaged and coming back time and time again.

Retarget lapsed users

Using paid ads is another strategy you can implement to retarget users who haven't used your mobile app in a while. By reaching these users with targeted ads, you may improve retention rates by bringing back a lapsed user or encouraging a not-particularly-active user to use the mobile app more. If your objective is to reduce the chance of users bouncing after they install your mobile app, or get your current users to use your app more and make more purchases in-app, many marketers are getting more ROI by focusing on retargeting existing users in paid ad campaigns, rather than focusing on app installs.

For example, if you have an e-commerce mobile app, and it's been over 28 days since someone made their last purchase, you can run paid ad campaigns to serve these users ads encouraging them to return. Sweeten the deal and make it worth their while with special promotions or discounts on items that fit their previous shopping preferences.

Interested to know more about retention?

If retention is not something that you are focusing on, then it's time to start implementing some marketing strategies to increase the stickiness of your app. In this blog post, we have looked at how to use marketing to improve your mobile app’s user retention. If you would like to learn more about mobile app retention rates, book a free 30 minute consult with one of our experts. We're always happy to help!


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