Mobile Apps: What’s A Good Retention Rate?

6 minute read

Team Localytics

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in March of 2016, but has been updated with the latest mobile app retention data as of July 2021.

Let’s face it, as mobile app marketers, you know that competition fierce. The number of apps available on the app stores is increasing daily and as you attempt to navigate this ever-evolving landscape, you’ve made some missteps when it comes to communicating with our users.

However, you can’t just give up the fight. You need to reflect on where you’ve gone wrong and bounce back stronger than ever. How? By shifting your focus from acquisition to retention.

Shifting the focus away from acquisition to retention

If you’ve been working in mobile app marketing for a few years, you know that acquisition was once considered the most important metric to measure success. Mobile app marketers focused on attracting as many new users to the app as possible, touting number of users as the strongest pillar of success. However, what people didn’t take into account is the fickleness of these users with 21% of users only using an app once. It’s now apparent that as a mobile app marketer, you must move beyond just measuring app installs and instead focus on in-app behavior to promote engagement and user retention.

As we make this shift towards retention, you may be wondering, “What is a good retention rate? What are my competitors seeing across their industry and throughout mobile as a whole?” We’ve outlined where retention rates stand today so that you know where you stack up and where there’s room for improvement.

Retention rate benchmarks: where do you stand?

Statista’s research into worldwide retention rate of mobile app installs reveals that on the day of installation, the average retention rate across the 31 categories was 25.3%. Worryingly for marketers though, by day 30, this percentage drops to just 5.7%.

This figure fluctuates depending on the category. For example, for news apps, their average retention rate for day 1 is 33.1% and for day 30, is nearly triple the average at 13.3%. Unfortunately for mobile app marketers in the food and drink industry, the picture painted isn’t as positive, with the average retention rates for days 1 and 30 currently sitting at 16.5% and 3.9% respectively.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. There are steps you can take to turn things around.

8 Strategies to Improve Your Mobile App Retention Rate:

The above data speaks for itself; while a marginal number of apps are succeeding to retain their users, the rest are falling short.
So, if you think there’s room for improvement in your mobile app marketing, take advantage of the following app retention strategies that have been proven to positively impact retention:

1.) App Onboarding: If users don’t clearly understand the value of your app and how to use it, their odds of churning drastically increase. We’ve seen app user retention rates increase by 50% after implementing a solid onboarding. What does good app onboarding look like?

  1. In-App Messaging:In-app messages are received while a user is your app, and is usually a result of the user triggering a specific action. Because of this, they’re highly relevant to the end user and also make it easier for them to move through the customer journey. Plus, they’ve been known to increase retention rates by increase 30%.

2.) Push Notifications – Rich Push & Geopush: Push notifications are crucial when engaging with users outside of your app. But because they are sent right to a user’s home screen, the stakes are high to do it right. That means having compelling messaging that is personalized to the user, and combining that with the latest and greatest in push notification technology: Rich Push & Geopush.

3.) Individualization: App users crave individualization. They want their interactions tailored to their preferences, location, and in-app behavior. In fact, a recent study conducted by our team found that personalized push & in-app messages performed much better than broadcast. Here are 6 ways you can personalize your mobile app experience. 

4.) Predictive Insights: Understanding which users are at risk of churning gives you the opportunity to save them. Using Predictive App Marketing, you can design highly personalized messaging campaigns to re-engage these users and bring them back from the brink.

5.) Remarketing: 50% of all app users opt-out of push messaging, making it increasingly hard to draw users back into your app. The solution? Remarketing. Sending a compelling reminder about your app to lapsed users outside of the app is an effective way to re-engage them. You can do this through email, social, and search advertisements. Be sure to tap into data insights about your lapsed users’ behaviors, interests, and preferences to ensure your remarketing ad is relevant and thus, effective.

6.) A/B Testing: The only way to truly know which marketing strategies are working and which are falling flat is through A/B testing. A/B testing makes your campaigns smarter and more efficient and helps you to pinpoint the messaging and features driving engagement and conversion.  For example, you should A/B test CTAs to see which entice users to move through your key app funnels. Alternatively, you could try different push and in-app offers to see which are driving higher conversion rates. The more in-app activity and conversion actions a user has, the more engaging your app becomes to them. Looking to get started with A/B testing? Here are 5 easy A/B tests all mobile app marketers need to run.

7.) Omnichannel Experience: One of the biggest mistakes a marketer can make is not integrating their app into their overall marketing strategy. Too often, apps are siloed from the rest of the strategy, resulting in a disconnected user experience. Instead, promote and infuse your app across all other channels to create a seamless experience for users. This seamless experience will translate into having a very user-friendly app, thus boosting your retention.

8.) Use data to guide you: As with any channel, to truly win at mobile, you need to lead with data. That means having a mobile app marketing software that grants you the insights you need to understand how well you are retaining users, and how impactful your app marketing campaigns are. Having the right data insights will allow you to strengthen your interactions with users, ultimately resulting in a positive uptick in retention.

With Upland Localytics, you can implement these 8 strategies with ease, ensuring your mobile app campaigns deliver results and improve user retention. If you’d like to find out more about how Upland Localytics can help transform your mobile app marketing potential, request your personalized demo today.

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