When unrolling a new app, you go all out for new user acquisition, and you give it a top priority. Many apps even after seeing a few springs still consider user acquisition as the sole success factor. You mark my word, most of these apps simply fail to generate enough revenue in the long term to survive and grow as a business. After the app developers complete their job and the app is launched, marketers go all out after acquisition for quite some time but never really give priority to user engagement and retention. This is precisely the case of so many apps that fail to keep users return to the app after a few initial sessions. Yes, the most challenging part of the success path of an app is to engage users and retain them.

This is precisely why we need to explain how you can redefine your mobile app retention strategy. Let’s start with the evaluation of where does your app stands with respect to user retention.

We precisely call it retention if a new user returns to an app at least once in a month or an old user at least once in 60 days or 90 days. This happens to be the standard benchmark to measure retention for an app. Now as per the industry data until 2018, the average user retention rate after 90 days is just 29%. That means across all apps belonging to different categories and industries 71% users churn out after 90 days.

Let us explain some of the tested and tried strategies and practices to boost your app retention and engagement rate.

Make the Mobile App Onboarding Better

Mobile App Onboarding Experieance Improvement

Mobile App Onboarding Experieance Improvement

The most prescribed strategy by seasoned developers is to enhance the mobile app onboarding experience. As soon as a user starts using the app for the first time, few things must stand out to him. The app must establish its value proposition, the core features and how to use them in different contexts and how the user can use the app for their purposes. Explaining these things is the key to an excellent onboarding experience.

Apart from this, the user must be accommodated easily right from the beginning. A natural sign-up process that doesn’t make it mandatory is essential. For sign up allowing guest login or social sign up are good approaches. The on-screen guide showing the navigation elements and the features for using the app can be greatly effective.

Now let’s come to another crucial part of onboarding experience, i.e. seeking permission for notifications. Since users mostly detest spam notifications pushing something promotional, you need to take cautious steps here. You can mention their name in the notifications, but again, they often get scared of spam when seeing their name so early after starting to use an app. Some leading apps follow a better practice. They ask for permission to send notification only when a relevant context is created. That’s surely more convincing and agreeable.

Using Push Notifications Effectively

Effective Push Notifications

Effective Push Notifications

Apart from skilfully seeking permission to send push notifications to your users, it is also essential how, when and what you send through these notification messages. As per recent statistics, push notifications can really improve your retention rate, a significant hike ranging from 56% to 180%. Other statistics also mention that 88% of users who receive notifications on a regular basis remained more frequent and engaged in using the app than the rest.

It is important to serve the purpose of push messages when you are sending one. The first purpose is to remind them that they have downloaded the app and some exciting things are waiting for them. That’s precisely how you position your app competitively alongside another app of the same niche downloaded by the user.

Secondly, based on user behaviour and preferences you can send notifications targeting their interests in some products or features or services. The apps that are less likely to be used very frequently can send notifications by explaining some reasons to come back to the app for something exciting. Attracting the attention of the right person at the right moment with the right message is all that matters for effective push notifications.

Personalised Mobile User Experience

As users spend a considerable portion of their daily life engaged on the mobile device screens, personalisation of the user experience plays a key role in grabbing their attention. Mobile users because of simply the nature of their handheld devices demand more personalisation in user experience elements. No wonder, apps offering more scope of personalised experience enjoy a bigger share of user engagement.

Some of the most effective ways to personalise mobile experience are to deliver contents specific to individual preferences, tailored notifications for individual preferences, design and layout elements that can be set to individual preferences, etc. Personalising the content page and product listing as per the user preference is another way to boost user engagement and retention on a continuous basis. By exercising all such scopes of personalisation, a mobile app can engage and retain users for longer than usual.

Conducting A/B Testing

App A/B Testing

App A/B Testing

Finally, an app should concentrate on conducting A/B testing of the marketing campaigns to evaluate the results. A/B testing offers excellent scope to evaluate the marketing campaigns and accordingly bring changes that engage users more and retain them for longer. For example, A/B testing clearly can show you what type of CTA works and what types do not.

A/B testing of the design elements helps to provide a clear idea of the possible user reactions. On the basis of A/B testing results, the designers and developers can make the on-screen elements more intuitive and engaging. It is the most effective way to judge whether any design element works properly and fulfils the expectation. A/B testing opens the scope of fine-tuning the user experience on a continuous basis.


Apart from all the four strategies mentioned above, the basic and core principles of user-centric design and development are equally important for the enhanced rate of retention and user engagement. You not only need to do things perfectly but also you need to do them consistently.

About the Author:
With nearly 10 years of experience in the digital marketing and software consultant, Juned Ghanchi is the co-founder and CMO of IndianAppDevelopers, top mobile app development company in India, specialize in ecommerce and mobile game development.

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