How to improve retention for a mobile app? A Complete Guide

How to improve retention for a mobile app? A Complete Guide

Organic User Acquisition


Table of Contents:

  • What is mobile app retention, and why is it important?
  • What is the good retention rate for mobile apps?
  • Wrapping Up

Building and developing an app is only half of the work done. To be a successful app publisher, you need to ensure that people use the app consistently. This is not only a challenge but an extremely critical aspect of app building. On average, mobile apps have a retention rate of 42% by day 30 and 25% by day 90. This means that you need to keep acquiring new users. 

This is not easy; according to Statistica, the average cost of acquisition of users for mobile apps is around $4 per user. If your acquisition rates are that high, you need to make room in your marketing budget for app user retention so that you are left with a good ROI. But what strategies work to increase app retention?

Let’s find out!

What is mobile app retention, and why is it important?

There are over 2 million apps on Google Play Store alone, and the value of the mobile app industry exceeds over $100 billion.  So, when trying to compete with multiple competitors in the same market, maintaining app retention rates is very important. 

With retention rates, you can determine:

  1. The probability of keeping the new customers who download your app, 
  2. How long you are able to retain customers with your present strategy 
  3. How much growth you will achieve in the future

Mobile app retention rates are the percentage of users who are still using your app after a set period. That is commonly measured on Day 1, Day 7, and Day 30. The longer you retain users, the more likely your revenue will increase. Also, high retention rates are a great sign, especially for users with positive experiences. 

But, a low retention rate indicates issues with your app. For example, when you notice unusually high users leaving on Day 1, your app onboarding process is problematic.

Low retention rates can include problems that involve: 

  1. Customer satisfaction 
  2. Competing in an industry with better competitor

What is the good retention rate for mobile apps?

According to a study by Adjust, the mobile app retention rates from all verticals in Q1 of 2022 were: 


Days (out of 30)AndroidiOS

From this data, we can see that there was a drop (14% for Android and 15% for iOS) in app retention by the end of week 1. At the 30-day mark, retention rates stabilized at 6%. 

There are two ways app developers can benchmark retention rates - against other companies or themselves

Measuring your own app performance weekly or monthly is called retention analysis and reveals the trend that users follow. For example, if an app’s retention rate is trending down, you need to try to analyze the cause and isolate it. If the retention rate is up, then try isolating correlated feature changes, marketing campaigns, or cohort behaviors that lead to it. 

If you are measuring retention rates against other companies, then you need to track competitors' performance statistics.

So, let’s take a look at some mobile app retention strategies to help improve your numbers: 

Optimize the app onboarding process

For any mobile app, first impressions are the most important aspect. If a potential user sees your app and likes it , then they will continue using the app. But, if they find that the app does not deliver what was promised, they will uninstall it. In the app-development world, the first impression an app creates on a user is known as onboarding. The experience can be classified into 

  1. Benefit-oriented - Where the app's values are highlighted to the user
  2. Function-oriented - When your app has more features that the user may not know 
  3. Progressive - Mobile app users can see the features in particular sequences

The major aspect to remember about user onboarding is that it is all about the user's psyche. If you offer the users a sense of success, they will keep coming back.

Some other ways to optimize the onboarding process are: 

  1. Optimize the boarding to build trust
  2. Presenting users with details of their data usage 
  3. Keep terms and conditions simple and easy to understand 
  4. Ensure easy app navigation does not take more 2-3 steps 
  5. Make the logging in and account creation process easy 
  6. Try not to overload users with multiple details from the start 
  7. Add a ‘Skip’ button and make sure it is visible
  8. Optimize your total onboarding steps and check for anomalies 
  9. Make sure to segment users and implement contextual onboarding 
  10. Automate onboarding welcome emails 

Gamification to increase engagement

In a study by Apptentive, it was found that average mobile games retain over 36% of their customers after the day 7 mark. This is better than any other mobile app retention rate. But, you do not need to build a Temple Run navigation. It is becoming highly common to use gaming features in ordinary mobile apps. This is known as gamification. 

Adding gaming features are parts of your app that seem fun, like incentives, rewards, and accumulating points to get certain aspects unlocked. For example, if you have a reading app, you could give readers a level depending on how many books they finish in a day. 

Implement push notifications

Push notifications are messages that pop up on a user's device. These deliver relevant information to users even if they are not active on a specific app. In most cases, users are asked if they want to receive push notifications or not. 

Mobile push notifications are catalysts that help establish user engagement in the form of promotional, informative, and survey notifications. This again leads to increased mobile app retention rates as users will continue to use your app longer. 

Some ways to improve your app retention rates with push notifications: 

  1. Right Time - Do not send push notifications to users all the time. Your users may be in different time zones, and where it is 9 am for you might be 1 am for them. 
  2. Customize your notifications - Make sure you personalize your approach when sending push notifications. 
  3. Do not oversell - Do not bombard your users with hundreds of push notifications throughout the day. Again, do not send one a year.   

Incentivize engaged users

Incentivizing users is a great way to gain loyal followers. By creating loyal users, you can recommend them to use more paid features of your mobile app. Most consumers believe that recommendations from other people work better than traditional advertising.

Your incentive programs depend on the functionality of your app. For example, if your app uses in-app purchasing options as a monetization model, you can offer time-sensitive discounts to loyal users. You could also offer rewards such as cashback for new users, or offer them cashback for any referrals they provide. 

In-app messaging

Over 85% of users spend most of their time on smartphones. This means that people are constantly engaged in mobile apps. So, how do you keep mobile app users consistently engaged? Other than building meaningful apps, you can send in-app messages to increase retention rates. 

In-app messaging keeps users engaged with the mobile app. They create richer experiences and add value when they inform users about updates. 

Research shows that companies that use in-app messaging have increased their retention rates by 3.5X. So, if you want to increase your app retention rates, you need to send in-app messages to your users regularly.

Wrapping Up

We have seen the importance of user engagement and retention rates and we have looked at 5 strategies to increase user retention. You need to start tracking data from the beginning, and this allows you to optimize your mobile app onboarding the flow and personalizing the user’s experience.       

Now that you know the importance of user engagement and how to increase app retention rates, it may be a daunting task. So, why not sell it on KalaGato

When you connect with the experts at KalaGato, you are taken through a seamless process of app valuation and selling within a timeframe of 30 days. Understanding retention rates for every app you build is time-consuming and tedious, so let the professionals evaluate your app and showcase how it can be improved to get you the best deal in the market.


1. What is app retention?

Mobile app retention rate is the percentage of app users who are still using your app after a set period (Day 1, Day 7, and Day 30). High retention rates are a great sign for app marketers, this means that more people are using the app regularly.

2. What are app retention metrics?

Retention metrics are those factors or variables that are used to measure the likelihood of users being retained in your app. Various formulas and units of measurements are used to determine the performance of your app over a given period. 

3. How do I increase app retention and engagement?

5 methods to increase app retention and user engagement are: 

  1. Using push notifications the correct way 
  2. In-app messaging 
  3. Incentivizing options 
  4. High-quality apps with proper functionality
  5. Demonstrating app benefits in Store listing

4. How do I attract more users to my app?

You can attract more users to your app by 

  1. Improving App Store Optimization 
  2. Work on organic Mobile User Acquisition
  3. Start Paid Advertising 
  4. PR and press coverage 
  5. Email marketing channels 
  6. Reward referrals and invites 

5. What are the top 3 keys to customer retention?

3 keys to customer retention are: 

  1. Managing and improving user-end value 
  2. Providing customer support 
  3. Knowing when to reach out to customers and what to reach out to them with 
Previous Blog
How to monetize a mobile app? Here's a complete guide
Next Blog
5 Ways to grow your app organically

Recent Posts

  • Top 6 Popular App Monetization Platforms for Android App
    Wednesday, April 26, 2023
  • How to monetize a mobile app? Here's a complete guide
    Wednesday, December 7, 2022
  • 5 Ways to grow your app organically
    Friday, December 2, 2022

Interested in selling your app?

Similar Posts

  • Organic User Acquisition

    5 Ways to grow your app organically

    Friday, December 2, 2022
  • Organic User Acquisition

    ASO Best Practices 2022: 5 Tips To Help you with ASO

    Friday, December 2, 2022
  • Organic User Acquisition

    How to set up a Google Play Console Account? A step-by-step guide

    Friday, December 2, 2022
  • Organic User Acquisition

    10 Tips to make Organic User Acquisition Easy!

    Tuesday, November 22, 2022

We buy the top 1% of mobile apps & grow them.