Everything you need to know about App Retention

While most apps focus on user-acquisition in the initial phases of launch, the actual hard work begins when it comes to retaining the already existing pool of users.

Today, monitoring app retention is a top priority for app owners as it has a direct impact on the growth of their app business or revenues. After all, what’s the point of acquiring large number of users, if they‘re going to stay inactive or stop using your app?

That’s why app owners are constantly tracking the in-app behaviour of their users in order to get a clear glimpse of the number of returning users or the most active user segments in their apps and what’s making users return or not return to their apps.

Whether you’re monitoring app retention on the basis of user sessions or events, it’s important to include these 6 metrics to retain your users.

1) Start with the basics – Monitor App Opens

How many users are opening your app? Monitoring app opens is the first and very basic aspect of measuring app retention.

The main concern of app owners is to have their users frequently open the apps and navigate through the content. The more the number of app opens, the better are the chances of user engagement. So keeping a tab on your app open rates is very important as it will pinpoint your most engaged users, who can be converted to loyal users with the right marketing approach.

However, high app open rates and lower registrations can hint at something going terribly wrong with your app.  It could actually imply a not so great user experience and hence, the lesser drive to proceed with the registrations.

2) Actions post registrations

Although user registrations matter a great deal. What matters more is user activity post the registration process. So once your users register, it’s important to check how active they are on your app. User activity such as frequent app opens, purchases, browsing through in-app content, liking products, sharing news about your app on social media, etc are really important for your app’s retention rate.

3) Insights from DAUs & MAUs

Monitoring and comparing the daily active users (DAU) of a new app for say 2 weeks, can say a lot about the real picture of user retention. Suppose this new app is running a user acquisition campaign that fetches 50,000 new users in the first week. Now, if the DAUs drops down to 500 in the second week, it could either mean that your campaign targeting was wrong or your app’s retention is not so good. So, it’s important for the app owner or marketer to use attribution data for measuring the performance of the traffic source or channels used in the marketing campaigns and pick out the quality sources. This can really help your app retention rate.

4) Monitoring user sessions

App owners need to constantly monitor daily user sessions by analysing the in-app user behaviour data. This involves keeping all eyes on the daily user sessions, the length or frequency of these sessions and identifying behavioural patterns from in-app reports. To get a quick idea about the user engagement, app owners can particularly focus on the user sessions per DAU.

5) Don’t ignore content consumption

The easiest way to learn about your app’s user engagement is to monitor how users are engaging with your app’s content.

App owners need to closely monitor the most viewed content on their app and also check the kind of user responses initiated after viewing the content. This could either include tracking the number of social media shares, subscribing to a particular content feed or category, user comments, etc. If you notice that your users are not viewing or consuming enough content, it means that the user engagement rate is low. This is bad news for user retention. So, don’t ignore this important metric.

6) Check the scale of purchases & transactions

Whatever be the genre of apps, every app business has an end objective. For m-commerce apps, it’s mostly the no. of purchases or transactions happening inside the app and for music streaming apps, it could either be the number of songs played on the app or the number of users signing up for a PRO Subscription plan. Depending the respective goals, every app needs to track the user segments which are not only engaging with the app but also making purchases or reservations quite frequently. For this, App owners can collect insights from features like ‘Purchase Cohorts’ and track the scale of fruitful transactions happening on the apps.

Ultimately, the best way to check user retention is to keep checking the marketing campaign KPIs or business goals against the media sources and ad spends. This can give app owners and marketers a realistic picture of their genuine users.

Also read about Retention Cohorts  


Need some help in monitoring your app’s user retention?

We can help! Just drop me a line at neelanjana@affle.com 

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1 Comment

  1. There is certainly a lot to know about this topic.
    I really like all of the points you made.

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