Top 5 Ways to Retain Users in Your Mobile App

Tips for Publishers

Top 5 Ways to Improve App User Retention

4 Minute Read | May 18th, 2016

Ruth Donaliya Mwangase

Ruth Donaliya Mwangase
Marketing Associate

Staying ahead of the “apps race” at a time when users have millions of apps to choose from is an art that every app developer needs to master. What is really at the heart of apps like WhatsApp or Instagram that makes them gain international success and also stay relevant? With the myriad of apps competing for attention on the market, your app needs to be a rare gem that keeps users deeply engagedsatisfied and loyal. Here are our top tips for improving app user retention.

1. Attract the Right Users

It’s usually within the first few minutes of downloading your app that users evaluate whether or not your app meets their expectations. An app description that accurately details its value to your users ensures that the right traffic comes to your app.

First Time User Experience (FTUE) is crucial. Let users see the value and relevance of your app as soon as they start using it. The longer it takes for users to realize the value of your app, the faster they delete your app and return to the app store for a replacement.

2. Know Your Target Audience

Understanding your target audience is an important step in creating a killer app. Building trust in users is vital in instigating loyalty and app user retention. To do so, you need to listen to your users and understand their needs. Your app must deliver relevant content and information using methods that are most desirable to your target audience. Points to consider before you venture into creating your app:

  • Users: Who are you targeting? What’s their age range? What devices are they using?
  • Value: What value will your content add to your target audience?
  • Location: Where’s the best place/medium to find your target audience to market your app?
  • Tracking: When are your users most active? How long do they stay in your app?
  • Execution: How will you execute your app to ensure maximum efficiency and that all the needs of your users are met?

Collecting user data when they first install/use your app helps you get to know more about your users and thus your target audience.

3. Offer Value to Your Users

The most important factor influencing users to return to your app is value. Why would a user return to your app if there’s nothing in it for him?

New features, activities and incentives should be introduced in every update. Notifications are an excellent way to keep your users engaged and remind them about new and exciting app offerings in a clear and concise manner.

Giving your users incentives to use your app is another way to ensure loyalty and improve app user retention. Simple gamification of your app, such as allowing users to gain “XP” points for using your app or for sharing it with their friends, is a great way to keep them hooked and help your app go viral.

4. Ensure Great Performance

Building and retaining a loyal user base requires a lot of effort and excellence. Entice your users with an easy and functional UI that is captivating and interactive. Choose your color palette wisely. Colors are a good way to signal action, influence mood and cause physiological reactions. Your app must engage your users in an instant.

Familiarize new users with your app by designing a simple and easy onboarding process. For a smooth user experience, show them how to navigate your app to help them recognize its features sooner. Also, you must ensure that your app loads and responds to users with optimum speed. Nothing kills a positive user experience quicker than poor responsiveness and sluggish app performance.

5. Give Your Users Control

As soon as users interact with your app, give them control to customize your offerings to suit their personal needs. Allow them to opt-into (or out-of) notifications, emails, or newsletters. Do not bombard your users with information or features they do not want. Also consider implementing opt-in ad formats, such as rewarded video.

Allow your users to integrate their community by allowing them to share activities from your app to social media. This way, your users get to flaunt their activity and progress in your app while also giving you a free advertising opportunity.

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Note: This post was originally published in November 2014 and has been updated with fresh industry insights.

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