Complete Guide to Mobile App User Retention

mobile app user retention
  • 7 Minutes to read

Table of Content

  1. What is Retention Rate?
  2. What is the Ideal Mobile App Retention Rate?
  3. What Factors Affect the Mobile App Retention Rates?
  4. How to Improve the Mobile App Retention Rates?
  5. Benefits of Improving the Retention Rate in a Mobile App
  6. Conclusion
  7. FAQs on Improving the Mobile App Retention Rates

Let’s say you’ve spent months (even a year) building the best restaurant. You’ve hired great chefs in order to serve up the best foods. But still, for some reason, people don’t return for seconds. That can be frustrating. And sometimes, mobile app owners and developers experience the same retention issues.

A high retention rate is crucial for app success. It translates to a loyal user base, consistent engagement, and ultimately, a thriving app. Fortunately, there are some strategies that the top mobile app development companies use to keep their users hooked.

From crafting a smooth onboarding process to utilizing in-app features that drive engagement, we’ll look at the best ways to improve your mobile app’s retention rate. Let’s begin.

What is Retention Rate?

Retention rate is a metric that measures how many of your users are engaged with your mobile app over time. Basically, it’s the percentage of users who don’t abandon your app after installing it.

A digital marketing agency can help you get the target audience to download your app. But if they don’t find value and keep coming back, it’s difficult to sustain success.

A high retention rate indicates a loyal user base that actively uses your app, which is crucial for any mobile app. It translates to benefits like consistent engagement and positive user reviews. Ultimately, that means a thriving app bringing value to both users and your business.

How to Measure Mobile App Retention Rates?

Determine the time frame over which you want to measure retention. Common retention periods include daily, weekly, or monthly retention rates.

Then, define what constitutes an active user for your app. This could be users who perform specific actions within the app, such as logging in, completing a purchase, or engaging with certain features.

Retention Rate = [(Number of Active Users at the End of the Period / Number of Active Users at the Beginning of the Period) X 100] %

What is the Ideal Mobile App Retention Rate?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to a “good” mobile app retention rate. It depends on factors like your app’s category and functionality. However, here’s a general guideline to get you started:

  • Average Rates: Across various industries, the average first-day retention rate falls around 25%, dropping to roughly 5-7% by day 30 [1, 2, 3].
  • Industry Benchmarks: Retention rates can differ significantly between app categories. For instance, news apps might boast a higher 30-day retention rate (around 13%) compared to food and drink apps (around 4%) [3].
  • High Performers: Top-performing apps can achieve much higher retention rates, reaching 66% or even exceeding that for 30 days [4].

While the averages provide a baseline, it’s more valuable to track your app’s specific retention rate over time. Try to compare it to industry benchmarks. That will help you understand how your app performs relative to similar apps and identify areas for improvement.

What Factors Affect the Mobile App Retention Rates?

Before trying to improve the mobile app retention rates, you need to understand the factors that affect this metric. Let’s take a look at the key ones.

  • User Experience (UX): This encompasses everything from the app’s design and layout to how easy it is to navigate and complete tasks. A smooth, intuitive UX keeps users engaged and coming back for more.
  • App Performance: Nobody enjoys a slow or buggy app. Crashes, lags, and loading times can quickly frustrate users and lead to uninstalls. Ensuring your app is fast, reliable, and optimized is crucial for retention.
  • Value & Relevance: Your app needs to provide a clear value proposition and address a genuine user need. If users don’t find your app valuable or relevant to their lives, they’ll have little reason to keep using it.
  • Competition: The mobile app landscape is crowded. If there are strong competitors offering similar features or a better user experience, users might be tempted to switch. Understanding your competition and finding ways to differentiate your app is essential.

So you need to work on your mobile app, especially on these factors to make sure the users become loyal to your platform and keep coming back for more. For that, you can hire the best mobile app development companies or follow the tactics shown below.

How to Improve the Mobile App Retention Rates?

First and foremost, use analytics tools like Google Analytics to track user behavior within the app. Try to understand the user interactions, including time spent on different app features, click-through rates, and user demographics. It can help identify pain points and areas for improvement.

Based on that, you can implement a few key strategies to optimize the mobile app and improve the retention rates.

Onboarding Process Optimization

The onboarding process is a critical first impression for users. Optimizing it involves creating a seamless experience by guiding users through the app’s key features and functionalities. This can include interactive tutorials, tooltips, or progressive onboarding screens. They introduce users to the app’s value proposition in a clear and engaging manner.

Personalized User Experience

Personalization along with a keen focus on the UI and UX in mobile app development is very important. It involves tailoring the app experience to individual users based on their behavior, preferences, and demographic information. This can include personalized recommendations, content recommendations, or targeted marketing messages.

By providing users with relevant and personalized content, developers can increase user engagement and retention.

Push Notifications

Push notifications are messages sent to users’ devices to re-engage them with the app. Effective use of push notifications involves sending timely, relevant, and personalized messages that provide value to users. This can include reminders about incomplete actions, personalized offers or promotions, or updates about new content or features within the app.

In-app Messaging

In-app messaging allows developers to communicate directly with users within the app. This can be used to deliver personalized messages, provide assistance or support, or encourage users to take specific actions. By engaging users directly within the app, developers can increase user engagement and retention.

Offer Incentives

Offering incentives such as discounts, rewards, or exclusive content can encourage users to return to the app. This can include loyalty programs, referral bonuses, or special promotions for active users. By providing tangible benefits to users, developers can increase user engagement and retention.

Regular Updates and Bug Fixes

Regularly updating the app with new features, bug fixes, and performance improvements demonstrates to users that the app is actively maintained and improved. This helps to retain users by ensuring that the app remains relevant, reliable, and enjoyable to use over time.

Community Building

Building a community within the app fosters a sense of belonging and encourages users to engage with each other. This can include features such as user profiles, social sharing, or forums where users can interact, share experiences, and provide support to each other. By building a community, developers can increase user engagement and retention.

Optimize App Performance

Optimizing app performance involves ensuring that the app loads quickly, responds smoothly, and functions reliably on all devices and operating systems. This includes optimizing code, minimizing app size, and reducing resource consumption to provide users with a seamless and enjoyable user experience.

Listen to User Feedback

Actively soliciting and listening to user feedback allows developers to understand user needs, preferences, and pain points. This can include conducting user surveys, monitoring app reviews, or engaging with users on social media. By incorporating user feedback into app development, developers can improve the app’s user experience and increase user satisfaction and retention.

A/B Testing

A/B testing involves comparing two versions of a feature or strategy to determine which performs better in terms of user engagement and retention. This can include testing different app layouts, messaging strategies, or incentive programs to identify the most effective approach.

By experimenting with different options and measuring the results, developers can optimize the app to increase user retention. If you encounter problems with these app retention improvement tactics, I suggest you consult with the top mobile app development agencies.

Benefits of Improving the Retention Rate in a Mobile App

Well, as you may expect from this drive to improve the retention rates, it offers a range of benefits for the mobile apps. Let’s take a look.

  • Cost-effectiveness: Acquiring new users can be expensive, involving app store optimization, marketing campaigns, and incentives. Retaining existing users is significantly more cost-effective. A loyal user base translates to recurring engagement and potential in-app purchases, maximizing the return on your initial user acquisition investment.
  • Increased Revenue & Profitability: Higher retention translates to a more active user base. This opens doors to increased revenue through in-app purchases, subscriptions, or targeted advertising. With a larger, loyal user base, your app becomes more attractive to potential advertisers, further boosting your revenue streams.
  • Enhanced Brand Advocacy: Satisfied users are more likely to recommend your app to friends and family through word-of-mouth marketing, positive reviews, or social media shares. This organic promotion can significantly expand your user base without additional marketing spend.
  • Valuable User Insights: Retained users provide a wealth of data about their behavior and preferences within the app. By analyzing this data, you can gain valuable insights to improve your app’s features, personalize the user experience, and cater to their evolving needs.
  • Competitive Advantage: In a crowded app market, standing out requires a strong user base. High retention demonstrates the app’s value and user satisfaction, giving you a competitive edge over apps with lower retention rates. It signifies that your app is providing a unique and valuable experience that users keep coming back for.

By prioritizing retention, you’re essentially laying the foundation for long-term success. It’s a win-win situation, benefiting your app’s growth, profitability, and overall user experience.


Mobile app retention rate is the percentage of users who continue to use an app after downloading it. This metric is crucial in understanding the level of user engagement with the app over time.

A high retention rate indicates that users find value in the app and are likely to return, increasing the chances of generating revenue through in-app purchases. On the other hand, a low retention rate may signify issues with the app such as poor user experience or lack of compelling features. To make sure of the best retention,

  • Optimize the onboarding process
  • Personalize the User Experience
  • Implement In-app Messaging and Push Notifications
  • Offer Incentives
  • Optimize App Performance, etc.

So, still need help with the retention rate on your mobile app? Then our recommendations on the top mobile app development companies would help.

FAQs on Improving the Mobile App Retention Rates

1. How can I track my mobile app’s retention rate?

You can track your app’s retention rate by using analytics tools or monitoring user behavior within your app. These tools can provide insights on how users engage with your app and identify areas for improvement.

2. How can I use personalized content to improve retention rate?

Personalized content refers to tailoring your app’s content and features to suit individual user preferences and needs. This can be achieved through data analysis and segmentation to deliver relevant and targeted content, leading to increased user engagement and retention.

3. How can I measure mobile app retention rates?

Here are some key metrics:

  • Cohort Analysis: Group users by install date and track how many remain active over time.
  • Daily/Monthly Active Users (DAU/MAU): Track the number of users launching your app daily or monthly to gauge engagement.
  • Churn Rate: Measure the percentage of users who stop using your app within a specific period.
mobile app user retention
Neil Jordan
Hey! I'm Neil Jordan, a technical consultant with extensive experience in web development, design, and technical solution management. My research focuses on web development and various technologies. I have a diverse background in providing various IT service consulting.

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