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How to Increase User Retention with Mobile App Onboarding

Rakia Binte Khalid Jun 28, 2019
How to Increase User Retention with Mobile App Onboarding

According to mobile app user retention rates from Statista, 55% of mobile app users will abandon an app one month after downloading it. That number grows to 68% after three months.  Today’s users will not even stick around to experience the app after downloading it. This means that user retention should be taken into account during the entire app design and development process, and should guide decision-making whenever possible.

So, What Is Retention Rate?

According to Google:

“A retention rate is the percentage of users that remain active on your mobile app after a certain period of time.”

Defining a good retention rate for the app depends heavily on the industry, client base, business model, and retention definition of the app. For some applications, retention is about recurring subscriptions. While for others, it is about one-off visits or purchases. Product teams should benchmark their retention in their industry against similar companies. For instance, retention of 33 percent is regarded outstanding in e-commerce.

For starters, here’s how we define retention:

Returning to the app at least 1x within 30 days

Switching the Focus from Acquisition to Retention

If you’ve been in the app world for a couple of years, you understand that acquisition was once regarded the most significant mobile metric. Mobile app marketers targeted on attracting as many new customers as possible to the app, touting a number of users as the greatest pillar of achievement. What people didn’t take into consideration, though, is the fickleness of these consumers, with 21 percent of them using an app only once. It is now increasingly obvious that we need to move beyond just measuring app installations and concentrate on in-app conduct to encourage engagement and retention with customer engagement ideas. But despite this revelation, too many brands have yet to move their mind away from acquisition to retention.

Simple Ways to Boost Mobile App User Retention

You might wonder what we have learned and what makes for an excellent retention rate. Although mobile is how customers like to interact with brands, brands are not delivering on experience, so consumers are churning. So how are we going to solve this? Take the opportunity of the strategies below that have been proven to have a positive effect on retention:

  • Get Easy On-Board

Your customers must understand your app’s value and for that purpose, you need to give them obvious reasons. It emphasizes the value proposition of the app; highlights key features and asks customers only about the information they need with clear CTAs. After an effective mobile app onboarding experience, you’ll witness app user retention rates boost by 50 percent.

  • Provide Useful In-App Messages

You receive an in-app message while you are using an application. They are critically important and also make it even easier for people to travel through the app experience. Plus, retention has been known to boost by 3x. Useful in-app messages will inform a user new features, highlight what is different, and share essential information, such as letting customers know about surge pricing within the Uber app.

  • Reach Users Beyond the App with Push 

Push notifications are an important feature as they are sent directly to the beloved home screen of a user, the stakes are high to get it right. Which implies having convincing messaging that is personalized to the user and pairing that with the latest push notification technology.

  • Provide People What They Are Looking for

App users want their interactions to be customized to their priorities, location and in-app behavior. In fact, a study found that personalized push and in-app messages performed significantly better than broadcast.

  • Predictive Insights

If you know in advance which of your customers are at risk of churning gives you an opportunity to redeem them. Mobile marketers should design extremely personalized messaging campaigns to re-engage these individuals before it’s too late and they have closed an app for good

  • Re-Engage with Lapsed Audience

Almost half of the iOS users opt-out of push messaging, making it really difficult to get them back in. So, what to do now? Remarketing. Approaching these individuals with a convincing reminder outside of your app — through email, social, or search advertisements — is an effective means to re-engage them. In doing so, be sure to leverage insights into their behavior, interests, and preferences to assure that you remain relevant. Such a user-engagement strategy will bring back the lapsed customers

  • A/B Testing is a Must

Through A/B testing identify which strategies — such as calls to action — are working and which are missing the mark. With these insights, you become smarter and more productive in deploying campaigns and help you concentrate on messaging and features that stimulate commitment and conversion. For instance, A/B test CTAs to check what help convince users to move through your main app funnels as well as different push and in-app offers to see which drive greater conversion rates. The more in-app activity and conversion activities a user has, the more they will visit the app.

  • Offer an Omnichannel Experience

Marketers make a big mistake when they do not integrate their app into overall marketing platforms. Due to which apps become isolated from the rest of the marketing strategy, leading to the user’s disconnected brand experience. Marketers should encourage and infuse their applications across channels to generate a seamless user experience — which converts into having a very sticky app, thereby boosting retention rates.

  • Make Data Your Guide

As with any channel, to be a real winner on mobile, you’ve got to lead with data. Which implies arming yourself with the ideas required to know how well you are retaining customers and how impactful your marketing campaigns are in shifting the needle. Having the right data insights will enable you to improve your user interactions, eventually leading in a favorable retention upswing.

  • Incentivize Users

Another interesting strategy for lowering the churn rate is to incentivize customers to remain with the app. Sometimes, all that users need to stick around is a reason to come back to the app. Things like gamification, rewards, or loyalty programs can be the difference between a lifelong customer and the simple afterthought of your app. Your app’s nature will dictate the sort of incentives you should roll out. For instance, if you’re hoping to increase in-app purchases, attempt time-sensitive discounts. Whereas if you operate under a freemium model, you can incentivize your customers for the period they spend using your app with usage-based benefits.

Last Thing

Although it may feel like customer retention and app engagement are difficult to achieve, hope is found in the fact that as consumers continue to demand better products, we will continue to grow to satisfy them. This is the way progress is accomplished by setting greater and greater objectives for ourselves. So, when you come up with your customer retention approach or work hard to improve your app statistics, keep in mind that you are only making the process better for future users. As Bill Gates says,

‘Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning’

Retention rates are one of the greatest concerns for businesses developing an app. Acquisitions and downloads are crucial; however, the real success of the mobile app is evaluated by high retention rates because they demonstrate that consumers find continuous value using your app. We mentioned some good examples of customer engagement above. Following these best practices will not only drive user-engagement but will also improve user experience.