5 Ways To Optimise Your App For High User Retention

A vast majority of apps are only downloaded once by the majority of first-time users who never return to the app. Several statistics confirm this. As per the statistics regarding mobile app retention served by Statista, a whopping 55% of users delete an app within one month of downloading the app. These days’ users are so impatient and restless that they will not wait longer for the app to deliver better user experience over time.

The first impression most often becomes the lasting and decisive impression for most users. Naturally, to ensure optimum retention rate and user engagement, the designers and developers need to do their needful before the app gets alive.

Let’s first of all, explain what retention rate is and how it is measured.

What Is User Retention Rate?

The user retention rate basically refers to the number of days a user uses an app after downloading and opening the app for the first time. For instance, among the 100 users who opened the app on a particular day, only 40 may use the app the very second day while only 10 out of this first 100 may launch the app within one month. In such cases, the user retention rate of the app is respectively 40% for the first day and 10% for the first month.  

While the retention rate is widely considered as the most important parameter to judge the success of an app, most app publishers are clueless about the key aspects they need to focus on for this. Let us explain the key ways to boost the app user retention rate.

Simple Onboarding

A great number of apps simply fail to attract users again to the app because of difficulty in the onboarding process. The onboarding basically refers to the initial experience of the user after starting to use the app for the first time. Some of the key glitches responsible for the app abandonment in most cases include difficulty in mobile app development process like sign-up, confusing navigation, complex features, too many information fields to fill, etc.

Here are some key tips to make onboarding experience better.

  • Make sure the users can easily complete the logins and sign-up process. Apart from reducing the form fields to a minimum allow them to sign up with guest login and social login feature.
  • Instead of creating an overload of information, guide them through steps with a focus on how they can get their things done in the quickest way possible.
  • Make sure that the user interface remains clean, simple, least distracting and visually appealing without much cognitive load.
  • If possible, use a visual overlay to guide users about using the app and navigating across pages with simple gestures.

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Regular Promotional Offers

In a highly competitive scenario, you can simply boost the morale of the users by offering them added value. Regular or frequent promotional offers for app users can work as a great temptation for users to use your app frequently. There are many game apps that apply this method to retain their game-playing audience.

For example, allowing players to spin a wheel and get daily prizes can be a great way to motivate them to use the app once every day. Similarly, e-commerce apps allow customers to take part in the daily draw and get chances to win some prizes every day.

Start Utilizing Analytics Early

There are too many apps that consider using analytical is not necessary at the initial stage. They consider it for the later period when the app has a considerable audience and has some revenue flowing in. This is a wrong idea that actually costs them a lot of opportunities.

These days, by using analytical you can address the UX shortcoming early and iterate more frequently. Both frequent iteration and grievance redressal help your app to garner quicker traction and increased retention. It is always advisable to implement an analytical tool early.

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Exercise Personalization

Personalization now came as the biggest force for every different digital interface including both mobile apps and the web. By personalizing your app you only give your users more priority and create more reasons to return to your app. From addressing users based on their location to delivering user-preferred notifications, there is a countless way to personal use the user experience. Let’s have a look at few of them.

  • Personalized content based on user intents, behaviour and preferences.
  • Use of notifications and promotional messages based on the location of the users.  
  • Adjusting the functions and features to the user environment and articulate user context.
  • Adjusting the time and nature of notifications based on user habits, responses, and preferences.

Push Notifications

Push notifications can really play a great role in augmenting user retention. Through push messages, you can send your user’s highly personalized and well-crafted offers and marketing messages equipped with high-traction Call to Actions at times when users can respond to the most positively.

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A/B Testing Crucial Areas

Finally, you need to conduct A/B testing for some crucial areas that can play a bigger role in user retention. A/B testing simply gives you relevant insights about the user responses and how they react with various on-screen elements. This helps the developers to take call several aspects that can boost user retention rate. A/B testing coupled up with app analytics can play the most vital and guiding role to boost your user retention rate.


In spite of the analysis and all the time-tested aspects that we have explained above, many developers and app makers simply work on the basis of guesswork while addressing the retention rate concerns. Naturally, most of the times their efforts fail to make any significant difference in terms of making retention rate better. This is why the process of boosting retention rate should be given an emphasis right from the beginning.

It basically involves encouraging users to use the app free and frequently. This involves several procedures including analytics, A/B testing, personalization, notifications, promotional offers, etc. You just cannot strike out any single aspect from this mix of elements.