Mobile app retention continues to be a perpetually hot topic for product owners and marketing leaders, as brands continue to grapple with challenges in engaging app users enough to turn them into active, revenue-generating customers. Stats are routinely published that show just what a challenge this is in markets around the world, with Leanplum reporting that only 7.5% of app installs are now sticking around as active users after 30 days.
Costs per app install (CPI) are also heading upward, as well as the cost to acquire a high-value customer. This makes it even more important to tilt efforts toward retaining users past the typical 1, 7, 30, 60 and 90-day benchmarks, while engaging with them more effectively and in keeping their app performance healthy and robust.
For our second edition of Ask The App Experts (our previous installment is right here), we’ve gathered Neumob partners and other leaders whom we admire to answer one highly targeted question: “What’s the Single Best Way to Retain App Users?”. Here’s what they have to say.
Josh Todd, CMO at Localytics
People download apps because they provide tailored experiences they can’t get on the web, on the device they use most often — their smartphone. Two of the most common reasons app users churn is because they either don’t see the value of your app or you’ve annoyed them with irrelevant messaging. The solution to these problems? It’s all in your user data; and the best thing about it is how easily you can harness that power to drive experiences that will keep your users coming back. We see the key to retention as driving beyond personalization and towards a future of “individualization”; where every interaction is dictated by the ocean of data surrounding your customers.
Emily Carrion, Head of Marketing at Apptentive
Launch a Voice of the Customer (VOC) initiative. The average company never hears from 96% of its customers. For every one vocal customer complaint, studies indicate that there are 26 equally unhappy but silent customers—the vast majority of whom will simply leave your app without ever indicating why. To boost retention, you need to understand why your customers are leaving. This can be done with a Voice of the Customer (VOC) initiative. To launch a VOC initiative, app owners are introducing in-app messaging for one-to-one communications with their mobile customers; using intelligent prompts to send contextually relevant messages; and collecting customer insights at scale using in-app surveys and feedback forms.
Jeff Kim, CEO at Neumob
Make sure that all of the effort being put into front-end marketing tools like push notifications and experience personalization is also matched with an equal focus on the app’s basic performance. The most full-featured, visually-interesting app will not be able to hold its users if it’s riddled with in-app errors, or if the app “times out” during congested, peak conditions or on slow networks.
The best offense is this case is a great defense. Shore up your app’s back-end (load time, in-app speed, errors, crashes) and you’re likely to see very few 1-star reviews in the app stores. Your app’s features will do all the talking for you – not its lack of performance.
Brittany Fleit, Content Marketer at Leanplum
Looking at Leanplum’s data, it’s clear that mobile teams struggle with app retention. By day one apps only have a 21 percent retention rate. By day 30, this number falls to 7.5 percent. And by day 90, it dwindles to 1.89 percent.
To better retain their users, apps should do one simple thing — send push notifications. We’ve found that implementing push into your marketing strategy can increase retention by 20%. And personalizing the send time of that push notification can increase retention by 7x.
This is huge for apps. When we looked at a hypothetical example (taking Target’s app Cartwheel), we found that by personalizing push notification send times to individuals, Target could earn an extra $209MM more in revenue throughout its lifetime.
Apps of all sizes can gain from implementing push notifications and personalizing send times. No matter if you have 100 or 1MM DAU, relevant messages can bring users back into your app and generate more revenue.
Rob Kwok, CTO and Founder at Apteligent
Simply put, retaining users means your app is able to deliver on your users’ needs – whether that’s completing a purchase, depositing a check, or playing a video. It means your app loads quickly, user interactions are responsive, and your app doesn’t crash, especially during critical flows.
In fact, our data science team recently found that crashes increase churn by as much as 534%. The best way to hook your users is to consistently create delightful user experiences that make them want to come back for more.
Ronnie Sternberg, Co-Founder and VP Business at SafeDK
We have been supporting Tier 1 app publishers with their retention challenges for a while now. We have seen great retention trends among app companies that made sure to keep their app performance at best level, with no compromises. These companies’ product and marketing teams keep analyzing performance issues such as slowness, crashes, disturbing ads, annoying popups, the impact of 3rd party SDKs on the app and alike. They constantly analyze their users’ reviews and social channels’ comments, and they never underestimate user feedback. They have developed an impressive quality assurance operation that leaves nothing behind. The result is a best-in-class product, and happy, retained users.
Interested in learning more about mobile app retention best practices? Each of the companies interviewed have extensive resources available to view or download on their respective websites, and you can also take a gander at Neumob’s own paper, 12 Best Practices to Boost App Usage and Retention Right Now.