Increasing Your Mobile App Retention: The Best Strategy

More than half of the times, users can’t even remember the name of the app they downloaded a week ago. However, this can be fixed. In this article, we’ve rounded up the most powerful tactics you can use to improve mobile app retention. The problem of keeping users in the app; The best strategy to […]

More than half of the times, users can’t even remember the name of the app they downloaded a week ago. However, this can be fixed. In this article, we’ve rounded up the most powerful tactics you can use to improve mobile app retention.

  1. The problem of keeping users in the app;
  2. The best strategy to increase mobile app retention;
  3. The anatomy of a powerful cross-channel retention strategy.


The problem of keeping users in the app

The acquisition metrics for mobile apps have long been regarded as key metrics for evaluating the business performance of mobile apps. Many brands are still spending a lot of money getting new users in order to get more app installs and DAU. However, the most important events always occur when users step into the product and decide whether to use it or not.

The success of a customer acquisition strategy largely depends on your ability to reach and attract new users. Customer retention is all about the ability to create value, build a relationship, and personalize the user experience with the right messages sent through the right channels at the right time.

In most cases, users decide whether to continue using the application within the first 3-7 days. It is therefore important to get them interested in your product as soon as possible. The question is how?


Best strategy for increasing mobile app retention

Most companies get better retention rates with cross-channel onboarding. User onboarding is basically a process of introducing new users to a product. You can have several secondary goals for this. But the most important ones should always stay the same: increasing product consumption and reducing churn rate.

Basically, there are 3 main types of onboarding that you have found effective:

  • Benefit-oriented onboarding

The main goal of benefit onboarding is to show users the value of the application and drive further conversions. In this case, permission requests for location access or sending push notifications are often used.

  • Function-oriented onboarding

If you want to educate your audience, teach them how to use the application. This method corresponds to a product tour with specific instructions on how to start and perform certain actions in the app.

  • Progressive onboarding

Gradually shows users new information about the product as they move through the product. Most of the time, progressive onboarding is a series of instructions that appear on a specific page to help users explore the app faster and more effectively.

The biggest mistake you can make when creating an onboarding flow is making it too difficult for users.


How do I avoid that?

  • Minimize the number of steps your users have to take.
  • Don’t overload users with all of your functional explanations.
  • Make it interactive. Teach by actions, not words.

Now let’s get to the nature of cross-channel onboarding to best increase the retention rate for mobile apps.


The anatomy of a powerful cross-channel retention strategy


As mundane as it sounds, first you need to answer yourself why your app needs onboarding and what you want to get from it.

The answers can be

  • The application functionality is too difficult and very tailored.
  • The product has unique features that distinguish the application’s user interface from standard patterns.
  • You need user information to get started. The typical case of the financial vertical.


Assign the trip to your users

If you map the journey of your customers, all interactions of your customers with your product are shown. It can perform 3 main functions:

  • Uncover problems you may not know about;
  • Show weaknesses and gaps in service;
  • You will be told which direction to move.

Now we know exactly why we need onboarding and what we should improve first. Let’s get to work!


Create a unique, engaging experience

There are several communication channels that you can use to build and test your onboarding hypothesis: push notifications, in-app messages, and emails. The hardest part is getting them all to play a tune.

If you’re just taking your first steps in building onboarding workflows, we recommend testing the effectiveness of each channel individually. Let’s see what you can do with them.


Push notifications

Welcome messages

Congratulations, you have a new user! However, the job is far from done. You need to show your attention early on and build lasting loyalty from the first minute on.

A simple welcome message shows that you care!


Include messages

Once you’ve got a new user on, it’s important to show them around and share some tips on how to use your app and get the most out of it. A series of push notifications with useful tips will get the job done, help newbies, avoid confusion and improve the user experience.


Exclusive offers

Personal discounts, coupon codes or coupons can be very effective in getting users to return. Nothing screams louder “We want you back”.



Product tours

Product Tours allow you to take your new users through your product to demonstrate its functionality and demonstrate how it all works.


Ask for feedback from users

The best way to get users involved is to interact with them and ask for their opinion. You can embed the survey directly in the app or use external services and simply paste the link into your in-app call-to-action.



  1. Welcome email

This email is one of the first points of contact you will have with your customers after they have signed up for your product. Don’t make it too long or complicated. Keep it simple, highlight your value proposition and benefits that are relevant to a specific user. Make it personal by including your team photo and names in the email. There are 5 main goals you want your welcome emails to achieve:

  • Just say hello;
  • Help with getting started;
  • Thank you for registering;
  • make a short product overview (video is better);
  • make an offer immediately.


  1. Motivational email

Do you feel that users have lost interest in the app after their first visit? Sometimes they just need a little motivation to research your product further. Reward them for their actions:

  • Offer discounts;
  • think about nice bonuses;
  • Start competition;
  • Collect suggestions and ideas;
  • Make users feel like they are part of something big and exciting.


  1. “Need Help” e-mail

You can’t always know exactly what your users think of the app and what problems they are having. In order not to be too guessing, just ask them if they need any help from you regarding product understanding, usage, or technical issues. Not only will this help you lower the churn rate, but it will also create a special connection with your audience. They will know that you really care about them.

These are some basic scenarios you can start your onboarding with. You can use a variety of tools to build them, or try building a cross-channel onboarding experience with just one tool.


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