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6 Gifs That Explain How to Increase App Retention

Web & Mobile

Joshua Davidson wrote this article


You are reading a guest blog post by Leanplum.

Retention is hard — in a wincing, hair-pulling, mass confusion kind of way.

winceSource: Giphy

So Leanplum, an integrated mobile marketing platform, delved deep into what happens after a user downloads your app. Fiksu cites the average cost-per-install at around $2, but we found that apps lose the majority of their users by the first day.

In our new data science report, Retention, Revealed: The Need-to-Know Facts Behind Retention & ROI, we analyze the current state of retention — and more importantly, what you can do to improve your numbers.

After all, we want apps to protect their acquisition investment with a well-planned ROI strategy. Otherwise, you’re just throwing your acquisition dollars away.

moneySource: Giphy

Let’s get started.

1. The Data on 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.

simpsonsSource: Giphy

That’s a huge drop, relative to the average acquisition cost.

Smart apps should focus as much on retaining users as they do on acquiring. A strong marketing strategy involves spending half as much money on acquiring the right kinds of users. Then, spend the remaining half on retaining those users throughout their lifetime.

2. Dormant Users
Yet 68 percent of users are simply dormant in the first week, which means you have opportunities to win them back.

officeSource: Giphy

Our data shows that only 23 percent of users have actually uninstalled your app, which means that you have the opportunity to re-engage dormant users with interesting and relevant content.

3. Improving Retention
It gets even better. If you can improve the day 10 numbers, you can positively impact the retention of a user throughout their first month.

jimSource: Giphy

This is great news. But how exactly do you improve retention? Well, one easy way to grab the attention of a user outside your app is by sending a message — a push notification, to be exact.

4. The Effect of Push Notifications
Implementing push notifications into your mobile marketing strategy can improve retention by 20 percent.

amySource: Giphy

Adopting push notifications in your mobile marketing arsenal can impact how users interact with your app over the course of their lifetime. You increase retention and preserve your financial investment in app installs.

5. Personalized Send Times
Sending push notifications is easy enough. Apps that take their strategy a step further, and personalize push notification send times to individuals, see retention rates 7x higher. That means users literally come running back to your app.

dalmationsSource: Giphy

The easiest way to personalize push send times: Optimal Time. This machine learning algorithm analyzes individual app usage patterns to automatically send a push at a time when the user is most likely to open. For example, if Katy listens to a music app on her commute to work, the app can send her notifications to check out new artists in the morning. But if Brian listens to music while winding down at night, the app will automatically send him the notification in the evening.

6. More Retention, More ROI
This kind of personalized push results in millions more potential revenue. We hypothesized that if Target’s app Cartwheel personalized send times to individual users, it would earn an extra $229MM over its lifetime.

moneyzSource: Giphy

In fact, we theorized about the revenue numbers of a handful of apps, including Pokémon GO and Uber. In every instance, there were substantial revenue opportunities to be gained from introducing personalized send times into messaging strategies.

Download the Report
Vying to learn more? Download our full report, Retention, Revealed: The Need-to-Know Facts Behind Retention & ROI. You’ll find data that’s not covered anywhere else in the industry and get everything you need to “wow” the team at your next meeting.

About the writer of this guest blog post: Leanplum offers a fully integrated platform to manage all your mobile marketing needs and gives you the tools to personalize everything — in and out of the app. To get started with Messaging, Automation, Personalization, App Editing, A/B Testing, and Analytics, visit

Are you interested in writing a guest blog post for our readers here at the Chop Dawg blog? Email us at!

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