Mobile APP Marketing : 5 tips to retain mobile app users

Quettra recently released a mobile marketing study that points to a significant problem facing many mobile applications: low user retention. The rankings of the most popular Android apps suggest that there is a relationship between the popularity of the app and its retention rate. Applications in the top 10, that is, the ones that generate the most downloads, retain more users. On the other hand, the least popular apps, those in the Next 5000 category (see chart), keep barely 13.62% of its users.

Now, suppose that thanks to the last advertising campaign in which we invested 13 000 €, the XYZ application reached 10 000 new users in one month. Suppose also that the XYZ application is not very popular and is in the “Next 5000” category. So we know that after 30 days only 1362 of these 10,000 people will use it again. This means that the acquisition of each new user has cost 9.55 €. If, on the other hand, the application had a retention rate of, say, 50%, this cost would only amount to € 2.6.

Experience tells us that getting new customers is significantly more expensive than retaining those who have already downloaded the application. Hence the simple conclusion: it is imperative to develop an m-marketing strategy to optimize the retention of the application BEFORE investing in the acquisition of new users. More specifically, it is already during the design and development of the application that we must think about the mobile marketing strategy to offer the user something that will make him want to come back.

5 Key Elements of Mobile Marketing

The secret formula for improving the retention of app users has not been invented yet, but there are still some good mobile marketing practices that can help you do that. Here are the 5 most important:

The onboarding
The user experience
In-app communication
Push notifications

The onboarding

This is the user’s first experience with your application that will determine whether he will restart it or not. A Localytics study conducted in 2012 showed that 22% of downloaded applications are used only once. This does not necessarily mean that they are bad. New users may not have understood all the possibilities that applications offer them. Keep in mind that an average user has very little patience. In addition, it can happen sometimes not to be very smart, at least not enough to discover alone some options available on your application. That is why it is recommended to guide him during his first interactions with the application. This is exactly what onboarding is for. At first launch, the novice user can see a presentation of the application and its features and, if it is a mobile game, you could make it enjoy the training mode.

The user experience

Onboarding is the first ingredient of a good user experience. Aware of all the possibilities that gives it your application, the user can easily use the first connection. The next step is to improve the user experience within the application. At this point, there are five truths about the smartphone user that you should consider:

He lacks patience. The information available on the application should therefore be very easy to find. It is essential to look after the particularly important pages that are the support of the conversion (payments, subscription). On these pages, it is recommended to limit the amount of content so as not to confuse the user.
He is often wrong and, as a result, he appreciates having the opportunity to easily go back or cancel what he has just done.
He has a bad memory. You will do better to remind him from time to time the information he needs to make good use of your app.
He does not like being alone. Just look at the success of social networks to understand that if mobile users spend hours with their eyes glued to the screen of their mobile phone, they do not do it to isolate themselves. The proof ? In the top 10 most used apps on smartphones, are Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Twitter, Facebook Messenger and Instagram.
He is distracted and pays attention only to what is new, beautiful, or different from what he has already seen.

The messages

Communication, whether you like it or not, is inseparable from any mobile or other marketing strategy. The user, this gregarious being who spends half of his time on Facebook, will appreciate knowing you want to communicate with him, and he will be even happier if it is to inform him of an improvement or a new option available on the application. Make it as if you were talking to someone you have in front of you and you know. Many mobile applications are limited to sending messages written by robots, cold and without character …

Push notifications

Fine or funny, your messages should engender commitment from the users of your mobile app. It’s not a simple thing, but push notifications make it easy. These are very good tools to encourage the user to launch the application. According to a Localystics study on the use of push notifications by mobile apps in 2015, the engagement of an app allowing notifications increases by 171% compared to an app without push notifications.

But beware, according to Localystics, these messages are often perceived as intrusive by users. Customize them as much as possible and make sure to send them to the right recipients. Someone who has never looked for baby products will probably be annoyed to receive a promo of diapers.


The use of gamification, also known as gamification, is not a new marketing technique, but it is still effective in engaging the user. The successful gamification recipe? Once again, there is not really a formula ready. Experts nevertheless recommend:

Make a game easy to understand,
Make the game progressive,
Allow the user to learn through the game,
Reward the user, for example with a system of points and badges,
Allow sharing with social networks.