Mobile App Retention: 7 Strategies for Long-Term User Engagement

6 min readMar 13, 2024


Attracting users to your app is only the first step towards achieving commercial success. The journey doesn’t end with a download. It’s about keeping users retained and fostering enduring relationships over time.

“According to Quettra’s statistics, the journey of an average app can be quite challenging.

Within just three days of installation, it experiences a staggering loss of 77% of its daily active users (DAUs). As the days pass, this decline continues relentlessly, with 90% of DAUs vanishing within a month and over 95% disappearing within a span of 90 days.

These numbers serve as a poignant reminder of the fierce competition and fleeting nature of user engagement in the app ecosystem.”

Maria Zmachinskaya, CMO at SolveIt

With the substantial costs involved in user acquisition, the importance of retaining them cannot be overstated. In this article, we’ll discuss why mobile app retention is vital for your app’s success and unveil reliable strategies to enhance it. Let’s delve into the details!

Why is app retention so important?

Revenue generation

Retained users are more likely to make in-app purchases and subscribe to premium features. Such users have already demonstrated a willingness to invest in your app’s offerings and tend to continue spending over time.

Plus, retaining existing users can help you cut some expenses. Retaining is typically less costly than acquiring new users and spending a pretty penny on marketing, advertising, and promotions. Thus, user retention helps to save resources and maximize the return on investment.

Brand loyalty

By consistently meeting user needs and delivering value, the mobile app provides a sense of loyalty among its user base. Loyal users are more forgiving of occasional bugs, especially when they feel a strong connection to the app.

In addition, satisfied users often engage within the app community, leave positive feedback, and recommend the app to friends and family. Word-of-mouth referrals from loyal users can significantly drive user acquisition efforts and boost the app’s reputation in the market.

Iterative improvement

When people spend time within an app, they notice how it evolves and, most importantly, they can share their thoughts on these changes. Their insightful feedback can help you understand user preferences (or pain points) and streamline further enhancements.

Focusing on issues that resonate with the user base not only improves the overall user experience. It makes your team take a more user-centric approach to the mobile app development process.

Mobile app retention rate: statistics

Understanding the dynamics of mobile app retention rates is crucial for developers seeking to create sustainable user experiences. It’s worth noting that app retention can vary significantly across different app categories and industries, and even mobile platforms.

Source: Appsflyer

According to the Business of Apps research, the average retention rate on Android stands at 22.6% on Day 1 and gradually declines to a mere 2.6% by Day 30. For iOS, these metrics are 25.6% and 4.3% respectively.

When it comes to app categories, mobile app retention rate statistics on iOS and Android platforms show similar leaders. The top three include news, finance/business, and transportation apps.

Whether focusing on iOS or Android app development, providers should carefully tailor their app retention strategies to account for the unique characteristics and user behaviors associated with each platform.

7 Strategies to enhance user retention

In this section, we’ll outline practical steps aimed at enhancing app retention, with a particular focus on design and user experience.

Prioritize a good UX

Of course, visual appeal plays a significant role in encouraging users to spend more time in your app. But the real awe-effect is achieved when users can navigate the app without any hesitation. If they can effortlessly find what they need, they’re more likely to stick around.

To simplify navigation, make sure that all essential features are easily accessible. For that, make all UX elements (buttons, menus, search bars, etc) clear and intuitive.

Make sure that those navigation elements meet the following requirements:

  • Clear texts and CTAs: vague wording can confuse users; they should know what to expect after clicking on a button or menu item.
  • For example, instead of using abstract messages like “Click Here,” opt for descriptive phrases like “Sign Up” or “Download Now.”
  • Placement: navigation elements should be placed where users naturally expect to find them based on common design practices.
  • Categorization in menus: content and features organized into logical groups make it easier for users to locate and access what they need.
  • Feedback: visual response when buttons or menu items are pressed notifies users that their actions have been successful.
Food Delivery App Enhanced UX/UI, SolveIt Case Study

This can be achieved through animations, color changes, or subtle effects that indicate the button’s state (e.g., pressed or disabled).

If you’re looking for UI/UX design services, make sure that you choose a team able to create a smooth environment where users feel valued.

Provide flawless onboarding

Statistically, 75% of users abandon an app within the first week if it is difficult to use it. And it can be easily explained: users have countless options in the app marketplace, and if they encounter confusion or frustration, they are quick to move on to more user-friendly alternatives.

As such, providing a smooth intro to the app’s features is a great welcoming gesture and a way to skyrocket your app retention rate. Guided tutorials, tooltips, and interactive walkthroughs can help users understand how to accomplish their goals effectively.

When designing an onboarding experience, make sure to communicate the app’s value proposition and benefits to users upfront. Highlight what makes the app unique and why they should continue using it.

Some users may want to refresh their knowledge or explore additional features whenever they desire. Let the onboarding experience remain accessible for users to revisit when needed.

Nice to have: In addition to providing onboarding for new users, it’s equally crucial to implement brief onboarding tips for existing users when new features are introduced. By doing so, users can swiftly grasp the value of the new features and seamlessly incorporate them into their app experience.

Bluetooth Finder App Quickstart Onboarding, SolveIt Case Study

Use the power of personalization

Who doesn’t love feeling special, right? That’s why personalization is the key to improving mobile app retention. By leveraging user data and preferences, you can tailor the app experience to various groups of users, making it more relevant and compelling.

Whether it’s adjusting content, recommending products or services, or simply greeting by name, app personalization adds that warm feeling of being treated like a VIP. And statistics confirm that.

According to Think with Google, a striking 63% of users are willing to make purchases from apps that provide relevant product recommendations, tailored to their interests and preferences.

Remember that the journey of app personalization is a lasting one. Allow users to customize their experience by choosing favorite topics, setting preferences, and more. By giving users a feeling of control over their experience, you deepen their connection to the app.

Habit Tracking App Personalization Settings

Use notifications wisely

Get insights on 3 more proven strategies to enhance mobile app retention in the full article here.