10 Ways to Retain and Engage your Mobile App Users

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Mobile applications are computer programs and software applications which allow users to perform their desired functions on their mobile phones. But with the passing time, the number of similar applications is increasing. Since, in most cases, there is no cost of switching from one application to another, so users switch the application if they are not satisfied with its performance.


According to some studies, almost 80% of users don’t open the application again on the very first day they have downloaded it. And this percentage keeps on increasing with every passing day.  So how can application developers avoid this? What should they do so that users don’t leave their apps? Because what is the purpose of creating an application if no one is willing to use it?


Let’s have a look at some of the ways that can help mobile app developers to retain and engage their users.


1. Create Simple On-Boarding Process

This is one of the most important steps in this process. In today’s fast-paced life, people don’t like to spend a lot of time on something. So if your application asks users a lot of questions about themselves or it takes too long to log-in to the application, it is most likely that people will leave it on that step.


Create Simple On-Boarding Process


Instead, the application should have a maximum of 1-2 steps log-in or registration process. Most of the new applications now allow their users to get registered through Facebook or Google. Users connect their Facebook and Google accounts to the app and the app takes all the necessary information from those accounts. Thus, saving time. In a nutshell onboarding, users on the app should be simple enough for most people to understand.

2. Use Interactive Walkthroughs

Even if there are multiple applications for the same function, most likely all of them will have different interfaces and procedures to differentiate themselves from the other. Therefore, adding an interactive walkthrough for new users can help them a lot in understanding the application.


Walkthroughs mean a tour. When used in applications, it means that app developers show new users how to use the app by explaining everything. This is much more helpful than plain instructions.


Use Interactive Walkthroughs


While creating the walkthroughs, developers should keep in mind what possible difficulties a new user might face and then focus on addressing those.


For example, Trello, a task managing application opens like this to new users.


And then all the procedures are explained.


3. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is the most important step in retaining and engaging your audience. The more you know about them, the more you can entertain them. In order to do this, you should keep gathering the basic information such as age, gender, location, the reason of usage, and time of usage from the start.


You can also use cohort analysis. This technique is used to arrange a similar audience in groups. Managing groups is much easier than managing individuals. If a large number of individuals is facing a problem, then cohort analysis can easily identify if it is a group of similar individuals or not.


For example, if you see that teenagers are not interested in your application or they don’t return after using it once, you can try to make the application more attractive by adding modern features.

4. Personalize the Application

User is the main central point around which the app has to revolve. So instead of creating a rigid system for everyone, application developers should try to create as many personalized applications as possible.


No one wants to see irrelevant information. The more the app will show them what they want, the more are the chances of their retention. Developers can also use the data they collect to better create a personalized experience for the users.


Personalize the Application


For example, the User name should be displayed in notifications. It is done in many gaming applications but others should also follow.


Developers can also check how users spend their time on the app and then use it to show them similar content. This is one of the most used techniques around the World. Even Google playstore also uses this.

5. Push Notifications

Notifications are the small messages sent by the application to the users to remind them of something important going on in the application. Push notifications if used correctly can increase user retention by as much as 20%.


Push notifications are automated communication modes used by applications to communicate with their users. Even if the users have forgotten about an application or some un-left business, these notifications can be a very effective way of reminding them.


Push Notifications


For example, Uber is the largest online transportation company. They interact with their customers through apps. Uber frequently uses push notification technique to send information such as availability of discounts or unavailability of their services to the users.


However, sending too much notification to the users can irritate them and even make them uninstall the application. So this very useful technique should be used very cautiously.

10 Ways to Retain Your Mobile App Users


6. Good Quality Application

Developers should ensure that the app which they have created works perfectly and has no bugs. It is most likely that if the users face any sort of difficulty in using the application, they will not return to it. This is the reason why the quality of the application is very important.


Before making the application available for the users, developers should carry out different sorts of tests to make sure that all the bugs are removed. Also, they should focus special attention on the loading time of a page.


If a page takes more than 2 seconds to load, it is slow. And the users will go for some other application as there are a large number of other options available. So smooth working of the application is very important.

7. In-App Messages

In-App messages are quite similar to push notifications but they have a few differences. Unlike push notifications, in-app messages, as the name suggests, can only be seen when the user is using the application.


Since the user is already using the application, so he will pay much more attention to any related information. This is the reason in-app messages are much more successful in user retention than push notifications. Almost 61% to 74% user retention increases because of it in 28 days.


In-App Messages


In-app messages include payment reminders, app update notifications, and other users related information.


The message shown in the image not only increases user retention but also is a source of marketing. But just like push notifications, a lot of in-app messages can annoy the users. So the messages should not be spammed.

8. Update Regularly

It is part of human nature that we get bored after seeing the same thing over and over again. This is the reason why people want to change after some time. This phenomenon also applies here. The application developers need to update their apps regularly so that they can keep getting user attention.


Here the update not only means keeping the content of the website up-to-date but also changing the design, color scheme, and layout of the application as well. Many most commonly used applications follow this technique and keep their users retained.


Application developers can also use the answers to most commonly asked questions by users as new content.


9. Enable Sharing on Social Media

Social media is not only a source of entertainment anymore. It is now a big source of connection between people living all around the globe. People love to share every little happening in their lives on social media to let their loved ones know about it.


Enable Sharing on Social Media


Application developers can use this in retaining people on their applications. For example, if you have created a game or a fitness application, then you can add a social media sharing feature to the application. Now when your users will achieve something and share it on their social platforms, they will be able to get the praise and appreciation of their loved ones which will also keep them motivated to use that application even more.


For example in the popular game, Candy Crush users can ask their Facebook friends of extra lives if they have used all of their own.

10. Respond to the Feedback

Most of the users provide feedback to the developers of the applications after using the app. This can be seen on the Google playstore as well. A good developer keeps an eye on the feedback provided and tries his best to solve any sort of problems that users face while using the application.


The feedback provided by the users is a source of evaluation of the performance of the application. If feedback is good and positive it means that the app is doing good otherwise developer needs to work on the app.


Only if the developers respond appropriately to the feedback and try to solve the problems of users, a lot of users can be retained.



App developers and founders spend a lot of time, effort, and money while creating an application. So they want their apps to be used by everyone. But unfortunately, it does not happen most often. Sometimes because of user habits and sometimes because of faults in applications. However, by following these points you can make sure that your users don’t go anywhere.

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Hariom Tiwari

Associate Project Manager

A dynamic professional with strengths in both project and time management. With strong analytical skills and the ability to provide tremendous business solutions, he made his way to a Project Manager in a short span of time. He is collaborative and highly skilled in working as a team member, incorporating best practices in successfully executing complex projects. His expertise includes analyzing the technical needs of the clients, proposing effective solutions and delivering large scale projects on time. He possesses strong communication skills as well as interpersonal skills with the ability to interact with people at all levels. In leisure time, Hari Om enjoys cooking and roving with his loved ones.

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