How storytelling and gamification can lead to better retention in mobile apps?

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Mobile app retention is one of the biggest challenges of mobile apps these days, as more than 60% of the users stop using it after 3-4 months of installing. According to recent reports, 25% of the apps are used once or twice before they are discarded.


It is a challenging task for app developers to create apps that engage users for hours. Moreover, the increasing number of apps on App Store made it difficult for app developers to create apps that stay on user’s devices for long time.


There are many important factors that result in the success of mobile app. These factors play an important role, when it comes to user retention. No one would like if the app is boring or is abandoned after getting installed.


Using mobile app development testing and marketing should be top priorities for app developers. Besides these, app developers should consider factors that engage the users and keep them hooked to the app. The key areas that make the app popular are gamification, user experience, accessibility, speed etc.


So lets understand how gamification and storytelling can lead to better retention in mobile apps.


What is gamification?

Gamification is a marketing tool that can drive great value for the mobile app. It is not about playing games or collecting badges, but is an aspect of ‘game science’ that can be used for benefit of any mobile app looking to increase levels of engagement.


Gamification is about making normal activities compelling. It leverages some common mechanisms of gaming such as – point levels, checkpoints, rewards, choices, characters etc. At the basic level, gamification exploits most basic instincts, where people can interact with other people and challenge themselves. Gamification can create a great shift from more commonly accepted motivational factors that people typically respond to at work.


If we see from a practical perspective, gamification can be applied in almost any activity in which people are engaged and can help drive desired behaviors within the context of that particular activity.


Gamification satisfies the basic instinct of storytelling. Human brain prefers to absorb information from a narrative form, and anything that is given in the form of a narrative touches the heart. Stories can create curiosity and loyaltyand hence, app developers can use them to enhance user engagement and retention.


How gamification helps in user retention?

Mobile apps with gamified elements can engage and motivate users. An engaged customer is more likely to stay loyal and buy more products and services. Businesses can motivate shoppers to indulge competitive instincts by introducing gamification in their apps. When it comes to create an established and profitable app, attracting right user is just the beginning. Keeping the users engaged and active is the key to make an app successful.


  • Attracts new customers

Your mobile app can attract new customers, if you offer a reward to the first time user. You can offer rewards for referring new users, increasing the reward for additional rewards.  Another way to attract new users is to hold contests that require users to provide their name and email id to use the app.


  • Gamification to educate customers

To foster user engagement, get users to an open account and offer some kind of reward. Instead of relying loyalty points to retain customers, using gamification elements can make it fun to engage. You can even reward the users by giving them points for using the app more often. Make sure that the gamification process is easy and help users to see a chance of getting something out of it.


People tend to use apps that deliver value and provide solution to some sort of problems. People tend to use apps that delight them and surpass their expectations. Understand what your customers need and how your app can deliver on that will most likely to set up for success.


How gamification helps in user retention


  • Competition

Gamification adds a sense of competition among the users. It is advised to add a gamification layer with mobile app. Overall, your idea should be to provide an experience that users can never forget. Mobile apps have become an important part of our life, and hence they have to be designed in a way they get attached to the user and become necessity. If the overall experience is hurting the end user, the incentives and rewards you provide are worthless.


  • Creates value

Create an app that brings value to the users. You should be able to answer the questions such as – why should the users keep using your app? Why your app should be selected over that of competitor? Is your app bringing enough value to your customers? And so on. If you have clear answers to the above questions, it means your app is on the right track. People don’t use the app just because it sounds cool. Users like to engage with apps that bring value and make their life easier.


Incorporating gamification elements such as – badges, leaderboards, unlocking items, rewards, certifications etc can increasing app engagement and retention. Besides this, gamification also encourages social sharing through social channels increasing the visibility of your app.



Gamification plays an important role in user retention. It can be your app’s biggest asset – as it transforms your ordinary users to potential clients. A primary way to engage customers is by using games that reward them for playing and shopping using your app. Developing an app that changes the life of people can give a profitable and priceless experience. Offer rewards to the players as they achieve milestones within the app to generate high conversion rates.


App developers should keep in mind that not every gamification strategy works effectively. It can harm your brand, if it is not executed properly. Adding well designed game mechanics to your products can add value to customer experience. It can mislead and even frustrate customers, it is doesn’t have clear expectations.


Choose the right reward structure to safe guard your app from undesirable gamification failures. Leverage a genuine gamification strategy to increase customer retention, and not as a gimmick for shirt-term benefit.

Ready to Take the Next Step?


Gagandeep Sethi

Project Manager

With an ability to learn and apply, passion for coding and development, Gagandeep Sethi has made his way from a trainee to Tech Lead at Promatics. He stands at the forefront of the fatest moving technology industry trend: hybrid mobility solutions. He has good understanding of analyzing technical needs of clients and proposing the best solutions. Having demonstrated experience in building hybroid apps using Phonegap and Ionic, his work is well appreciated by his clients. Gagandeep holds master’s degree in Computer Application. When he is not at work, he loves to listen to music and hang out with friends.

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