User Retention Lessons from Big Brands -

User Retention Lessons from Big Brands

Most mobile apps in major app stores can’t retain users. The main mistake causing this problem is that mobile app owners or developers focus on user acquisition, not user retention. And this leads to such a scenario: An average app loses 77% of its users in the first 3 days!


For big players, the situation is much better! As you can see below, there is a direct correlation between the rank of an app and retention.


This means, other than being “big”, they have the best practices of user retention in common. Here are the best practices that the most of the big brands use to retain their users.

Onboarding Is More Important Than You Think!

According to research, how well you welcome your user is highly associated with retention rate.  Your new users will have expectations to understand and use your app clearly. Here are some important tips to improve your user onboarding.

  • Exclude too much text
  • Provide 1 feature / benefit for 1 page
  • Make the information flow rational
  • Use your users’ language, not a robot’s
  • Fix on 4 main benefits, maximum, and do not show more than that
  • Let your users take action in onboarding
  • Use navigation in a smart way
  • Prefer high-quality visuals
  • Use contrast in colors
  • Get feedback about your onboarding

Big brands try to be very careful about onboarding to avoid decreasing user retention. Periscope is a good example of this, with its clear and easy to understand onboarding experience.

It provides 4 main benefits in 4 pages with a skip option to avoid making users bored. Navigation is clear in each step. The registration process is easy, with information taken and push notifications.

Use Social Sharing If Possible

People love to share their experiences. Let them share their experiences to give them a reason for using your app again. Spotify and Soundcloud are amazing believers of this approach. They both let users share the song (or list) with friends in different platforms, like WhatsApp, and increase the possibility to acquire new users.

Use Personalized Push Notifications

The magic keyword here is “personalized.” If you prefer generic messages for every user, it is very possible to decrease your retention. Here are best practices:

  • Use less than 128 characters in your personalized messages
  • Be timely
  • Segment your users before personalization
  • Don’t frustrate your users with overuse

Foursquare is one of the cleverest mobile apps in using push notifications. They are timely and personalized. They use data, such as location, name, place, and previous check-ins, to make their users benefit from the notifications. Check what Foursquare and Swarm do and use push notifications to provide useful information, not just as reminders.

Personalize The Experience

Personalization hasthea power to make people feel special, and this provides satisfaction and user engagement. Saving the last action for reopening the app, like Spotify, is a perfect way for this. Find something special inside your app and personalize it to make your user’s life easier.


Put On Competitive Spirit with Gamification

Sometimes, a reason to come back to your app is about somebody else, not your app. Inviting a friend to compete with has become very popular, especially in gaming apps. However, apps in other categories, like health and fitness, use Gamification. Nike+ Running app is one. Inside the app, you can add your friends via Facebook, your Contacts, and your Nike+ account. After that, you can create a challenge by inviting your friends in a specific date and distance. You can also see the total scores your friends in a month with total miles for each friend.

Create a Community for Your Users

Give people a chance to be part of a family to increase mobile user retention. This might be a Facebook group, an online community, or a real event. This increases the word of mouth and gives users a reason to be loyal.

My Starbucks Idea and Nike+ Run Club are successful examples of creating a real community.

Get Benefit From Retargeting

Remember, major social media platforms that your users prefer is another effective way to increase retention. It is mostly effective for ecommerce and news apps, because they show current things (like new products or breaking news). However, you can benefit from retargeting ads for any aim.


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