Retention is the buzz word in the market. What it simply means is how many people return to use your app over a given period of time. Most think retention from a DAU point-of-view with no idea on how much the industry average is. It’s important to benchmark your retention % because even with an industry leading marketer in your team, million of $, mind blowing content or with the best app in the world, your retention can be a single digit number.. and that’s ok!

Retention is highly variable and dependent on the category of your app and your business vertical.

I came across this scatterplot (via Flurry, RIP) which shows retention across app categories by a 90 day retention % (on x) vs. frequency of use (on y), notice the uniqueness in an ideal retention % for each app category.

Apps in quadrant 1 are intensively used while also finding long term loyalty with the users. Communication, content, news or messaging apps have high (close to 50%) retention rate and a frequency of up to  10 times/week.

Quadrant 2 comprises of apps  which are used frequently however are not very sticky when it comes to long term retention. Online music streaming apps, dating apps fall into this quadrant with an ideal retention rate of 25% they’re a classic example of high usage and low retention category.

Health and fitness apps fall under quadrant 3, apps with a very high churn rate and infrequent usage

While quadrant 4 comprises of apps categories which have a relatively retention (45%) higher than the other quadrants but average usage is under 5 times a week; Your food, travel and utility apps fall under this category.

How to find out your mobile app’s retention and improve it?

A good way to identify your ideal retention % is by looking at a 90 day trend for DAU/MAU, in other words, determine how sticky your mobile app is among your active users.

Figure out how to hack your app into your consumers natural behaviour over expecting them to do something completely new, pushing for over-engagement can be annoying.  Then go pray 3 times a day.




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