In today’s competitive market, apps are spending more on acquiring new users, meaning churn is more costly than it used to be. But unfortunately, churn is a fact of life—the average app loses 77% of its DAUs within the first three days after the install. Within 30 days, it loses 90% of DAUs. Within 90 days, it’s over 95%.

Within three months, almost all of the users you work so hard to acquire, who say “yes” and install your app, change their minds and either uninstall or become inactive.

On a more positive note, users retained for the first seven days tend to stick around much longer. So the key is to get users hooked during that critical day 1-7 period. That doesn’t give you a lot of time, so you need to ensure users see and appreciate the value of your app from the moment they launch their first session.

While some level of user churn is still inevitable, focusing on boosting retention and engagement will help minimize attrition rates as much as possible.

Here are some of the best ways to give your app its greatest chance of survival on your users’ devices:

Showcase Your Value Proposition

From the moment a user installs your app, you have a short window to convince them of your app’s worth. So, get to the point and present your value proposition as soon as possible.

As you highlight your core features throughout onboarding, focus on how each solves a problem for the user rather than the feature itself. Take a “here’s what you can do with our product” approach rather than “here’s what our product can do.”

Seamless Onboarding

It seems obvious, but not all apps initiate an efficient onboarding process; for others, there is likely room for improvement. Onboarding should be as simple and intuitive as possible. The more difficult it is to begin using an app, the more likely users are to abandon.

Remove unnecessary steps and barriers to creating an account. Include the option to register with Facebook and Google—this removes multiple steps for the user. Don’t ask for more details or permissions than you need. You can ask for more later—the priority here is to get the user to experience your app and its value quickly. 

Great onboarding requires a careful balance of the information users need to know now and information that can wait until the moment they need it. Be selective about the features you introduce during onboarding so as not to overwhelm users during their first app session. Which features do users need to initially understand for app functionality? Prioritize these and introduce other elements gradually in the context of when the user will find them most useful.

A full tour might not be necessary if your app is in a category that’s been around a while. In this scenario, consider progressive onboarding where users explore on their own and the app presents helpful prompts and tooltips contextually, as and when they need them. Of course, if your app represents an entirely new experience and is truly unique, you’ll need to offer more guidance.

Personalize the Experience

Your mobile app users want and expect a personalized experience from day one. This can be challenging when you haven’t yet accumulated personal and demographic data, but you can start learning about a user as soon as they begin interacting with your app.

Shopping apps are a prime example of this. As the user begins exploring your product catalog, you form an understanding of their habits and what they like and dislike. Then you can start engaging them with personalized content, rewards, and recommendations based on their in-app behavior.

This is one of the reasons why we love apps like Netflix, Spotify, and Audible. They analyze and interpret our behavior so accurately that every time we open the app, the experience is uniquely ours.

Think about how you can tailor the user’s experience from their first app session based on the features they use, the content they engage with, when they use the app, and other usage patterns.

Communicate Regularly

Stay connected with your users through purposeful push notifications, in-app messaging, and email. Remind new users to complete registration, send updates about relevant products, and target those starting to drop off with special offers and promotions. 

Use deep linking to take users directly to a specific page within the app. For example, if a user leaves a game midway through a level, send a reminder to encourage them to return before they lose their progress. Link your call to action to the exact place they left in the game for a seamless app experience. 

Successful apps use these messaging channels to shape the customer journey by being thoughtful and strategic about how and when they reach out to users.

Reward Your Users

Time-sensitive rewards captivate users and encourage continued, repeat app usage. Use the rich data from your app to cater offers to each user, providing them with relevant incentives that engage and delight.

Celebrate users’ in-app achievements and milestones to build strong emotional connections and inspire users to continue supporting your brand.

Or offer app-only rewards such as added discounts, extra loyalty points, or exclusive access to products to create a sense of FOMO and entice customers to stay active on your app.

Some apps successfully connect rewards to their key features. Apps like Snapchat and Duolingo, for instance, reward users for ‘streaks,’ encouraging users to open the app daily and use its core functionality. 

Final Thoughts

Early and continuous engagement is necessary for retaining users long term, but it will only be successful if you deliver the right experiences at the right times. Minimizing churn relies heavily on understanding user behavior. Only then can you accurately provide engaging, personalized experiences—crucial to building active, loyal users. 

As the app market continues to heat up, having a strategy to reduce app churn is critical to growth. Focusing on your app’s experience and keeping users engaged will keep abandonment low and customer LTV high.

Learn more about how you can achieve your mobile retention goals with Swrve in a personalized demo.