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Why User Retention is More Important Than User Acquisition

2 min read
Nov 14, 2016

User acquisition is vital for the success of any new mobile app. In fact, many marketers consider it to be the most important mobile metric and focus solely on attracting as many users as possible. The higher your number of app downloads, the more successful your app is, right?

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To some degree, I guess this is a great starting point. But what many app marketers may not consider is just how easily the app users of today get bored. Andrew Chen, Growth at Uber, discovered that about 80% of those users that you put blood, sweat and tears into acquiring will abandon your app within the first 3 days… Yep, they will just drop you like a hot potato.

This is where user retention comes in. App user retention involves building a relationship with all the users you have acquired and showing them that you care. You can’t just get married and then stop trying with your other half. Believe me… that would not go down well. The same goes for your app users. Giving them a bit of attention makes them more likely to keep using your app and not forgetting about you or going somewhere else (take this as some relationship advice too).

Why Should I Focus More on User Retention?

  • It is much easier to convince existing customers to make a purchase. There is a 60-70% chance  that an existing user will make any in-app purchases you may have which is much higher than the 5-20% chance you have of selling to new users. Your loyal users are also less price sensitive because they trust your brand and understand the benefits your app offers.
  • Acquiring new customers is much more expensive than keeping the ones you already have. You don’t need to go through the lengthy, costly process of finding and converting potential leads. Your loyal customers just require a small nudge to keep them engaging with your app. Offer them a reward or discount to refer a friend and you’re killing two birds with the same stone.
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Top Tips for App User Retention

    1.  Engage with them on a regular basis

This can be done through push notifications, in-app notifications and even email to reach those pesky users that have opted out. When done correctly, push notifications have the ability to boost retention rates by a staggering 180%!

    2.  Get personal

Use your user’s name, location and in-app behaviour to customise your messaging and make them feel special. 

[Ps. we've already written a full blog on how to retain your app users - Check it out here]

Of course, if you’ve just launched your mobile app, user acquisition is going to be your primary concern and this is certainly the most important thing to concentrate on at the very beginning of your app’s life. But in the long run, app user retention is going to allow you to build a relationship and develop loyal app users. And in my opinion, one loyal app user is of more value to you than 10 one-off users.

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