How to hold onto the fleeting app user


apps-mobile-smartphone-ss-1920For mobile marketers, the stakes have never been higher. Apps are continuing to lose more and more users — but how is this happening?

Well, we already know that 23 percent of users will try an app just once and then never use it again. So my question to marketers is: Can you afford to wait?

Traditionally, companies have spent large sums of money on user acquisition, believing that if they could entice a user to download their app, they were set. But with the number of channels and technologies continuing to grow, acquisition is becoming the easy part. In fact, when looking at the first half of 2016 vs. the first half of 2015, the number of newly acquired users increased by 65 percent.

The name of the game now is retention. And if marketers don’t step up, we can expect to continue seeing app retention numbers decrease and churn increase.

Since just last year, average user retention has dropped from 42 percent to 37 percent one month after download, according to research from my employer, Localytics. By the third month, the number of users who have churned rose from 75 percent to 80 percent. This is astounding, to say the least, especially for a marketer trying to grow his or her business in an already crowded market.


In a study we completed last year, 94 percent of marketers claimed to “know” their users. Simply put, they are misguided. Their apps are instead falling short in serving up the types of high-quality content users have grown to expect.

The mobile industry, which continues to grow exponentially each year, is facing an engagement crisis. If it’s not faced head-on, people will continue to leave apps that don’t fully engage them.

What’s a mobile marketer to do?

With access to massive amounts of data, it’s a matter of making sense of it all. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: Only the data-driven will survive in the mobile game.

Here are some ways marketers can tap into their insights to can keep users around.

• Understand, then individualize: With every interaction a user makes in an app, they are practically shouting their personal information from the rooftops. Their preferences, interests and desires can all be captured through this data and used to better target them in the future.

Mobile marketers need to ensure they’re providing audiences with individualized, relevant experiences. App users crave these experiences and the type of personalization that can only come with rich data.

By individualizing the mobile experience, marketers are breaking down the technological barrier and making a strong connection with people on the other side of mobile.

• Location, location, location: Push messages based on a user’s location, using geotargeting, are helping to bridge the gap from the physical to the digital world. They’re a nice way to let users know that you understand them well by serving up content that’s relevant to them at that exact moment in time.

• What you want, when you want it: Sending relevant messages at the proper time of day is another way to form a bond with your app user. It’s a great way for a brand to keep users up to date on what’s happening based on their time zone, building trust and encouraging re-engagement.

• How about this? The more tailored the app experience, the better. Marketers should be mining data to recommend future content to users based on their actions. This will not only boost engagement, but it will also keep people in the app.

All marketers need to make it their priority to improve retention and reduce churn. Adopting these tips will set them on the road to retaining users. After all, people just want to know you’re paying attention to them.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Josh Todd is chief marketing officer for Localytics. He oversees global marketing, branding and advertising. He formerly served as vice president of customer acquisition and marketing for Constant Contact, and was also previously general manager of website strategy for the company. Prior to Constant Contact, Josh worked for Staples, Inc., where he was responsible for guiding the development of Staples’ online advertising campaigns and sports marketing sponsorships. Josh also held management positions at Terra Lycos, Greater Boston Radio Group, and Kellogg Company. Josh holds a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from Babson College, and a Masters in Business Administration from Colorado State University.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here