It’s not uncommon for clients to invest anywhere from thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars in developing their apps. They typically also invest their time, research, and aspirations in the project. As such, a mobile app should have every chance to succeed. A helpful tool in this process is the app retention rate calculator.

What is Mobile App User Retention? 

So, what is mobile app user retention? In a nutshell, mobile app user retention shows you when users begin churning — using analytics data, developers learn the day when app lifecycle users stop using the app.

How to Measure User Retention

Once you have the required data, learning how to measure user retention is a straightforward task. The measurement is usually one, seven, or thirty days after users install the software. To calculate the app retention rate, divide the app’s monthly active users by monthly installations.

For example, if you had 100 users on June 1st and 90 by July 1st, your retention rate is 90%. Your churn rate in this scenario would be 10%.

Why Are User Retention Metrics Essential?

Remedial Action

User retention metrics are essential because they help you gauge your ability to keep users returning to your software. Your goal isn’t just to have a significant number of installs but to have high engagement and retention.

Retention metrics can help developers take any necessary remedial action for better mobile retention strategies. For example, a low retention rate may mean that the onboarding process requires finetuning or that A/B testing should be more thorough.

Remember, retaining a user is more cost-effective than gaining a new one. When your churn is high, trying to retain existing users may be wiser than using resources for more user acquisition. In other words, if your bucket leaks water, you should prioritize plugging the holes over filling the bucket.

Revenue Generation

High retention can have a direct impact on revenue. According to a report by Brian & Co, boosting client retention rates by 5% increases profits by up to 95%, while a 10% rise in user retention can result in a 30% increase in company value.

High retention is particularly valuable for some industries. For example, game apps utilizing subscription or microtransaction models tend to earn more from loyal users who are part of the high retention cohort.

Your retention metrics may impact your revenue generation from your mobile marketer too. Nowadays, many advertisers examine retention benchmarks to understand your app’s impact.

With a higher retention rate, you can also offer upgrades and add-ons. But if people are uninstalling your software with high frequency, you may need to work on the core elements of the app more first.


Your users will offer the most honest feedback. When you leverage your retention metrics to improve your retention rate, you gain more feedback through user engagement. This feedback can help you improve your software.

Mistakes with Measuring Mobile Retention Rates

1. Lacking Time Context

You should look at your mobile retention rate in the right context of time to use it effectively. For example, if you’re a seasonal business, the retention rate for your goods and services app may be low during the off-season. Similarly, a sports app will have higher retention rates during events. By contrast, seasons impact a food delivery app’s retention rate less.

2. Measuring the Wrong Metric

Your metric must relate to the goal of your app. For example, a retained user for an ecommerce app would be someone who completes a purchase once a week. However, a retained user for a traffic app would be someone who checks for traffic updates daily.

3. Comparing to The Wong Industry

Compare your retention rate to similar apps in your sector. For example, according to Statista, the 30-day retention for Comics was nearly 10% for Android devices but just 3.9% for Food & drink apps. Comparing your retention rate to the wrong industry may confuse your stakeholders and hinder your app’s future.

After Measuring Retention Data

After measuring your retention data, you should investigate why your users churn, to reduce the number of users leaving. You should also look at what works for loyal users to strengthen your retention strategy.

The Best Mobile App Retention Strategies

Whether your app retention rate is low or respectable, you should learn a few helpful app retention tips for your software.

Data Tracking

Use your analytics tools to start absorbing and analyzing data immediately. More data can help you develop better tactics and maximize your impact.


It’s no secret that buggy apps have low retention rates at launch. Modern app users have plenty of choices and are short on patience — if your app is performing poorly, they’ll quickly move to a competing app.  

As a top Android and iOS app developer company, we minimize bugs with our exhaustive testing procedures:

  • Unit Testing: Our apps integrate functional testing to prevent bugs and crashes.
  • Bug Tracking: We outline any imperfections and eliminate each one until the app is functioning perfectly by leveraging our cutting-edge analytics tools.
  • User Testing: The feedback from our internal testers helps address flaws and vulnerabilities.
  • A/B Testing: We test two approaches simultaneously in real-time to figure out which one works better.

UX Design

UX design helps create an excellent first impression and drives customer loyalty. At Guaraná, we know that an app is nothing without an intuitive and eye-catching interface. Our app development company in Toronto and Montreal specializes in UX and UI development services for all types of industries. As your partners in UX and UI app development, we’ll guide you through every step of our process, from the first idea to the final launch.

App Onboarding

If you’re thinking about boosting app user retention, onboarding is one of the most effective policies. In layman’s terms, app onboarding is how you introduce users to your mobile app. This crucial first impression helps reduce abandonment rate.

  • Long-term value: Show the value and benefit of your app. When users believe that the app can improve their lives or solve their problems, they’re more likely to use it.
  • Simple Sign-Up: Ensure that your sign-up process is straightforward. Abandonment rates rise when the onboarding process is too challenging.
  • Choices: While the sign-up process should be easy, it should also offer choices. For example, your app should allow users to register through their Google, Facebook, or Twitter accounts.
  • Illustrations: Modern app users don’t enjoy onboarding while reading large bodies of text. Instead of text, use engaging illustrations, screenshots, and progress indicators to assist them through onboarding.
  • Skipping: Allow users to skip unnecessary steps to help them feel empowered.
  • Intuitive: Avoid explaining familiar tools and features. Your users will understand common features such as likes, comments, shares, and more.
  • Call to Action: Use a call to action at the end of onboarding to achieve your goals. Push notifications, as we will discuss next, are an excellent way to enhance user retention. Use a call to action at the end of onboarding to have users sign up for it.

Push Notifications

Push notifications are an effective way to have users return to your app. These personalized messages delivered to home screens encourage users to engage with the app. They also remind users of the value of the software.

Using push notifications the right way is critical, though. Your abandonment rates may go up if your push notifications are too pushy, for example — a user irritated by push notifications will quickly uninstall the app.

Machine learning algorithms can analyze usage patterns and identify when users engage with an app in order to send push notifications in optimal timeframes.

In addition to the timing, the messaging of push notifications should also be effective. Push notifications can offer news, in-app events, special offers, and other content that users find valuable.

In-app Messaging

In-app messaging follows a similar philosophy to push notifications to boost user retention. Apps that strategically send messages while users are using an app may have a 3.5x higher user retention.


Personalization is a powerful psychological tool that helps raise retention. Here are some common personalization features:

  • Addressing users by their name.
  • Offering relevant suggestions.
  • Tailoring content.
  • Providing customization.

Again, balance is key. Avoid invading privacy, or your users may feel uncomfortable. The optimal level of personalization may also depend on your sector and demographic. For instance, younger app users may react more positively to deep personalization than older users.


Incentivize users to engage with the app by offering in-app rewards such as coupons, discounts, special content access, exclusive services, and promotions. Of course, you can incentivize users with visuals and audio too. For instance, many puzzle apps reward users with colourful graphics and celebratory music after they complete tasks.

Numerous studies state that increasing retention rates have enormous benefits to your revenue and profitability. Learn how to measure user retention and use that data to develop an effective success strategy.


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Partners - not providers.

Guaraná will act as your partner and advisor throughout the whole process. Our app development process is tailored to be collaborative and we truly embrace each one of our projects. Being a well rounded and skilled team makes us a great long-term partner for both startups and established companies.


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We truly commit to your digital app development project's success. We're passionate about turning your web & mobile application idea into a high-performance digital product with authentic design, smooth usability and amazing engagement. We provide nothing less than the best user experience possible.


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Our tech team ensures we always craft the best logic for your users and your strategy. Our scalable solutions are ready to accommodate any new features you might need - when your business evolves, our code evolves with you.