5 Effective Mobile App Retention Hacks

Among all the typical key performance indicators for apps and games, retention may be the most important. Increased retention has follow-on effects on conversion, monetization and organic growth, as players stick around for longer and make your app a part of their regular routine.

For example, a game with a first time user experience (FTUE) funnel that loses players on a particular step will obviously see retention improve once the flawed step is corrected. But beyond retention, you’ll also have more early users last until they purchase something, and if you can keep them long enough, they’ll tell their friends to play, as well.

Luckily, retention is malleable to many other potential changes. Besides tutorials, you can improve retention by improving nearly any aspect of your app or game. After all, retention can be seen as a measure of how happy and engaged your users are on a long term basis.
With that in mind, here are five ways to use Tapjoy to quickly improve retention:

Target dormancy with Automated Push Notifications

“Dormant period” is a powerful segmentation option in Tapjoy’s Automated Push Notifications. With this option, you can quickly target users who haven’t opened your app in a specified number of days. Try experimenting with different messaging to bring users back: effective messages can range from a simple “Come play!” to a promo offer. If you’re worried that new users may be missing a key feature, such as a daily reward, you can also use a custom payload to open the app on the desired screen.

Leverage Tapjoy’s predictive power

With our Future Value Map, you can target users for push messaging based on their likelihood of future spending. Generally the focus is on potential dolphins and whales: users who may spend large amounts. But you can also target users who are predicted to never spend, or lapsed spenders who are predicted not to spend again. These users are more likely than spenders to stop playing, so making an effort to please them can increase retention. Churn Analysis is another predictive tool that can catch users before they exit the app.

Extend and enrich your Funnel Analysis

Did you know some top developers build first-time user funnels that extend far past their tutorial — even into several days of usage? The problem is that, once exiting from a tutorial, the user generally has branching options available. However, you can set up additional funnels for important milestones in your game, such as stage completions. Try targeting users who might have gotten stuck at a certain stage of a funnel and give them a little help to nudge them along by offering useful tips, tricks or promotions.

Develop a steady drumbeat of IAP Promos

Users take note of in-app messaging they see as being indicative of a developer’s involvement and investment in the game. Run sales and events on a schedule that players can learn and look forward to: doing so will confirm to users that they’re putting their time into an app that will be supported in the long run. With this in mind, you can also use Tapjoy’s In App Messaging to simply communicate with your users, even if there’s not a sale happening.

Reverse your churn with retargeting

Some engaged users will churn despite all your best efforts. When this happens, you can still reach and engage these users through retargeted ads. Consider using retargeting to reactivate your user base, especially after major updates that add new features or content — a user who felt they had completed all your content may still be eager to experience more when it becomes available.

App developers who focus on their retention will undoubtedly receive all sorts of other benefits as well. Try using these five retention hacks to watch your other KPIs move up and to the right!

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