Data Study: 2019 App Retention Benchmarks

For years retention has been a significant pain point for marketers… and 2019 was no exception.

Retention is a mission-critical metric in mobile marketing, allowing brands to optimize their user acquisition and engagement efforts, as well as to predict lifetime value. It is also the basis of monetization, as engaged users are more likely to generate revenue by either making in-app purchases or interacting with ads. Unfortunately, for years retention has been a significant pain point for marketers… and 2019 was no exception. 

In fact, the retention rate of non-organic users decreased this year in over 60% of verticals, with overall rates lower than 5% on Day 30. Add to that the high app uninstall rates and you get a formidable user engagement challenge for apps. To help marketers tackle this challenge and enable smarter, data-driven decisions, Appsflyer has analyzed the retention performance of over 15,000 apps with marketing spend (at least 1,000 non-organic installs per country per month). The result — the industry’s most comprehensive retention report for app marketers.

No Relief from the Pain: Retention Rates Remain Low

Retention rates have been a significant pain point for app marketers in recent years, and 2019 was no exception. While organic rates slightly improved, non-organic rates dropped by as much as 8%.

Image: Appsflyers

iOS Longer Term Retention 35% higher than Android:

What is very much clear is that iOS users deliver a significantly higher long term retention than Android users, as seen on Week 8 with a 35% gap.

Image: Appsflyers

Retargeting Plays a Key Role in Retention Uplift: Looking at differences of percentile values between categories, it’s clear that some apps have adopted retargeting more than others, and so we see that Shopping percentile 80 is 3x higher than in Gaming, and percentile 50 of Travel is 5x higher than in Finance.

Image: Appsflyers
Image: Appsflyers
Image: Appsflyers
Image: Appsflyers

Marketers should use these percentiles as a benchmark when scaling retargeting campaigns, and analyze its effect on retention accordingly.

Where Marketers Can Find Quality Users: Overall, over 60% of the top 40 markets presented in the map experienced improved year-over-year retention rates.

Image: Appsflyers

The Retention of Apps with 1+ Year Shelf Life is Mostly Down: Only about 4 out of every 10 apps with at least one year of shelf life have experienced improved year-over-year retention rates on Day 30. Furthermore, 27% of apps enjoyed significant improvement in performance (at least 10% higher rates in 2019 compared to 2018)

Image: Appsflyers

Retention Optimization Best Practices

  • Run retargeting campaigns to bring users back to your app and boost your retention rates over time. The impact is clearly demonstrated in our findings. 
  • Start your re-engagement and retargeting campaigns early, using the level playing field across regions to your advantage. Aim to engage with users around the one week mark, through at least day 30. Inform these efforts with more than just your install and media source data by leveraging advanced retention and cohort reports, in addition to rich in-app event data, to drive hyper-targeted audience segmentation. 
  • Ensure a world class onboarding experience with deep linking, which creates a seamless user journey from advertisement to install and conversion. 
  • Do not over-promise in your promotions else you risk serious inconsistencies between expectations and reality. This will not only result in an unhappy user but can also hurt your brand name. 
  • Leave less room for surprises by pushing video or playable ads, using app store demos, or maintaining a well-designed and informative app store page. 

In order to really succeed and get your app among the retention leaders for your category, you will need to play a long term, data-centric game and have the resources to support it. 

Source: Appsflyer

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