App Retention Rates Still Low, But Improving

February 20, 2017

App retention continues to be a major challenge for marketers, according to a recent study [download page] by AppsFlyer which measured 3.5+ billion installs across 5,000+ apps. By day 30 after download, a mere 4.8% of organic users were active within apps on iOS devices, and only 4.5% on Android. Non-organic users were even lower.

With more than 2 million apps in Google Play and the App Store, every app marketer is working against massive competition, coupled with increased user expectations. Retaining engagement will prove to be a primary focus for app marketers in the upcoming years.

Retention Rates Rising

There is good news for app marketers, however, as year over year retention rates look positive. This is particularly the case on iOS devices, where retention rates rose by 25% among non-organic users across all types of apps. Android devices experienced a 4% lift overall from non-organic users, and a notable 51% increase for shopping apps.   

Retention rates were calculated by dividing the number of users who were active on days 1, 7, and 30 out of the total number of users who first launched the app (on day 0).

Retention rates for organic users tend to outperform those for non-organic. For example, in shopping apps organic users on iOS devices showed 7% engagement on day 30 after download, as opposed to only 4.1% for non-organic users.

Shopping apps performed the best in terms of engagement with 6% of organic Android users still engaged on day 30, and 7% on iOS. Interestingly, finance apps came in just behind with 5.7% engagement on Android from organic users on day 30, and 6.2% on iOS. It seems users must need the finance apps to track all of their spending on their shopping apps.

While organic users tend to be more engaged than non-organic users overall, the study reveals a growing trend for improved engagement across non-organic users. Year-over-year growth for this category consistently improved at a rate higher than that of organic users. For example, on Android devices, non-organic retention rates rose by 4% across all types of apps, whereas organic users saw an 8% decrease in retention.

Top Regions for Engagement

AppsFlyer recorded the top U.S cities for engagement, based on an app engagement score that factors both the retention score and average sessions per daily active user. The top ten follow.

  • Salt Lake City
  • Omaha
  • Houston
  • Kansas City
  • Albuquerque
  • Tucson
  • Nashville
  • Louisville
  • Oklahoma City
  • Birmingham

The full report can be downloaded here

About the data: Retention rates were measured in Q3 2016 across 3.5+ billion installs over 5,000+ apps. AppsFlyer developed a retention score, which comprised of data on the number of users who were active on days 1, 7, and 30 out of the total number of users who first launched the app. They assigned more weight to each passing day to reflect the logic that the longer a user is retained, the higher the score.

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