App user retention stalls internationally, up in the US

Anne Freier | June 24, 2015

App Business

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Localytics, the app marketing and analytics platform, recently released new research that highlights differences in app user retention worldwide. The Annual App User Retention Study found that overall app user retention declined from 39% in 2014 to 34% in 2015. App abandonment increased from 20% in 2014 to 25% in 2015.

App user retention declined to 34% this year

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However, there are differences between countries. US engagement improved slightly the year over, up to 42%, whilst user retention rates were steady at 19%. App improvements and developments are likely to having contributed to the growth in retention. Marketing tools such as push messaging are ensuring a more active user engagement and re-engagement.

User retention in the US slightly improved

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Whilst rates were up in the US, they took a dramatic drop in China, where retention jumped from 27% in 2014 to 18% in 2015. 37% of Chinese customers only used an app once. According to the research, the decline can be attributed to several factors. China is adoption smartphone usage rapidly, with a wide majority of users opting for WeChat as a free messaging service. However, that stifles the development of new apps. In addition, the average Chinese smartphone users spend less time in apps than US users.

App retention in China dropped to 18%

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But there’s no reason to despair yet. Localytics found that apps which employ push messages generally retain more users in the US as well as China. Push messages engage users in real-time, making an app more valuable as they drive retention rates up. In fact, 56% of US users who opt in to receive push messages, return to use an app more frequently; many as much as 11 times.

Push-enabled user retention in the US

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The same goes for China, where push notifications result in 35% of retention and app abandonment drops to just 20%.

As app developers are finding it harder to both acquire users and increase mobile engagement, there’s a new kid on the block to help them out – mobile marketing automation. This includes a deeper engagement at every level of an app for a greater personalised experience. It goes beyond push notifications as it allows for automated machine learning which leads to only personalised messages being delivered and hence greater satisfaction rates.

And Localytics agrees – a more personalised marketing approach can drive app user engagement rates.

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