Mobile messaging apps have 5.6x the user retention after 12 months use compared to average

Andy Boxall | April 2, 2015

App Business

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Mobile messaging apps retain more users for longer periods of time, compared to other mobile apps, according to new research by Flurry. Interestingly, user retention remains relatively steady over a 12 month period, with other apps falling consistently over the same time. It’s also evidence that interaction is key to maintaining user attention.

Messaging app retention compared to average apps


Looked at on average, most apps record a 36% retention rate in the first month, compared to 68% for messaging apps, a figure 1.9x higher. Moving into the second month, most apps drop to 29% retention, while messaging apps fall a single percentage point to 67%. In the third month, messaging apps still have 65% user retention, but the average drops to 25%.

The real value of messaging apps to keep users coming back is displayed when we see the six monthly and 12 monthly figures. At six months, just 18% of users come back to the average app, but 62% still return to messaging apps. Fast forward to a year after download, and it’s the same stat for messaging apps, but the average falls to just 11% – a massive 5.6x difference.

Examining the data more closely also reveals the daily average usage for messaging apps is way above the average. How far? An impressive 4.7x, going from an app being opened 1.9 times each day to 8.9 times for mobile messaging apps. Of course, messaging apps encourage repeat use due to their interactive nature – you send a message, and a reply will usually follow.

Apps which interact with the user see higher retention rates


Research conducted by Apptentive and collated by eMarketer shows how important interaction can be for increasing user retention. During the first week, apps which interacted with the user had a 57% retention rate, versus 25% for those with none. Both figures decrease over time, but even after twelve weeks, retention still totals 25% for interactive apps, compared to just 7% for this which had no interaction with the user.

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