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The First 30 Days: How Session Frequency Affects Retention

Posted Feb 2, 2016

Improved user retention post-install is the aim of any app publisher, yet many find that the majority of their new users cease use of their app after a month or so. To re-engage these users before they churn, it’s important to understand how their session behavior may indicate their likelihood of dropping off.

According to a recent report by Business Insider, there’s a clear correlation between the number of sessions a user engages in within the first 30 days of installing an app and the likelihood that the user will continue use of the app in future months.

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From this data, a user who uses an app once every three days during the first month is 3 times more likely to keep using the app going forward than a user who uses the app only once. A user who uses the app just 5 times during the inaugural month is 50% more likely to stick around than someone who uses the app only twice.

Granted, this information is logical:  the more a user uses an app, the more apt they are to keep using it. However, with this data, it becomes easier segment users for re-engagement campaigns with in-app and push messaging. According to the data reported by Business Insider, users who are targeted with triggered in-app messaging will launch an app 27% more frequently than users who don’t receive the same messages. This can translate into a 5 point lift in retention using the above model.

Similarly, the report noted that 65% of users who opt in for push notifications are likely to continue use of an app beyond the first 30 days. Meanwhile, only 19% of users who do not receive push notifications are likely to continue app usage.

So, what does this mean for mobile app publishers? First, pay attention to the session behavior of your users in the first few days after an install. From this data, segment users, targeting those most at risk of disengaging with in-app messages. Where appropriate, leverage push notifications to drive users back to the app with special offers and limited time events.

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