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Mobile User Retention: Relative Rates by App Category

Posted Mar 1, 2016

While mobile user retention remains a key focal point for many app marketers, studies in the field are often limited to the short term. Typically, retention is studied at the day and week level, with 7 and 10 day retention serving as the pillars for comparison. However, recent data released by Business Insider examines the relative retention rates of several major app categories over the course of two years.

Mobile User Retention Rates by App Category

From this data, it is evident that publishers of news & magazine style apps fare the best at retaining users for the long haul. In fact, 78% of users who still have a news app after 30 days are likely to keep an app installed up to 2 years later. Communication apps similarly fare well at user retention, holding on to 73% of established users for 2 years.

So why do news and communication apps fare better than the rest at retaining users? At the end of the day, users rely on mobile for information gathering and communicating. The apps that provide these services are most apt to be kept. Conversely, as social apps regularly fall in and out of favor, their retention rates are notably lower.

Granted, user retention does not equate to user engagement. Apps that are installed and kept for long periods of time may still be covered in the cobwebs of a nested folder, somewhat forgotten yet not abandoned. To re-engage these users before they inevitably uninstall, the publisher must encourage the users to open the app, whether this is done through a push notification or other means.

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