Growth 11 min read  - June 7, 2023

Decrease Churn Rate - Strategies to boost your mobile retention

The power to transform your game's user retention strategies, delve deep into user behavior analysis, and explored innovative ad monetization techniques... lies at your fingertips.

Understanding the intricacies of user behavior, churn causes, and lifetime value is not just theoretical but a functional reality. This is the era of data-driven user engagement strategies and refined ad monetization.

Appodeal empowers you with robust tools for understanding your user metrics, monetizing your mobile apps, and boosting users’ LTV (LifeTime Value). In this article, we're going to explore actionable insights that can have a transformative impact on your app's success and profitability.

Our intention? To spark curiosity and arm you with knowledge.

We have crafted this comprehensive guide with real-life scenarios, insights, and tools to assist you in maximizing your game's user retention and ad revenues. Ready to dive in?

Table of Contents

  1. Retention & Engagement still matters
  2. Calculate the Retention Rate of your mobile game
  3. Find out what makes your users churn
  4. Control your Ad Quality to prevent user churn
  5. Activating & Onboarding users: the key for a long-term Retention
  6. Retargeting campaigns to avoid User Churn
  7. Re Engage your users with Rewards and Incentives
  8. Use your Historical Data & Monitor your metrics
  9. Now is the time to boost your Retention Metrics
Holiday Season Mobile In-App Ad eCPM Report '23

1. Retention & Engagement still matters

In the dynamic app development world, user retention and engagement remain essential. Retention rates, representing the percentage of users who continue using an app over a set time, are vital to user satisfaction, engagement, and the app's revenue potential.

High retention rates mean users find the app valuable, leading to long-term usage and a stronger user base. This focus on retention helps developers build durable products and secure a competitive edge.

Key benefits of retention rates

  • Monetization: High retention increases the likelihood of in-app purchases and ad engagement, leading to steady revenue streams.
  • User Acquisition: High retention reduces the need for expensive user acquisition efforts.
  • Product Development: Analyzing retention rates helps app developers and game studios improve their products based on user feedback and behavior.

LifeTime Value (LTV): A crucial metric

LTV is vital for game studios and app developers as it shows the value a user adds over their lifetime engagement with the app. It helps developers identify their most valuable users and tailor their strategies accordingly to maximize revenue and profitability.

For game developers, LTV calculates the revenue a user generates throughout their engagement with the game. Non-game app developers, especially those with subscription-based apps, use LTV to optimize their subscription models and pricing strategies.

Focusing on retention rates and understanding LTV provide valuable insights for app developers to succeed in the competitive mobile app market.

2. Calculate the Retention Rate of your mobile game

Understanding the retention rate of your mobile game is crucial to assessing user engagement and satisfaction. Here’s a simplified way to calculate it:

Steps to Calculate Retention Rates

  1. Choose a time interval (daily, weekly, monthly, etc).
  2. Select a cohort of users, e.g., those who installed the game within a certain timeframe.
  3. Determine the duration for measuring retention within the chosen cohort.
  4. Divide the number of active users within the specified retention period by the total number of users in the initial cohort.
  5. Repeat the calculation for each period within the desired timeframe for continuous tracking.

Simple Formula & Cohort analysis

Retention rate = users retained at end of period / Total users at the start of the period

While the simple formula gives a general view, comparing the evolution of retention for the same cohorts gives a more nuanced understanding. Different users downloading your game at different times may have varying experiences due to changes in the product, onboarding process, pricing, etc.

And here's two other calculations that may be of interest to you:

  • Aggregate Retention Rate = MAU (Monthly Active Users) / Installs
  • Cohort Analysis Retention Rate = Users retained at the end of time period / Installs at start of the time period

Formulas vs. Cohorts

The retention rate reveals growth trends and potential revenue, showing the 'stickiness' of your game. It's more insightful than merely counting downloads or acquisitions. 

However, only tracking the aggregate retention rate may obscure the current trend. Cohort analysis, which compares retention rates by specific time periods, allows for a more accurate understanding of user behavior and retention trends.

Holiday Season Mobile In-App Ad eCPM Report '23

3. Find out what makes your users churn

Understanding the motivations and behaviors of your user base is crucial for your app's growth. This includes not just pinpointing what drives user engagement but also uncovering the reasons why users might stop using your app or churn. 

Delving into User Drop-off Causes

Increasing the number of users who complete all the steps in your activation funnel is a key objective. To achieve this, it's essential to understand why users drop off in the first place and eliminate those friction points.

Appodeal provides a "funnels" feature that reveals the routes leading users to drop off. These pathways are labeled with the percentage of users following them, enabling the identification of common drop-off points.

For example, you may notice a significant user drop-off when multiple ads are shown in your app. This insight is valuable as it indicates a possible area for improvement to retain more users.

Activating New Users & Identifying Conversion Drivers

Another perspective on drop-off can be obtained by looking at conversion drivers. 

For instance, Appodeal might reveal that the "View Ads" step in the onboarding flow is a point of contention for userse. This could suggest that user experience during this step needs to be optimized.

In conclusion, identifying what your users love and what causes them to churn is a process that requires continuous monitoring and optimization. Using tools like Appodeal, you can understand user behavior more effectively and create an app experience that keeps users engaged and reduces churn.

4. Control your Ad Quality to prevent user churn

As we delve further into our topic, let's discuss an aspect crucial to user retention: managing ad quality. The mobile gaming landscape has shifted significantly over time, with In-App Advertising (IAA) transitioning from a hot-button issue to a crucial part of monetization strategies.

Effective ad technology plays a vital role in this endeavor by offering the necessary data to customize high-quality ads that align with user interests, thereby minimizing any potential disruption to the user experience.

The Ideal Scenario: What does “Great” Ad Strategy Look Like?

A successful ad strategy is characterized by transparent access to vital monetization data and user-friendly, high-performing ad templates. Publishers need ad data that reveals who's buying their ad inventory, the costs involved, and access to various demand sources. Additionally, understanding user interactions with these ads can provide valuable insights to identify why certain ads might lead users to discontinue playing the game.

Publishers can make informed decisions by enhancing transparency in the ecosystem and sharing all available data. They can pinpoint which demand sources and advertisers are linked to decreases in retention and modify their strategies accordingly.

Tools and Techniques for Better Ad Monetization

To effectively enhance ad monetization, publishers need access to transparent data that allows them to identify and isolate poor ad experiences. Additionally, they need tools to act upon this data to maximize game revenues.

Full control over your ad monetization allows you to identify problematic ad experiences, trace their origin, and analyze their impact on key game metrics such as churn, retention, engagement, and revenue.

By identifying these issues on a user-level basis, as a publisher, you can tie the negative ad experience to the behavioral and revenue impact on that particular group of users. This prevents the recurrence of these experiences for the affected user by removing the problematic channel or specific advertisement, thus preventing them from abandoning the game altogether.

5. Activating & Onboarding users: the key to a long-term Retention

Fostering lasting user engagement hinges heavily on two critical components: activating users effectively and delivering an outstanding onboarding experience. If you're building for enduring user retention, these two aspects of your product funnel can't be overlooked.

Activation: A Cornerstone of Retention

A powerful activation strategy acts as the gateway to your product's potential. Without successfully introducing new users to the unique value of your product in a timely manner, overall retention is at risk. A product might be unparalleled in functionality, but long-term retention may suffer if activation doesn't happen effectively and quickly. By enhancing activation rates, you're fueling your product's growth engine.

Deciphering the phases of new user activation is key to designing a potent activation journey. With tools like Appodeal, you can track activation events and provide an understanding of the journey users take during activation.

Appodeal gives us valuable insight into our conversion rate at each funnel stage. It allows us to determine what percentage of users move forward from each previous step, the overall conversion rate of the activation funnel, and the average time users spend at each stage.

Designing an Exceptional Onboarding Journey

Designing a top-tier onboarding experience demands a thoughtful approach to several key elements. These factors are instrumental in boosting user retention, engagement, and satisfaction:

  1. Simplicity is key: Make your content clear, concise, and user-friendly to help users understand your app’s features.
  2. Get the users involved: Provide interactive and engaging activities to retain users' interest during onboarding. Highlight the most important features and actions users must perform during their initial interaction.
  3. Offer content that matters to your users: Clearly communicate the app’s purpose and benefits to encourage users to delve deeper. Prioritize introducing the key features and benefits that are most valuable and relevant to users.
  4. Be User-friendly & data transparent: CBe upfront about the onboarding process and data collection methods to foster trust and understanding.
  5. Relatable Communication: Use an eye-level tone of voice for clear, relatable, and user-friendly communication. Use animations to make onboarding more engaging and intuitive, thereby enhancing the user experience.

The Power of a Well-designed Onboarding Experience

Your onboarding experience's design significantly influences your app's success trajectory. Here's why:

  1. User Retention & Orientation: A well-crafted onboarding experience helps users understand the app's value and benefits, increasing engagement and retention. Which is our major goal for this article.
  2. First Impressions: The initial interaction with an app leaves a lasting impression. A seamless and engaging onboarding process can significantly enhance user experience, thereby encouraging continued usage.
  3. Lower Abandonment Rates: Users who face confusion or frustration during the initial interaction are more likely to abandon the app. Effective onboarding reduces this risk.
  4. Reduced Support Costs: A proper onboarding process reduces the likelihood of issues arising that require customer support, resulting in cost savings.
Holiday Season Mobile In-App Ad eCPM Report '23

6. Retargeting campaigns to avoid User Churn

In our journey to tackle user churn, we focus on retargeting campaigns. Retargeting refers to re-engaging users who've previously interacted with your app.

The Benefits of Retargeting

Retargeting holds a basket of benefits. It zooms in on users already acquainted with your app's value, negating the need for initial education. This increased familiarity often leads to continued app use. Additionally, retargeting cuts acquisition costs by focusing on users more likely to re-engage, making it a cost-effective approach compared to sourcing new users.

Retargeting mainly targets users who've previously installed the app, those who've downloaded the app on a different device, and inactive users. By reminding them of your app's value, retargeting boosts reactivation rates and drives downloads, potentially leading to higher ROAS and LTV.

Best Practices for Retargeting Campaigns

Crafting successful retargeting campaigns entails personalized messaging and relevant incentives. Highlight app updates or new features that may interest returning users. Utilize A/B testing to optimize your campaigns and set clear, measurable goals.

Track metrics like CTR and conversion rate, and monitor retention and revenue for a comprehensive view of your campaign's performance. And don't forget about the lifetime value of your users – it's a significant guide for ad spend allocation.

Note that returning users may have already completed actions like subscribing or purchasing. Hence, if your KPI targets unique events, returning users might not trigger them, skewing your performance metrics. Therefore, revenue should be your key growth metric, offering a more holistic perspective of your campaign's success.

7. Re-Engage your users with Rewards and Incentives

With a strategic and generous approach to rewarding your users, you'll retain existing users and transform them into brand advocates. Here's how you can harness the power of rewards to drive user engagement and loyalty.

Deploy Strategic, Timely Rewards

Encourage habitual app use with well-timed rewards that hold true value for your users. Daily challenges and trophies add an enticing element in gaming apps, while in retail apps, time-limited discounts or gifts could make all the difference. Consider offering rewards for consecutive daily logins, much like a loyalty "streak". Such incentives remind users of the advantages they stand to lose by churning.

Celebrate User Milestones

People love to be acknowledged. Use Appodeal's automated reward triggers to celebrate users' milestones. A little gift goes a long way, be it a birthday, an app-usage anniversary, or a significant achievement within the app. This keeps your brand relevant and creates a warm, personal bond with the user.

Keep Users in the Loop

If your app uses a tiered reward system, ensure your users know their current status and the rewards they stand to gain. Notifying users of their proximity to the next reward tier or any pending rewards could catalyze further app engagement. Make use of Appodeal's powerful data analytics to offer personalized reminders.

Reward User Feedback

Promote a culture of open dialogue with your user base. Encourage them to share feedback by offering rewards or incentives. This re-engages them and offers invaluable insights into their needs and preferences, thus enabling proactive churn management.

Entice Users with Exclusive Trials and Offers

Roll out exclusive, time-sensitive discounts or trials of premium features to select users. This creates a sense of exclusivity and urgency that could encourage dormant users to return and engage with your app. The key is to make the reward redemption process straightforward and user-friendly.

Host Free Events

Foster community spirit by inviting your users to free events like webinars, product launches, or networking meetups. Such events provide an opportunity to reacquaint dormant users with your brand while simultaneously strengthening relationships with active users.

Holiday Season Mobile In-App Ad eCPM Report '23

8. Use your Historical Data & Monitor your metrics

Your gathered historical data is the compass that guides your journey. Here's how to leverage your data, key metrics, and a reliable platform like Appodeal to enhance your marketing prowess.

Decoding User Behavior to Counteract Churn

Decoding your users' behavior is instrumental in combating churn. With Appodeal, you can identify trends that may lead to app uninstalls and nip these issues in the bud to retain users effectively. As an extension of this, personalized interaction becomes key. Avoid blasting users with generic messages; tailor messages to each user's context for enhanced engagement and satisfaction.

Handling large-scale user behavior tracking and personalized messaging is a demanding task. Thus, you need a robust platform to swiftly manage millions of personalized messages. With Appodeal, you can do just that, ensuring your user engagement strategy is efficient and scalable.

Employing Historical Data for User Conversion

Using Appodeal also allows you to monitor the conversion of resurrected users. You can measure your re-engagement campaigns' success by comparing this metric with your dormant users' total count. Plus, it offers insights to identify roadblocks causing user drop-offs and opportunities for improvement. These insights guide you in adjusting your product to boost retention.

Unraveling your users' feature usage patterns can provide valuable insights into retention rates. A deeper understanding of how the frequency of use for specific features impacts retention can guide you in making decisions that boost user engagement.

Knowing your power users and the features they use, most is crucial for building effective engagement strategies. Appodeal's retention analysis tool aids in identifying these power users and understanding what makes your product appealing to them.

Tracking your top mobile app & game Metrics

Lastly, keep track of essential mobile game metrics such as DAU, MAU, ARPU, retention rate, LTV, session length, churn rate, CAC, virality coefficient, conversion rate, time to first purchase, app store ratings, reviews, engagement metrics, and network performance. 

These metrics, though varying in relevance based on your game type, target audience, and monetization model, provide a comprehensive picture of your game's performance and user experience, assisting you in optimizing your game and marketing strategies.

9. Now is the time to boost your Retention Metrics

We've navigated the maze of retention strategies, delved deep into user behavior analysis, and explored innovative ad monetization techniques. 

The power to transform your game's user retention and ad revenue lies at your fingertips. With our cutting-edge mobile growth platform, we can unlock growth opportunities that have remained hidden till now. Appodeal is here to equip you with more than just theoretical knowledge; it's here to provide you with an all-in-one growth platform for your mobile app business.

In-app bidding, hybrid monetization models, enhanced eCPM, and improved ARPDAU are no longer elusive concepts. Appodeal has already opened the doors for thousands of app creators and developers to leverage these powerful strategies.

Step into the future of the mobile gaming industry. Start your journey with Appodeal today, and turn your apps into top-earning hits.

Holiday Season Mobile In-App Ad eCPM Report '23
Marc Llobet
Product Marketing & Growth @ Appodeal
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