Alpha Software Blog

How to Fix Mobile Apps' Number One Problem -- Low Retention Rates

There's a dirty little secret about mobile apps that many businesses don't talk about: The retention problem. It's hard enough to get people to download your app. But it may be even tougher to get them to keep using it after they've used it for the first time --- and that's the biggest problem your app faces. A study by Localytics shows that 2015 was a reasonable year for overall app retention, although it lagged well behind 2012. The study found that in 2015, in 18% of apps, users were still using it within three months of the first time they opened  it. That compares to 24% for 2012, 18% for 2013, 16% for 2014, and 18% for 2015. This should be sobering news, because it means that even in the best year, on average only one in four people were loyal to any one app. How to Increase Mobile App Retention Not all the news is bad, though: There are things you can do to improve your app's retention rate. Annaliese Henwood, writing in the Stuzo blog, ( outlines the major five reasons retention rates are low:
  • Your app doesn't provide a valuable experience. It may have too many features, but lack a core, coherent purpose, for example.
  • Your app isn't reliable and efficient. It may crash, load slowly, or require a login before offering any value.
  • Your app invades user privacy. It may ask for unnecessary permissions and gather too much personal data.
  • Your UX design is poor. It may require that too many steps be taken to accomplish common tasks.
  • Your app isn't customer-focused, and doesn't address important user issues.
So what to do? She says you need to examine each of the five issues, and make sure each are addressed. Start with the basics: Make sure your app is free of bugs and offers high performance. Trim its feature set and make sure it addresses the most basic thing your users want. Offer value without requiring registration. Only ask for permissions when absolutely necessary, and even then, explains why the app needs them. And fine-tune the interface so that it's as simple to use as possible. Henwood has more advice as well. Read her full blog post. Read Alpha Software's survey results that identify the top 10 end-user features for highly adopted and used mobile apps.
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About Author

Amy Groden-Morrison
Amy Groden-Morrison

Amy Groden-Morrison has served more than 15 years in marketing communications leadership roles at companies such as TIBCO Software, RSA Security and Ziff-Davis. Most recently she was responsible for developing marketing programs that helped achieve 30%+ annual growth rate for analytics products at a $1Bil, NASDAQ-listed business integration Software Company. Her past accomplishments include establishing the first co-branded technology program with CNN, launching an events company on the NYSE, rebranding a NASDAQ-listed company amid a crisis, and positioning and marketing a Boston-area startup for successful acquisition. Amy currently serves as a Healthbox Accelerator Program Mentor, Marketing Committee Lead for the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Launch Smart Clinics, and on the organizing team for Boston TechJam. She holds an MBA from Northeastern University.

The Alpha platform is the only unified mobile and web app development and deployment environment with distinct “no-code” and “low-code” components. Using the Alpha TransForm no-code product, business users and developers can take full advantage of all the capabilities of the smartphone to turn any form into a mobile app in minutes, and power users can add advanced app functionality with Alpha TransForm's built-in programming language. IT developers can use the Alpha Anywhere low-code environment to develop complex web or mobile business apps from scratch, integrate data with existing systems of record and workflows (including data collected via Alpha TransForm), and add additional security or authentication requirements to protect corporate data.