User Retention: 5 Ways To Optimize



With competition for user acquisition becoming more fierce by the day, app publishers need to find a way to keep any new users from opting out of their app experience. More than 80% of users report removing an app from their device after only one use!  It is more important than ever for app developers to make a powerful first impression and . Below are 5 things ways publishers can master the art of the first impression:


It can be tempting to ask a user to register with your app before they use it. This way, you’ll be able to gather information about them which will be used to personalize their experience or to bolster your marketing efforts. However, many users are skeptical of an app that makes them give personal information before they know anything about it. To engage these users, consider delaying the registration process until a) they want to access a specific part of your app reserved for registered customers only or b) they open your app for the second time.

Similarly, if you integrate social media into your login process, allow users the option of registering without integrating their social media profiles. Not everyone wants to share their social data with third-party apps or broadcast their  non-social activities constantly with their social networks.

Long input forms

Requiring a user to enter information into 10 input fields will have a negative impact on any user experience. Focus on the simple, straightforward information: name, email, age, gender, or location. Depending on the device, there is really only enough room for 2-4 input fields without the user needing to scroll down. Limiting the input forms, or splitting them over multiple screens eliminate the need for the user to scroll down the page or zoom in to read tiny text.

Load time

The longer the load time, the more negative the user experience.

This is where effective testing comes in. If you are an Android developer, test on all different device types and operating system versions, from flagship phones to mid-level, budget phones.

Apple developers have an easier time than Android devs because all new apps must support iOS 9, but iOS devs should still test their apps on older iPhone/iPad models to make sure there are no major issues.

Keep your app’s file size as small as possible, and limit the number of processes your app runs in the background. App crashes, app freezes, and slow launch time are consistently listed as three of the top reasons why users uninstall an app.


App design trends over the past couple of years or so have heavily favored simple, cleanly designed apps. Even if you are not partial to the flat design trend, you can still takes steps to simplify.

If you aren’t sure where to start, try stripping your app of everything but the bare essentials. Reduce the number of tabs and screens. Excess fields and pages only add complexity to the user experience. Ask yourself: does my user really need this feature to interact with my app?

Still not sure if you app is simple enough? Do a quick test. Can you perform all of the basic, necessary functions in your app with only your thumb?

Consider the Facebook app for Android, for example. Every important action can be performed on from the first screen. All buttons are at the top of the screen. Two menus are accessible via a left swipe and a right swipe.

No Over-Tapping

How many taps of the finger does it take for a user to complete an action in your app? 10? 20? 50? Each swipe, tap, or pinch is an integral part of the user experience. Every possible tap should help the user make some progress in your app. Allow the user to get what they want through very little effort.

This tip is especially important for non-gaming developers. Let’s say that you have a music streaming app and the user wants to listen to a playlist of their favorite artist’s songs. How many times does a user have to tap the screen to reach their favorite artist? First, they would tap on a search bar. After typing, they would tap to submit their search. Does your app take them right to their artist’s page? Or does it redirect to a search results page where the user must tap again on their artist’s name in order to reach their page? Once they are on the page, is a play button at the top of the screen?  Imagine they visit your app for a second time, looking for the same artist. Is their previous search already saved for them, or do they have to go through the search process again?

It may seem trivial, but speed and mobile go hand in hand. Little things like this can significantly improve the user experience.

The mobile app market is shifting away from bulk user acquisition and transitioning into providing top-tier user experiences to existing users. It may seem counter-intuitive for app developers who are struggling to add users, but when you provide a near-perfect app to your current users, word will spread quickly enough.

Share Article

Back to Blog