How to Maximize User Retention for Your Mobile App

How to Maximize User Retention for Your Mobile App

Posted on November 12, 2014 0 Comments

User retention is key for lasting app success

User retention is key for lasting app success

User retention has been identified as being the key to lasting success for mobile apps. Retention Science has raised $7M in fresh funding to help major retailers retain customers in the new marketplace driven by e-commerce. These same principles apply to all mobile apps, where competition can be just as fierce.

Successful retailers already understand the importance of creating loyal customers, but the traditional methods they use are not typically relevant or effective in the emerging corporate mobile app marketplace.

By utilizing the Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery method, your organization can maximize user retention for your mobile app by providing meaningful functionality (extending existing business practices) for the audience you are targeting while increasing the overall lifetime value of your project.

Understanding the Software as a Service (SaaS) Delivery Method

Often referred to as “on-demand software,” SaaS relies on a centralized hosting model to deliver access to business-critical applications. While this is not a new approach to application distribution, the advent of mobile apps provides SaaS with the opportunity to more easily extend existing software functionality to your entire organization (independent of geographical location). SaaS can be used with your customer relationship management system (CRM), management information system (MIS), human resource management system (HRM), content management system (CM), and service desk management system.

SaaS excels at reducing your total cost of ownership (TCO) as it pertains to IT-related solutions, offering the ability to outsource hardware and software expertise; engaging an architecture that understands the need for security, stability, and ease of configuration and maintenance.

Using SaaS, your organization can use mobile apps as a sort of portal for your team (and potentially your clients) into your well-established business applications and workflow processes. 

Mobile App Hours of Operation are Different

Your mobile app is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Because time of day no longer matters, maintenance procedures requiring downtime, such as updating inventory details overnight, should be avoided.

Many characteristics of SaaS can make these maintenance windows easier to plan for, with architecture options available that offer redundancy if need be (or synchronizing with existing procedures at a minimum).

Identify the Users of Your Mobile App

You can expect that nearly everybody owns a mobile device, but unless you provide hardware for everybody within your organization (or clients, in some cases), you should assume that they use a variety of devices.

While it is true that you can limit your support of certain devices by not making your mobile app available across multiple platforms, this is the technological equivalent of locking the front doors to a brick and mortar store for customers that drive particular vehicle makes and models.

It is helpful to understand exactly who will be accessing your mobile app, at what times, and for what purposes. While it may seem like a lot of legwork to begin with, it may mean not impairing the productivity of your overseas sales team that will be on site with clients during your regularly scheduled maintenance windows.

Geography is History

“Location, location, location,” no longer matters. Mobile apps bridge the physical gap between your users and the software applications you need them to embrace; being able to walk through your office building’s front door is no longer an advantage in the modern corporate world.

Don’t Forget to Market Your Mobile App

You have built the app, but you still have to convince users to install it (and keep it installed) by demonstrating continued value—even if your app is only deployed internally.

As you develop your mobile marketing campaign, consider the following tips and tricks:

  • Leverage existing brand recognition by using familiar logos and graphical elements.
  • Turn to social media, engaging services like your corporate Intranet to help users understand the functionality and features your mobile app provides.
  • Make calls to action clear and decisive: submit your timesheet, update client records, submit a trouble ticket, or check your email.

Providing Support to the Mobile User

Taking care of your users is more important than ever, but how do you accomplish this when offering support through a mobile app can mean needing to be a little psychic?

It may sound daunting, but good customer service (even for internal team members) is easier than you think:

  • Answer questions before they are asked. Consider tutorials, frequently asked questions (FAQ) lists, and glossaries of terms.
  • Phase in the use of your new mobile app. Your users are already overwhelmed by their workloads and may be hesitant to change their routines. Consider offering incentives to early adopters.
  • Add personal touches that make your users feel important while increasing confidence in the system: address everybody by name whenever possible, make suggestions based on past use of the app, and use geographical location to refine search results.

Find Your Competitive Advantage

Several strategies exist for positioning yourself above your competition by using your mobile app. Top among these is finding the reasons your clients are already choosing you, and ensuring your mobile app lends support to those established and successful business practices.

Analyze Your Mobile App and Evolve

According to Retention Science co-founder Jerry Jao, analyzing historical and real-time marketing and customer engagement data provides a unique opportunity to identify priorities and tailor ongoing mobile app marketing efforts. Says Jao:

“We help companies preserve their margins by not offering unnecessary discounts to happy customers, but also by offering the right promotion to the right person at the right time to incentivize a desired action.”

While Jao is speaking directly to organizations creating apps to generate additional retail sales opportunities, the premise is just as valid in other scenarios. Mobile apps are constantly evolving: listen to the feedback provided by your users and consider additional functionality and features that could be added (or removed in certain cases).


Your organization has already made a sizable investment into a software ecosystem, not to mention the time spent developing and fine tuning successful business practices and workflows. Leverage the power of SaaS to not only extend your existing IT infrastructure, but to do it in such a way that your users are delighted to add your mobile app to their toolkit.

Michelle Tackabery

An experienced content and social media marketing professional, Michelle writes frequently about the practical applications of information technology.


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