Let the facts speak for themselves: a 5% increase in user retention leads to increase profits by more than 25% (Source).

The reason behind these numbers is that return customers tend to interact more over time with a trusted company. Plus, they’re willing to pay a premium price to continue to be part of the business. Rule number 1: make your users feel understood, so that they won’t be interested in switching to a competitor they’re not familiar with.

Let’s deepen what user retention is and why you should invest in it.

What’s user retention?

In general terms, retention indicates all the activities a company implements to retain its customers. The issue may seem easy, but it’s not at all. If a company can retain its customers, it means that they’ll tend to continue interacting with the company over time.

The same is for user retention. In the simplest sense, user retention is about keeping people coming back to your digital product (app, website, e-commerce, blog, etc).

User retention involves building a relationship with all the users you’ve acquired and showing them that you care ❤️

Retention is the act of getting people to use your digital product in such a way that it becomes habitual. But be careful! When you’re considering the overall retention of a certain digital product, you also have to accurately define what counts as use. Of course, it depends on your product: it could be a login, a visit to the blog, or another specific action. It’s up to you to define what you want to track.

Why should you do anything to retain your users? Don’t you think it’s easier to convince actual customers to make a purchase rather than new ones? As you know, acquiring new customers is much more expensive than keeping the ones you already have. Indeed, you don’t need a costly process to convert potential leads. Your loyal customers just require a small nudge to keep them engaging with you. What’s more?

More retention 🔗 = Positive word-of-mouth 💬

How to Measure User Retention?

  1. Define a relevant period. For example, if you have a mobile app, you could be interested in tracking what goes on within the first 48h after users have downloaded your app. This is the most important time to hook them on the app
  2. Define the number of users you have at the beginning of the period (B)
  3. Define the number of users you have at the end of the period (E).
  4. Subtract the number of users at the beginning of the period from the number of users at the end of the period to find the gain users (G)
  5. Measure the Retention Rate (RR)

Good or bad retention?

The secret sauce to improve your user retention is to level off the curve as fast as you can at the highest percentage of acquired users. How to do that? Step by step.

How to Improve User Retention?

1. Implement an effective onboarding strategy

You know when you meet a person and have a first sight impression? That’s the same with a product or brand. That’s why you should invest in a great onboarding experience, allowing you to win new users! Here you are some tips for a successful onboarding strategy:

  • A warm welcome is the key. Display a welcome in-app message for a personalized first-time user experience, and follow up with a welcome email within 24 hours. Even better if you customize and personalize the onboarding for your users. They’ll be more engaged.
  • Send reminders, but don’t be pushy. Try to bring them back to the app frequently to show value early and often.
  • Go omnichannel. Users interact with you through plenty of digital touchpoints. Try to engage new users with a mix of them: emails, push notifications, and in-app messages to make an impact on user experience. Would you like to know more about omnichannel strategy? Read this article!
  • Request valuable information. During the onboarding process, remember to ask ONLY for information that will help you create a custom user experience.

2. Engage with potential customers regularly

  • Use personal and timely push notifications, in-app messages, and even emails to reach users.
  • Leverage your users’ name, location, in-app behavior, and everything you know about them to customize your messaging and make them feel special. This article about push notifications’ best practices may help you!
  • Create a customized user experience. Users expect digital products to proactively deliver a personalized experience, and their expectations are never the same! Try to keep them expecting more over time. To improve users experience, integrate relevant recommendations into your overall engagement strategy. As usual, I’m talking about push notifications, in-app messages, messages, and emails.

3. Use Email marketing

Have you ever thought about email marketing to retain and engage your users? The best example of this engagement strategy is Fitbit, the famous American company known for its fitness tracker. Fitbit sends a weekly report on users’ progress, giving them an incentive to continue using the app and the tracker.

Drip campaigns are a classic example of email marketing. They basically involve sending users pre-written emails at preselected intervals. You can use a drip campaign to introduce potential customers to your product, share influencers’ review, give users case studies or other inspirational reasons to buy your product, and keep users engaged. Every email sent is a chance to bring them back to your product and retain them.

4. Take advantage of social media

Globally, the average time a person spends on social media is 2 hours 24 minutes a day (Source).

Apart from posting engaging content regularly on channels like Facebook, you can also use retargeting ads to re-engage your users. You can also experiment with chatbots. It’s also possible to enable social sharing contents of your digital product, making users’ profile an advertising tool in itself. Word-of-mouth marketing and brand exposure, all done with simple sharing!

Remember not to overdo promotions and adv messages. Keep your users interested and motivated. The more they see you on the platforms they’re active on, the more likely they are to come back to your digital products.


Don’t take your users for granted: Make Them Happy! All retention comes down to one thing: happiness. If people are happy with your products/services, they’ll become habitual users. If people are unhappy, let’s be honest, you won’t retain them. Don’t overthink retention. Just make people happy with your product.

Giving them a bit of attention makes them more likely to keep using your app and not forget about you or go somewhere else.

Hope that this article helped you to understand the importance of user retention!

… and NOW? 🤔

Put into practice everything we said and start engaging and retaining your users day by day! Have a look at our Engagement Platform, a specific tool to send push notifications and in-app messages to users to boost your business. Find out the key moments to get in touch with your users and create a strong human connection.