Keep users loyal with your app: 5 proven tips

Every app owner dreams about thousands of downloads. After all, the number of app users can tell a lot about how successful is your app, and how much money will you earn on it. But users are like friends – if you don’t care about them, they just leave. No wonder, acquiring new users is just one side of the coin. The other is keeping them.

23% of users abandon an app after one use, 30% uninstall it within the first 10 minutes after download, and 8-9 out of 10 – quite soon after download. Terrible, isn’t it?

But don’t lose your heart! If you put the real effort in building your own app and make sure that its design and user experience positively surprise your first-time user, you are on the right track. In fact, keeping users is 6 times less expensive than acquiring them and they are easier to deal with as they have already bought into your concept.
Value of an existing customer

Source: Helpshift

So how to keep your app users loyal? Here are 7 great tips!

1. First impression matters – logging in

So your potential user has already found your app in an app store (check these great ASO tips) or was redirected to it from your marketing channels? Great! Don’t miss that. Just as with love at first sight, once a user download the app, they will either love it or throw it away. But first, they have to have a chance to catch a glimpse of it at all.

That’s why you should begin with a good log-in screen. And good in this example means simple and not overloaded. Allowing to log in with Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and who knows what else in a single screen is not a good idea. Although you may think you make it more convenient for a user to log in by providing them with as many options as possible, in fact, just the opposite is what really works. Why? According to psychological research, it’s because people just don’t want to have too big a choice as it is getting more and more difficult to make a decision then.

So how to design a good logging in screen? One or two options plus remembering the password is ideal. Users will be able to choose between leaving an email address or choosing a social media log-in (most commonly Facebook). But at the same time they won’t need to type in the password every time – which will make coming back to your app an effortless experience.
Running League

An example of intuitive and not overcomplicated logging-in screen design – our app Running League

2. Keep it simple – create a good tutorial

Although some people like exploring new apps, most users expect a tutorial, especially if an app is a sophisticated one. But creating a 20-screen manual with a lot of text to read is certainly not a good solution. So how to prepare a tutorial which encourages and keeps the user? Follow the guidelines below.

  • Use less text
    People don’t want to read elaborates. They use apps on small screens and long reading just change all the fun of exploring new app into an annoying chore.
  • Don’t frontload
    Don’t show everything at the beginning. You’ll bore users and kill their engagement. Instead, provide the information in short, easily digestible chunks, telling about the basic features of the app (3-5 is a max). If you feel that any feature requires additional instructions, wait till the users choses it and give additional information then.
  • Enable skipping it
    There are people who don’t like tutorials so why to make them read one? Include an option to skip the app presentation easily, but if your app is very sophisticated, make sure users can easily find the tutorial somewhere within the app in case they want to come back to it.


Want more tutorial tips? Check out this article.

3. Marketing automation

Although you’ve chosen your target group at the beginning of app development process, you have to remember that every person’s situation different. You can have a perfectly-tailored message but in marketing not only ‘who’ and ‘what’ are what matter. In fact, another crucial thing is ‘when’. And that’s where marketing automation comes in.

What exactly will marketing automation help you with? You will be able to:

  • Collect and store information about users,
  • Further segment your users,
  • Set triggers for your messages with users,
  • Get reports and improve your work.


Learn more about contextual marketing here.

So when exactly to communicate with users? The best ‘when’ for interacting with your users is after they complete an in-app event. When you have their undivided attention, sending additional information or promoting further activity will generate better benefits and create better user engagement.

Want a great review in an app store? After an in-app success – that’s also a perfect timing for asking for a review. A user will be happy because of what he’s just achieved and more willing to leave a positive feedback.

4. Gamification in apps

Mobile applications are usually perceived like a small, useful pieces of software that should be fun to use. So unless your app is a corporate or business one, you will benefit greatly from implementing parts of gamification in it.

Even if your app is not a game, it is always good to offer rewards for certain in-app achievements and set goals users will be eager to achieve. Mobile specific rewards, specialized content access, coupons, special promotions, and other offers will help drive conversions and encourage engagement.

Obviously, the ways you can incentivize users will depend on the type of the app. For example, if you chose in-app purchasing as a monetization model, your app will benefit from time-sensitive discounts, whereas freemium apps can incentivize users by providing usage-based rewards.

5. Push notifications

OK, but what if a user closes an app? He hasn’t delated it yet but stopped using it and seems to forget all about its existence? Leanplum’s report, based on over 200 apps, found that just by sending push notifications, user retention could increase by amazing 100%.
App retention

Of course, push notifications can either attract or discourage users. So how to do it right? Here are 5 basic rules:

1. Stay relevant and contextual
Push notifications should be connected directly with your marketing automation program as the best way to attract user’s attention is to personalize a message so that it is relevant especially for him.

2. Create exciting and spontaneous messages
Push notifications are not a newsletter – nothing a user can expect. Instead, they work best if they are some kind of a surprise to a user.

3. Offer something valuable
Think of push notifications as of an ad campaign – it should offer something your users need. Offer a discount or a unique feature and you will attract their attention.

4. Present clear instructions and accurate details
Don’t mislead users. Incorrect information or cheating could result in mistrust and high volume uninstalls.

5. Create an effortless workflow
Make sure your message works just right from a technical point of view. Nothing is as annoying as a push notification which leads you somewhere else than it is supposed to.

Key takeaway

Push notifications, gamification elements, and contextual marketing are proven ways to keep your users loyal to your app. As with any marketing tool, use them with care and don’t overload your users with thousands of reminders and they will stay with you for a long time, generating you stable app revenue.

Do you want to get to know more app marketing tactics? Check our expert ebook on user generation and reach one million app downloads.

Katarzyna Lorenc
Marketing Specialist

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