Reduce App Churn Rate With These 4 Churnbusters


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Churn. Every mobile app owner’s dread. There’s the soft bounce – people who stop using your app after some time and become ‘dormant’ – and then there’s the doom and gloom of uninstalls. 30% of your users will never come back after the first time they visited your app. Most of them will abandon your app in less than 30 seconds! That is, if your app is an average app. The good news is, that doesn’t have to be your app’s fate, and it’s in your hands to get better results.

Here is some food for thought about app churn and how you, as an app owner, can reduce it.

Friendly onboarding

It’s no secret that proper onboarding is a challenge for any app owner. On the one hand, app owners want to explain everything little that can be done with their app to their users, but as much as it may seem important to explain it all, the first visit isn’t the right moment.

During a first-time visit, make sure to show the users the killer features it has, or present them with a friendly, basic tutorial on how to use it with only the most necessary information. This way, your users will have an enjoyable experience right from the beginning, and the chances of them leaving abruptly and never coming back will decrease, significantly.

There are few mobile engagement features you can use for this onboarding period. If your app functionality is complex or has many features, a walkthrough carousel (not too long!) is a good option. If it’s a matter of helping users orient themselves and understand the first steps they should take, a mobile tooltip or highlighted area, can come handy.

Orient your users with a mobile tooltip
Orient your users with a mobile tooltip
Introduce your users to your main app functionality with onboarding carousel
Introduce your users to your main app
functionality with onboarding carousel

Be contextual

Now that you’ve crossed the first-time-visit hurdle (and quite a hurdle it is), you want to make sure that your user communication is displayed at the right ‘mobile moment’. Assuming you’re collecting and storing data about your users’ preferences and past interaction with the app, and you have segmented your users accordingly, you’re in the advantageous position to target your audiences with relevant in-app messages or push notifications. For example, if a particular user visited the Kids section in your app last time, you can send them in-app message with a special discount for children’s clothing.

Being shown a relevant offer through one of these mediums will make your users feel like you know them and understand their needs. A message that appears just because the user opened the app (to do something else, not to read your message) might be considered as interference, if not a call for uninstall. Be considerate, and provide messages when users are more likely to respond to them, and more importantly, based on their actual interaction with the app: which screen they saw, what element they tapped, and so on.

Suggest a coupon, relating to user’s past interaction with your app
Suggest a coupon, relating to user’s past interaction with your app

Churn profiling

While the reasons for users’ churn may vary, and you do whatever you can to fight them off, it’s still a good practice to try and generate a churn analysis. Assuming you have a mobile analytics platform in place, it is wise to analyze the differences between various users’ actions.

For example, let’s take first-time users dropping after 15 seconds and first-time users dropping after 1 minute. Within your analytics reports, see if you can define the possible reasons for the churn, and that will help you devise possible solutions.

Bring them back

Waking up your sleepy users is possible, mainly if you successfully convinced them to opt into receiving your push notifications back when they were active. Requesting permission to send push notifications is generally a good practice but should be done with care. Users tend to be hesitant about granting permission, so be careful not ask for it before your users see the value in your app or unless you have a good reason for asking for it, like if a core functionality of the app cannot be fulfilled out this permission. If your users have gone dormant, you can send them a push notification to get them back, but make sure it’s as appealing and relevant as possible. You can do this by analyzing the users’ past behavior and activity within your app.

If you don’t know much about your users’ past activities or preferences, you can still send push notifications to offer something special and tempt them to come back. If you’re using beacon technology, and you know when a user is physically close to your brick-and-mortar store, send a notification encouraging them to take advantage of today’s specials.

Lastly, don’t be shy, and let your users know that you miss them. They will appreciate the fact that you’ve noticed their absence and will realize you’re trying to win back their hearts.

Use the right time opportunity to win back your dormant users.
Use the right time opportunity to win back your dormant users.

App engagement is what matters

Some industry leaders are already calling app engagement the new app acquisition. Focusing on retaining your existing users is more important than getting new ones. You spend so many resources on bringing in new users, but what you actually should be doing is investing a major portion of your efforts towards retaining your existing install-base. Show them value, then show them more value. ‘Listen’ to what their digital body language tells you, and respond with relevant answers. Do all the above, and user churn will no longer be the main thing keeping you awake at night.

Polly Alluf
Polly Alluf is the VP of Marketing at Insert,, the first Codeless Mobile Engagement Platform. She loves everything about marketing, from digital to field and from branding to automation. Polly's passion is data driven marketing and she considers herself very lucky, being a marketer whose target audience is enterprise marketers.


  1. Polly – excellent tips here, especially the contextual recommendations, which require a bit more marketing & segmenting savvy but are likely to have a strong payoff in the end.

    We’ve also published a free 12 Best Practices paper to boost app revenues/reduce app churn that anyone interested in this topic is welcome to take a look at:


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