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4 Hacks To Increase App Retention and Engagement with Push Notifications

Posted by | App Marketing, ASO | 1 |
Hacks for Better App Retention

I am proud to announce a special contribution of App Marketing expert Laurie Galazzo. She is Inbound Marketing Manager at AppTweak.com, which is an ASO & App Marketing Online Platform. Today she provides us with cutting edge information on how you can optimize your Retention and therefore engage your users sustainably. That way you benefit from both a better overall performance of your App, as well as of an improvement of your rankings as the engagement of your users also is one important factor that supports your ASO efforts.

4 hacks for App Engegament header

4 Definitive Hacks for an improved App Retention

A few years ago, mobile marketing was driven by installs and downloads, plunging app developers and marketers into a “quantity-over-quality” dynamics.
This obsession for new app installs characterized the newness of this immature market, leaving room for many improvements and adjustments.
Nowadays, retention and engagement are key metrics in mobile marketing. Companies seeking growth and long-time success must understand that it is crucial to retain existing users rather than aiming at acquiring new ones.

Indeed, focusing on retention has a much larger effect than topline growth. According to Gartner Group, a 5% increase in customer retention can increase business profits between 25% and 125%.
With the new technologies and all the available data, it is now easier than ever to build a smart, personalized and segmented marketing approach that will address a certain message to a certain type of users, at a certain time.
This “hyper relevant” marketing strategy is precisely what app developers and marketers should aim for in order to reduce their churn rate.
A survey conducted by Millward Brown Digital showed that 43% of US smartphone owners used 4 – 6 apps on an average day, while having between 40 and 70 apps installed on their device.


How frustrating can it be to put all these efforts into App Store Optimization and acquisition but then lose all newly acquired users within a few days?



Push notifications are a powerful weapon


A great way to prevent app abandonment and increase app retention is to use push notifications. If used wisely, smart push messages will remind users to open and use “sleeping” apps (apps that were installed on the device but forgotten about). This will ultimately increase the number of active app users.

Localytics has demonstrated that users who accepted push notifications for an app opened it 171% more than users who disabled them.

Push notifications can be promotional, contextual or simply informative. The most important is to wake the user up with interesting content that will make him open and use the app again.

If you’re new to this or if your push notification strategy was unsuccessful check out these 4 hacks that will help you deliver efficient push messages to increase retention and drive engagement


#1 – Find the right balance

Push notifications rely on an opt-in system: users should give their permission to receive some push content. Actually, about 46% of app users see push notifications as helpful.

However, the other half finds push messages to be an “annoying distraction”. You should therefore be careful while implementing your push notification strategy.

Depending on the essence of your app, it is important to find the right dose and deliver the right amount of message to your audience. Not enough would be useless, too much would most likely make the user delete the app.

A good way to proceed is to start with one notification and then evaluate the impact it had on users. If it’s positive, try implementing another one. Don’t hesitate to experiment with different notification periods in order to find what best fits your audience.

In any ways, try not to use more than one push notification per week to avoid “spamming” your users.


#2 – Be short and concise

It is important to keep your message short and straight to the point. AppLift recommends using notifications of less than 128 characters, as they have the highest open rate. That’s about 10 – 12 words.

Make sure to respect the various screen formats and sizes to be the most converting possible. Don’t forget to use some emoji if it’s relevant. They are brilliant eye-catchers.


#3 – Be personal and use segmentation

One of the most important hacks is to personalize push notification messages according to the right segment of users. This obviously implies to create these segments prior you start crafting your messages.

Indeed, you cannot address the same way to new users or one timers (users who used your app only once) the way you would talk to lapsed users (users who used your app frequently but then stopped).



Thanks to a thorough data analysis of user behavior (based on install and post-install activity), you will be able to determine the user lifecycle and the various phases your users are going through when experiencing your app.

From there, you can use segmentation to personalize your messages depending on the phases your users are in.

If your message is compelling and personalized, it will certainly make your users want to know more and therefore open your app again.


#4 – Use A/B testing

 App Split testing

Finally, it is extremely important to A/B test your push notification messages. This will not only help you find the right tone to use on your targeted segments, but it will also help you avoid making some mistakes.

It is therefore recommended to test your content on a smaller portion of your audience before launching your whole set of push notifications.

A/B testing can help you gauge the amount of push notifications you send. It can also help you decide between multiple formulations or phrasings. Testing your copy and tracking click through rates will guide you and help you maximize your ROI.


Have you ever used push notifications? Feel free to share your experience below!

AppTweak Laurie Galazzo
Laurie Galazzo

Laurie is Inbound Marketing Manager at AppTweak. Passionate by new technologies and apps, she loves finding new ideas to spread valuable content on App Store Optimization and App Marketing. She’s in charge of the company’s blog, crafting articles helping users to increase their app downloads and rankings. She’s also at the head of the ASO University, teaching App Store Optimization basics through video tutorials, all available for free on AppTweak blog.

One Response to “4 Hacks To Increase App Retention and Engagement with Push Notifications”

  1. 4 ways to benefit from negative reviews

    […] Listening to your users’ feedback can thus help you improve the general feel of your app and ultimately increase your app retention. […]


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