User retention is one of most important KPIs (key performance indicators) mobile marketers obsess over – and with good reason. It costs far more to attract a new install or user than it does to maintain an active user. User retention is of particular importance in highly active or addictive app verticals, such as gaming and utilities. Mobile app marketers, product managers and investors typically look at Day 1, 7 and 30. Please note that in industry shorthand, these segments are commonly written as D1, D7 and D30. Other common retention slices include D3 (day 3), D5 (day 5) and D14 (day 14).
Certain markets (e.g. China) use retention as a paid media performance metric, where media sources are paid based on their ability to deliver users that meet predefined retention goals. As such, mobile marketers in these regions pay particularly close attention to their retention reports.
Please note Retention Reports compare installs based on app launches, whereas Cohort Reports look at install dates.
How retention is calculated
Retention is calculated by taking the active users on a given timeframe (days or weeks) since the installation, as well as the total number of users that launched the app on the date specified in the range.
What to look for
When reviewing the Retention Report use the color coding and performance data to determine which media sources deliver the strongest retention. Media sources with strong early retention but weak overall retention may need to be further optimized.
Dive Deeper With Dynamic Retention Filters
Although the default report is a helpful first-indicator of an app’s retention health, the real value will come from this reports dynamic filters. These deep filters provide remarkable insight into potential retention criteria including: minimum cohort size, multiselect by media source, campaign, ad_set, ad_group, geo, SiteID (sub publisher), custom criteria, wifi state, geo by city, app version, OS version, device brand and more. Diving deep into these dynamic sub-filters allow marketers to discover which segments have the strongest retention, and which outliers warrant further investigation. For example, weak retention on specific devices may signal a possible technical issue whereas weak retention in specific regions may present opportunities for marketing optimization.
These insights are key to understanding and optimizing app and marketing performance to improve your core KPIs.
Retention for Agencies
Working with an agency? It’s now easier than ever to monitor the retention rate of each campaign. Agencies can easily access retention data from their campaigns right from their dashboard, without needing to ask clients to download data and manually send it to them.
For more detailed information about retention reports, please check out the following resources: