Stickiness? Discerning what makes your mobile app better than the rest

Stickiness? Discerning what makes your mobile app better than the rest_5ee33d3fb527c.jpeg

Mobile app stickiness is all about regular active users. They consider your app useful or enjoyable, and they use it as such.

For many app developers, they want to figure out the key to making an app stickier, this lies in understanding what keeps users coming back for more. The thing is apps with a high retention rate share common components.

What makes a mobile app sticky?

There are key elements that make an app sticky and contribute to user satisfaction. Apps that are sticky see a long abandonment rate and competitors often struggle to poach users due to the overarching user connection with the app.

Key factors which attribute to high levels of app stickiness include:

  • The user journey, how reliable this is and how easy it is to use
  • The overarching usefulness and utility of the app
  • The level of entertainment it provides and curiosity it evokes
  • To what extent it builds some form of emotional connection and reliance
  • Any social component

Once you have a plan of how to tackle the above elements, you can then spend time designing aesthetics, but the basics are key to maintaining your users initially.

Following this, you should focus on developing and improving the key features of your app, testing with audiences and amending in line with feedback.

Barriers to app stickiness

A barrier to achieving app stickiness refers to anything that might reduce the likelihood of your users returning to use your app. The average app loses 77% of its daily active users within the first three days. Over the following 30 days, that number typically rises to around 90% and 95% after 90 days.

One of the key problems that arise within app retention is the desire to constantly grow the number of new users, without as much focus on retaining those currently already using it. The best apps, with highest levels of stickiness (+50%), are those that establish themselves as a fixture in their user’s lives.

How do I increase the stickiness level of my app?

First, you need to identify any elements of your app that could be holding it back. It could be the usability of the app, bugs, load times, the inability to save your login information or any number of gripes, large or small.

You’ll be able to monitor where your users are dropping off using the software in your tech stack, which is explored in a little more detail below.

In order to decipher the barrier to achieving better app stickiness, you should identify the problem that your app solves for its users. Does it help them manage their finances and budget? Does it allow them to redesign their home virtually in order to plan better? Is it an entertaining game? Without a problem, no matter how small, your app will not be able to achieve stickiness.

The next step is to decipher how easy it is for your users to undertake this action. The activity should ideally take under one minute, such as checking a balance, loading a page, finding an item.

If your app includes a registration process then, ideally the process should take under three minutes. The longer it takes to do anything in the app, the less likely your users are to stick.

How to find out why users are dropping off?

The most important thing to remember at this stage is that if you can determine the reason behind the majority of your lost users, you can find a solution to fix it. It’s impossible to assume you could prevent all users from dropping off, but if you can reduce that number, that’s a great place to start.

You can monitor your user behaviour using the software within your tech stack. AppSee is a really useful piece of software for understanding the following:

  • Session recordings allow you to track and view how your users interact with your app, from launch to quitting. You can see how they use the app, where they’re dropping off, correlations between drop-off points and the actions they performed and potentially revealing any hidden problems with the functionality of your app and the performance of the user journey.
  • Navigation paths offer you the capability to view a detailed map of the user journey, which can help decipher if your menus or layout are not clear. Placing a pin in the centre of the map when a user opens the app, you can then determine areas of confusion where users might go back and forth between particular screens, determine the reason behind failing to complete a purchase or the difference between new vs returning user behaviour.
  • Action cohort helps to create links between each action, so you can better track how recurring actions and barriers to engagement are affecting your user’s ability to convert. You can then implement changes which will encourage the types of behaviour from your users that lead to conversions and understand correlations between activities and initial purchase, repeat purchases identifying similarities between cohorts of users who abandoned their account.
  • Conversion funnels show how users behave at each stage of the funnel and can track activities that will most affect your bottom line. This could include sign-up, completing a purchase or placing a booking. Breaking the data down into activities within the funnel allows you to understand why they didn’t convert, using this to improve your onboarding process, increase retention and reduce the time between each step of the funnel.

Power users and recommendations

The above software can help you understand what makes particular users come back, time and time again to use the app. By identifying the features which are used the most, you can use this information to determine if they share any common functionalities or contributing factors.

It can be hard to determine what might make a person recommend your app to friends and family or become an advocate for it. The best way to determine this is by collecting voluntary feedback, which can be easy when incentivised.

You could look into conducting a survey to find out what would make people share your app, what is preventing them from doing so at the moment and any suggestions for improvement.

You can then sift through your responses and identify patterns in feedback, prioritise the most important changes and look to improve that customer journey without diluting the primary purpose of the app.

Setting objectives

With ongoing improvement to your app, must come updated internal objectives. You’ll need to define what it is you want to do, so as to be able to set a strategy of how you will grow and develop to achieve this.

An overarching goal may be to increase the stickiness of your app, but within this, there should be objectives that you need to meet to make this happen.

Your goals should never be too vague and should apply directly to your app. You should look at the scale of actions you need to implement, simple amends to large scale changes should all be prioritised so nothing gets missed.

Test and measure results

After the time and effort put into developing your app functionality, improving the aesthetics or fixing bugs, you should have a steadfast way to track how effective your changes have been.

Without a means of testing and tracking, you’ll never know if what you did was effective and worthwhile. For more information on how to pick the right software for tracking and measuring results, check out our guide to mobile app tech stacks.

Why is app stickiness important?

App stickiness is closely linked with user engagement. Where users are more engaged and invested in the app, they will have a higher level of stickiness.

Your apps stickiness is essentially a measurement of how likely your users are to return to it in the long term and its capability to keep them engaged. Although new users are great, your app cannot survive on these alone, therefore ensuring you have a methodology for achieving stickiness is crucial to survival.

If you’re struggling to improve the stickiness of your mobile app, then why not get in touch with us today.


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