A little ironic; there's so much water around but none of it can help you. The fire is too far from the water to do any good; you don't have anything to carry it. You have three choices: the first is to bail out and swim for it, but then you'll lose your boat. You look around for more options. You see a bucket that has one big hole in it. You also see a bucket with a whole bunch of little tiny holes in it. Which do you take?
While dealing with the audience retention for your mobile application probably isn't quite so life-threatening, the principal is the same. It was estimated by Quettra that about 77% of users download an app and then never use it again after three days; these water droplets literally never make it to the flames. Only three days? Our audiences have the attention span of a three-year-old in a room full of new toys. It's nearly impossible to keep them entertained for more than a second.
Or is it? With the cost of each user skyrocketing in 2015 almost 125% over 2014, focusing on keeping your current users engaged is of the utmost importance. Raising your retention stats will make every single other stat for your app rise as well, making you the marketing genius. Luckily, there are a few tools that can help you to bring more people to download, and keep interacting with, your application.
Which Bucket is Best?
Back to the boat analogy: do you know what source creates the best customers? Finding the lowest cost source for long-term loyal users is a great place to start to make sure your boat fire doesn't get out of control. The bucket that holds the most water, or users, will help keep your boat from sinking.
There are tools for checking this sort of thing; Google Analytics is always my personal go to. I like GA because it is free and all of its training materials are also free. You can download, add the code, and start getting numbers almost immediately. MixPanel is also a great way to go for very in depth retention reports (called Cohort Reporting). Flurry, another free tool recently purchased by Yahoo, can also be another great tool for helping you pick your bucket. Don't feel limited to one or the other; as long as you can carry them with some speed, you shouldn't limit yourself to just one bucket. If you have a hard time learning new tools or you are already comfortable with one, just go with what works for you best.
Managing the Flames:
While adding new customers will always be vital to keep your business flourishing and growing, maintaining what customer base it already there is also important. As basic as it sounds, there's really only one solution: make things interesting. New content for your news app, new levels for your game app, new cat pictures for your cat meme app. It's the simplest way to make people love you for months rather than 3 days.
Keeping your app fresh and new is a service that can make your retention numbers flourish. It is the most overlooked reason for losing your regulars. Before you change the colors, the name, or the layout, remember what people are actually coming to see you for. Remember that content is what will keep users engaged.
Ask a Friend:
So what would make your app even better for you customers? Why don't you ask them? User testing doesn't have to be expensive, big production; you can ask almost anyone what improvements would make the app more interesting and easier to use. Although you shouldn't take everyone's advice, a few outside influences might make the process a little easier.
It is easy to get bogged down in group think, a stale kind of mass of old ideas being recycled over and over again by the same people. It might be time for some fresh ideas from some fresh blood. They might see something you've never noticed before, something that will help more water get from the ocean to that boat fire you've been desperately trying to manage.