Why you should focus on user activation for your mobile app

Andrew Chen posted an interesting article on App retention: New data shows losing 80% of mobile users is normal, and why the best apps do better.

The main giveaway is: the average Android app loses 77% of users in the first 3 days, where the top 10 apps, only loses 30%.

Based on Quettra’s data, we can see that the average app loses 77% of its DAUs within the first 3 days after the install. Within 30 days, it’s lost 90% of DAUs. Within 90 days, it’s over 95%. Stunning. The other way to say this is that the average app mostly loses its entire userbase within a few months, which is why of the >1.5 million apps in the Google Play store, only a few thousand sustain meaningful traffic.

Here's the cohort chart of the average Android app:

Average Android app cohort chart

Curious about your apps? In Google Analytics (and other analytics tools) you can get the same chart:

Google Analytics cohort chart

It's clear that the main challenge in app adoption is user activation. You should focus on getting it right, have a good onboarding experience and quickly return value to users. Because after a week, no notification will change their mind.