A very famous startup entrepreneur once said, ‘It is easy to acquire but difficult to retain’. The words undoubtedly are true, not only for business perspective but for every phase. If you are a startup, I believe both keep the difficulty level at the same stage. However, getting a little closer, things get a little different.

Acquisition or retention, learning facts

If your application just got released, in that case, user acquisition should be your first priority. This is something obvious as for this time, you need to have users, who download and use your application.

Now when we talk about having a user base, this isn’t an overnight task. According to a report shared by statistics, there are over 1.5 million iOS apps in the Apple store while the Google app store has more than 1.8 million android applications.

Now if you think that making a place in such a flooded marketplace is difficult and thereby, acquiring is a difficult task in comparison to retaining; I have a surprise.

Out of the total number of application users you earned, approximately 80% of them will abandon the application before they see the fourth day (Says a report). Now this isn’t less than a nightmare I guess.

What is more important: Retention or acquisition?

Jumping directly to any conclusion might be unhealthy for the business. Let us have a look at some statistics:

  • A report says, 30% of agencies and 40% of companies pay equal focus on both acquisition and retention while another report shares that around 44% of companies pay attention to the acquisition and only 18% that see retention as a priority.

  • Website is one of the most opted channels for customer acquisition (89%)

  • You’ll have to agree to this report saying that selling something to the existing customer has 60-70% chances in comparison to a new customer, which is 5-20%.

However, it has been noticed that many marketers have a keen interest in retaining their users. However, the only reason behind it being lesser opted is the massive cost that it takes.

The rate of retention


If you plot the percentage of monthly active users versus the number of days from acquisition, you should end up with a retention curve that is asymptotic to a line parallel to the X-axis. That’s when you have a viable business.

If we’ll have an outer sneak at the retention, we can call it as a strategy with that you can make your users return to the application at least once in thirty days. However, on the industrial basis, it is measured for a quarter.

According to a report, the average mobile application retention rate came to be 25%.

Yes, this means that around 75% users moved rigorously leaving behind just 25%. Not only this, in the same report, they collected the data for every month, and the figures narrated the fall rate.

While for the first month, the retention rate was 42%, for the second month it fell to 29% and 25% in the third.

This implies that initially the task to retain mobile application users had been easy, but with the moving time, it declined.

We have another data that talks about the retention rate as per the industry, application belongs to. In the report, they fetched that in comparison to the gaming applications, the retention rate of media and entertainment is pretty higher.

For the first month, while gaming mobile applications managed to retain 27% users, media and entertainment grabbed 43%. However, coming to the third-month rate declined and the former had 10% while the later managed to keep 24% users.


With this data, one thing is for sure that people tend to get bored with the gaming applications early and leave them, while for entertainment it wasn’t so difficult.

At this point, there are two questions?

What is the need for retention? And how it can be improved?

With time users fail to find the interest due to lack of upgrades and eventually excitement. They don’t find anything new and thus push off. Here are some ways in which you can improve your retention rate:

  • Tracking Lifetime Value

  • Push messages

  • Personalized experience

  • Mobile engagement platforms

  • A/B testing


Initially when your application gets released in the market, you undoubtedly need to focus on acquisition, however focusing simultaneously on the retention is pretty necessary.

User behavior changes rigorously and it is important for you to understand the same and subsequently take the necessary steps.


Ubaid Pisuwala

Ubaid Pisuwala is a highly regarded healthtech expert and co-founder of Peerbits. He possesses extensive experience in entrepreneurship, business strategy formulation, and team management. With a proven track record of establishing strong corporate relationships, Ubaid is a dynamic leader and innovator in the healthtech industry.

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