The Half Life Of Apps

Apps are great, aren’t they? They come in such a variety and with just the quick press of a button you have access to a wealth of content. Plus, thanks to the portability of devices like tablet computers and smartphones, you can enjoy apps on the go.
However, there is a downside to apps, that many people don’t really think about. They suffer from an incredibly short shelf life, what can be the must have app one day, can be old news the next. There’s such a variety of apps available that the adoration and popularity of apps can quickly fade.
Many users can simply stop using them after surprisingly short periods of time, a recent example is Pokémon Go. While it's true few apps get the attention, it did upon release and it’s only natural all the attention would die down eventually, the apps user base as significantly reduced in less than a year.
But why is that? And how can you get your app to not only stand out and get people’s attention but also keep their attention? Remember your app users are going to be mobile users and if your app doesn’t meet their standards they can easily find an alternative. So, finding the right strategy to keep users can be difficult, but you can do it.

Strategies For Maintaining Users

When it comes to apps there are two main points you need to focus on, this is engagement and retention. Engagement is focused on how much time users spend on your app, even if they haven’t deleted the app if they aren’t using it then it doesn’t really matter, does it?
Retention is more subjective but most industry experts use retention to measure how many app users return to use the app, within a certain amount of time. You need high levels of engagement and retention to make your app a success.
There are a number of ways you can go about doing this, let’s take a look at some of the best strategies for ensuring your app maintains an engaged user base.

Push Notifications/ Messages

When someone downloads an app they’ll usually be given the choice to opt-in to receive notifications. Users who do have shown a much higher level of app engagement, when compared to those who don’t. Push notifications can also be used for a variety of reasons but one great thing they do is subtly remind people that they have your app downloaded.
You can also target your notification messages to create messages based on each user’s behaviour on the app, so the notifications will be more relevant to app users. You can also keep app users up to date on special offers and discounts, if used correctly notification messages can keep users using your app for a long time. Notifications and message can also be used to carry out many other strategies as well.


Personalization allows your app users a way to make their experience more unique to them, simple things like using the user's name on messages can go a long way towards creating a stronger bond. You could also design your app to only showcase information or products that the user would be interested in or even allow them to tweak the design in some manner. Notifications, as I mentioned previously, can also be personalized, so you are only informed about things you will be interested in.


Rewards can be used in a variety of ways in conjunction with apps and they are a great way to ensure engagement and retention. You can use a rewards system (sometimes known as incentivization) to reward app users in a variety of ways, this includes things like access to special content or more traditional rewards like vouchers/ coupons and special promotions.
Messages and notifications can again be implemented with your rewards system, so users can be informed about potential award schemes you’re running or be alerted when they achieved a reward.


Most importantly an app needs regular updating to ensure it always offers a smooth user-experience. Mobile users won’t want to wait very long, so if your app is slow to load many potential users will click off and go elsewhere. Updating also allows you to add new features and implement design changes that will help keep your users more interested and engaged.

Analytic tools and customer feedback can help you find out what your users want you to add or change. And when they see you listening to what they say they will be much more willing to engage with you. Push notifications and messages can be used to get users to give you feedback and tell you what they like you to change or add.

Giving Your App A Full Life

Apps are commonplace nowadays but the competition between them is tough, with the mobile platform becoming more and more popular year on year, businesses of all kinds really need an app if they want to succeed. That’s why it’s important that you have a good strategy in place if you want users to engage with your app.
All the strategies we’ve looked and many more can all work in tandem with each other as well to help ensure engagement and retention. From simple things like personalized messages and notifications, you can introduce your users to an innovative and engaging experience, that will keep them coming back to your app.