"Cracking the Code: Retaining Mobile App Users and Embracing Life's Fleeting Nature"


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 04, 2023

3 min read


"Cracking the Code: Retaining Mobile App Users and Embracing Life's Fleeting Nature"


In today's digital era, where mobile apps dominate our daily lives, it's no surprise that retaining users has become a daunting challenge for developers and businesses alike. Recent data reveals that losing a significant percentage of mobile users is the norm, but what sets apart the best apps from the rest? This article delves into the findings and explores the key factors that contribute to user retention. Additionally, we draw inspiration from Toyotomi Hideyoshi's poignant death poem to reflect on life's transient nature and how it relates to the world of mobile apps.

The Mobile App Retention Conundrum:

According to Quettra's insightful data, the average app experiences a staggering loss of active users within a short span of time. Within the first three days after installation, an app loses 77% of its daily active users (DAUs). By the end of the first month, this number skyrockets to a disheartening 90%, and within three months, a staggering 95% of DAUs are lost. These statistics underline the urgency and importance of engaging users during the initial 3-7 day period.

Cracking the Code of User Retention:

To successfully retain users, it is crucial to focus on two fundamental aspects: the product's description and the onboarding flow. Users need to perceive immediate value and find the app useful from the moment they install it. The top-performing apps have mastered this art, as users continue to utilize them repeatedly in the first week. The drop-off in usage occurs at a pace similar to average apps. However, the retention curve can be altered by activating users and not bombarding them with spam-like notifications.

Embracing the First Visit:

The key to bending the retention curve lies in targeting the first few days of usage, particularly the user's first visit. It's essential to create an onboarding flow that guides users seamlessly through the app's features and functionality. By providing a positive and enriching experience from the start, users are more likely to stick around and explore the app further. Relying on spammy email notifications with desperate subject lines like "We Miss You" is ineffective in significantly improving retention rates.

Finding Inspiration in Hideyoshi's Death Poem:

Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a prominent figure in Japanese history, penned a beautiful death poem that resonates with the ephemeral nature of life. "Appearing like dew, vanishing like dewβ€”such is my life. Even Naniwa's splendor is a dream within a dream." This profound reflection encourages us to acknowledge the fleeting moments in our lives, including the lifespan of a mobile app user. Just as the dew vanishes with the rising sun, so too do users move on if they fail to find value and purpose in an app.

Actionable Advice for Mobile App Success:

  • 1. Craft a Captivating Product Description: Invest time and effort into creating an engaging app description that highlights its unique features and benefits. This initial impression can make or break a user's decision to install and explore further.
  • 2. Seamless Onboarding Flow: Focus on designing an intuitive and user-friendly onboarding flow that guides users through the app's core functionalities. Make the first visit a delightful experience that encourages users to stay and explore.
  • 3. Activate Users, Not Spam Notifications: Instead of bombarding users with generic and spam-like notifications, identify triggers within the app that can activate users and encourage them to return organically. Personalize notifications to provide value and enhance the user experience.


The ever-evolving mobile app landscape presents a constant challenge for developers and businesses seeking to retain users. However, by understanding the importance of the initial 3-7 day period, optimizing the product description and onboarding flow, and focusing on user activation rather than spam notifications, it is possible to bend the retention curve and create a thriving app ecosystem. As we reflect on Toyotomi Hideyoshi's poignant words, let us remember that life's fleeting nature extends to the world of mobile apps, urging us to make every moment count.

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