Push For Retail App Retention

According to the Urban Airship report on push notifications impact on retail App retention rates, of the 63 million new app users analyzed for this report, 85% of Android users and 50% of iOS users were opted in to receive notifications. For new app users in the first 90 days, the data shows more frequent push notifications are correlated to better app retention rates. App users who receive any push notifications in the 90 days after their first app open have nearly 3x (190%) higher retention rates than those who do not.

These opt-in rates are roughly consistent with findings from many analyses over the past three years, though iOS rates are seeing small increases year-over-year, and slightly more Android users seem to be taking steps to opt out of the automatic permission apps receive.

When brands don’t send a push notification of any kind to new users, they’re wasting user acquisition investments and ignoring an important and direct channel to engage users who have opted in, says the report. There’s also a significant opportunity cost: any revenue that could have been generated from actively engaged users is lost.

The data shows that 27% of opt-in users don’t receive any push notifications in their first 90-days of using an app. For Android users, the Zero frequency cohort was the largest frequency cohort. On iOS, Zero frequency was the second largest cohort overall. App users who receive any push notifications in their first 90-days have a 3x higher app retention rate when compared to those who received no push notifications.

Within the first 90 days of app:

  • Zero Push Notifications Sent: User received no push notifications
  • One Push Notification Sent: User received one push notification
  • ~2x Monthly Push Notifications Sent: User received approximately two push notifications per month
  • ~Weekly Push Notifications Sent: User received approximately one push notification per week
  • ~Daily Push Notifications Sent: User received approximately one push notification each day
  • Daily+ Push Notifications Sent: User received multiple push notifications per day 

Moving from sending zero push notifications to sending weekly push notifications results in a significant app retention rate increase on Android (6x), and a more modest doubling increase on iOS. Increasing send frequency to Daily+ creates an even greater retention rate boost of 10x on Android and 3x on iOS.

Weekly notifications should be a reasonable goal for any app in terms of push notification send frequency, says the report. In fact, by monitoring user lifecycle signals (new install, app opens, completed registration, completed in-app purchase, app upgrades, etc.) most apps could achieve automated, triggered weekly push notifications virtually overnight.

Urban Airship analyzed customer data in aggregate to identify apps with at least 5,000 downloads that had sent at least 1,000 cumulative push notifications in one month. That group included more than 63 million app users across 1,500 apps with deep dives on four industry verticals. Analysis focused on app users that first opened an app in September 2016 and tracked their notification opt-in status, app open behavior and volume of notifications received through December 2016.


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