It is obvious that user retention in mobile games is what every free-to-play indie developer always desired. To ensure the retention rates of your Mobile Games, you should plan ahead & elaborate a sound strategy. Otherwise, your users will barely integrate your game as a part of their daily (or hourly) routine.  We garnered the most 15 valuable tips from Industry Experts to help you tweak & boost the user retention of your Mobile Games. 

12 Tips to Increase User Retention in Mobile Games

Written 23/9/2022 by Admin.

It is obvious that user retention in mobile games is what every free-to-play indie developer always desired. To ensure the retention rates of your Mobile Games, you should plan ahead & elaborate a sound strategy. Otherwise, your users will barely integrate your game as a part of their daily (or hourly) routine.  We garnered the most 15 valuable tips from Industry Experts to help you tweak & boost the user retention of your Mobile Games. 


1. Make Your First Impression Count 

On average, user retention in mobile games is around 20% to 40% one day after install. On top of that, more than half of the users retained after Day 1 abandon the app after a week.  The only thing a user is looking for when running the app for the first time is to get to know it. 

Your goal is to introduce your app in a simple but effective way.  It takes just 2 minutes for a user to define whether he likes your app or not

Pro-tip: Go easy on your new users and allow them to enjoy the game a bit before introducing ads.


2. Optimize the Loading Screen 

A mobile app or game download shouldn’t take longer than 10 seconds. Each second of delay results in the loss of users and decreases your user retention metrics. Challenge your developers to optimize the application so that the download takes as little time as possible. Some important resources might be downloaded after the user sees the main menu or enjoys picking the funky screensaver.

Using an indicator of the load is a good starting point. The downside of Loading Bars: When the mobile game download slowly or the progress bar freezes for a second or two, users may start to wonder if the app works at all or if the download is frozen.

Tips to increase User Retention on Loading Screens 

  1. Add animated elements to the download bar to show that the application is running. 
  2. Use a bright and detailed image on the loading screen to give a positive first impression. 
  3. Divide a long-lasting download into several steps with a separate image attached to each one.


3. Do Not Download Everything at Once

Most game developers create an application of a random volume, and then reduce its amount to 10MB, so all the data can be downloaded right at the start.

This method may widen the gap between the installation and the actual usage of the application.

Tip: Minimize spooling by cutting the downloadable content into blocks, and downloading it gradually as the user moves on the application.

As a developer, you should always ask yourself: “What do I want to show in the first place?” Most likely, the downloaded data won’t be necessary right from the start or in the first 10 minutes.


4. Create Interactive & Personalized Tutorials

Let your users perform basic tasks by himself, make directions via pointers and let him experiment.

First, always get your players involved in the game from the start.

You’ll have to A/B test your tutorial a lot. First, predict the script of the user’s behavior and help them to get through all the stages of learning consistently without overloading them with too much information. Teach them the basics, and he will overcome the rest of the information on his own.

You may split your tutorial into parts if it’s complex or long. Create multiple blocks of information – the user will absorb it easier step by step.

For a game, you may show tutorials as new content appears.


5. Consider Your Time and Energy Mechanics

To keep your player staying longer in your game, including time and duration mechanics. Always focus on the game’s fundamental source of entertainment.

When looking at these mechanics, keep the game’s value front and center. Activities that tap into the value and pleasure of the game can be broken up into more than one session. This encourages the user to return again and again to check on its status.

For example, Episode by PocketGems follows a similar strategy. Passes are required to continue each story by starting a new episode; players can either wait for them to replenish their passes, or purchase additional ones:


6. Check Markets with Geopolitical Changes

If your app has an global reach, one of the first things you can do is to analyze how the geopolitical changes in specific countries are impacting your users.

In the analytics tool for your mobile video game, you may detect new user flows, longer user sessions, and more daily sessions for specific markets.

Detect changes in the user behavior of certain markets, and use these new data to come up with new approaches to increase your user retention metrics.

Improve your Marketing Campaigns, optimize your Push Notification strategy, and adapt your Ad Placements to improve your monetization. You can also detect which features users are your users interacting with, collect data usage, redesign them, and promote them to new audiences.


7. Personalized Push Notifications to Reactivate Users

Push Notifications are believed as the best way to make your users remember that your app exists.

The trick is to avoid generic messages and personalize them to your audience instead. For activities or goals that require multiple sessions, encourage players to return with push notifications about what’s been completed or how many minutes they have remaining to move to the next stage.

A sense of urgency always motivates players. Retention rates get especially boosted if users feel they may lose progress and have a solid idea of what is waiting for them.

Also, think about the timing of your request for push notification privileges. A request right after launch is likely to be ignored. Let your players feel the value of your game; then, make the request for push notifications with a personalized message.

Send relevant messages to your users to boost user retention in mobile games & apps.


8. In-App Events & Promos to boost User Loyalty

Let’s prepare an action plan with lots of content to boost your user retention rates.


To keep your players involved in your game, build in customization. A personalized playing experience is much more engaging than a generic one, no matter the genre. Allow players to choose their own names, backgrounds, avatars, music, language, and more whenever possible, and create content using the data they provided to you.

Cross-Promotions may increase your user retention too

Mobile games that promote other games in the form of daily challenges, quests, and tournaments often see higher conversion rates and more engaged players. 


9. Do NOT Overload Users with Ads, make them Relevant

Your first step is to get your new user eager for more by showing off the app’s highlights. This technique not only results in a much warmer welcome than a full-on ad assault but also gives the user a chance to like the app and come back, thereby maximizing your customer’s lifetime value.

If you’re worried about the revenue you lost by not displaying ads immediately, consider a different approach by using mediation.

By automatically mediating the price of every ad impression with over 70 networks through Appodeal, you’ll make the most of your revenue. 


10. Use Rewarded Ads to balance your In-App Purchases

Rewarded videos give users a taste of in-app purchases, encourage them to interact with the game, and truly reward them for engagement.

Free-to-play games give you the perfect environment to A/B test your ad placements, optimize the ad frequency of your Rewarded Videos, and even offer new rewarded in-app features.


  • Increasing the tolerance of users to receive more ad impacts and marketing communications
  • Improving the conversion funnels of premium features for your VIP users
  • Boosting your Long-Term User Retention and the Loyalty of your overall community.


11. Surprise Your Valuable Players with Bonuses

For Free-to-play games, it is highly important to retain VIP Users. When your most valuable players lose their premium privileges, they may feel unmotivated, start playing less frequently, and ultimately uninstall the app.

One way to avoid decreasing your user retention in a mobile game is to give virtual credits or currencies to your players. 

In the same way banks give loans, most mobile games have virtual currencies that developers can leverage

You can open a free pass to premium game levels in exchange for a percentage of their rewards, or open a piggy bank where they store the earnings they acquired on those premium features.

This way, you will boost the retention of your most valuable and loyal users even when they need to take a break from your IAPs. 

Two big don’ts when rewarding users:

  • Don’t punish players for failing to log in by taking away too many vital resources. You may find yourself pushing away reactivated players. If a player comes back and finds all of his hard work has been destroyed, he has little to no motivation to return.
  • Don’t give out the same bonuses every single time a player launches a session. If you eliminate the surprise factor, whatever you’re giving away feels less valuable and players may lose interest.

And an even bigger do:

  • Do reward players with special currency, tools, or some other key item regularly in the beginning and taper it off as needed. Double up on rewards periodically to maintain that element of surprise.


12. Extend Premium Services to Increase User Retention

Some mobile apps & game experts have started extending premium services to their loyal users. You may release your premium services for free to shifting markets during short periods of time. Or even send automated messages to users who unsubscribe from your VIP programs. Offer them personalized discounts, or extend that premium service.

Take the personalization factor up a notch by segmenting your users into targeted groups. Allow new users to get accumulated to the game by only showing ads after 5 minutes of gameplay or disabling ads altogether for power players who have already made in-app purchases.

Tactics like those may make a dent in your app revenue. But, letting your users free limited access to your premium service, may convince them to acquire it in the future when the promotion is over.

Share it on social media and get the press and the relevant media to talk about it if possible. 

Your app may even go viral and increase, not only the user retention rates but, also, your Organic traffic & installs.


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