ASO Academy - Mobile App Retention & Engagement

September 14th, 2022

ASO Academy - Mobile App Retention & Engagement

A concept often tossed around and not typically associated with App Store Optimization (ASO) is user retention. Throw into the mix engagement, and these principles seem a bit left-field in ASO to a novice. However, all meaningful marketing actions start from the bottom and nurture these steps along the way. Are there steps in ASO that help support both of these fundamental success factors in app marketing? Absolutely – you just may not know about them yet.

In this week’s ASO academy, we wanted to set the record straight on how ASO relates to and supports user retention and engagement.

App Store Optimization Helps Attract Valuable Users

Unlike paid campaigns alone, organic means of user acquisition actually drive more valuable users to your app. For one, the “effort” in finding, downloading, and using the app requires more of the user's time, thus yielding their action more time-consuming a valuable once they find what they were looking for.

When a user sees an ad, they’re being exposed to a product/service they initially didn’t mean to seek out on their own. Thus, the “need recognition” step in an acquisition is virtually removed, and the subconscious satisfaction of finding a need on their own makes the action inherently less valuable. Users might be less likely to engage or stay with an app from paid campaigns alone.

This is why supporting organic visibility through ASO is so vital. Users actively looking for something and eventually finding an app that suits their needs innately creates a more worthwhile connection for both the developer and the downloader.

What about retaining and engaging with that newly acquired user? This is where ASO marketing extends itself to the onboarding process. At this point, the developer may want to ask themselves the question, “How can I provide value to my user right from the start?”

App User Retention & Engagement – Why Are They Important?

Once a user downloads your app, where does the process of mobile user acquisition end? Well, any seasoned ASO expert will tell you that optimization partially extends outside of the app store. In a lot of ways, optimizing the onboarding process best ensures the quality and value of the user – a fundamental principle of ASO.

This concept is often coined by Gummicube experts as, “optimizing action”. Through an improved onboarding process, the post-download actions can be valuable right from the start. Improved onboarding could involve shortening up signup flows, testing subscription price placement, adding feature flags to reward returning users, and even testing price points within the app in a controlled environment (yes, you read that right).

You don’t have to be in pre-launch to take advantage of optimizing action. In fact, any developer and mobile marketer can kickstart their action optimization process. You can use ASO tools and technology to test your app store listing, but mobile app A/B testing is another app store optimization tool at your disposal.

How Can ASO Support User Retention And Engagement?

Now, let’s see optimizing action, in action. What are some of the ways in-app split testing can help developers and mobile marketers improve the quality of their users?

User Retention & Engagement

User retention can be a tricky beast, but there are ways to optimize your app onboarding flows to support new users and improve retention. One of the ways developers can achieve this is through improved means of monetization and in-app feature flags. With improved price points and positioning, you can see which value propositions speak best to your users. This, in turn, helps users recognize your value and are more likely to stay over a long period of time.

Feature flags can simply be put as in-app reminders or callouts. Think, of “welcome back”, and “leave us a rating” pop-ups when a user opens an app. Any developer can set the parameters that fit best for them. For example, a game developer may create custom app opens triggered by usage frequency or game level completed. These are valuable experiences to users that help them stick around for longer.


Of course, our ASO company suggests optimizing action as a critical step in ASO, but don’t forget the first steps of optimizing reach and installs. If you’re curious about what in-app A/B testing can do for your user retention and engagement goals, reach out to one of our experts at Gummicube!

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