Retention rates reflect whether your customers are experiencing your core value and getting to that “aha” moment. It’s tempting to just dive in and start making customer experience (CX) and product changes right away. But for long-term success, you need a robust system of analytics and experimentation. You’ll need both a high-level strategy and granular-level tactics.
For strategy, start with an audit of your analytics. To make sure you are tracking data that will give you good information on retention, take a close look at your events and cohorts. Next, build a framework for testing that has specific goals and actionable objectives, channeling your customers at each stage of their product journey toward becoming power users.
When it comes to tactics, there’s no shortage of places to start experimenting. The onboarding experience is particularly ripe for optimization because the sharpest decline in app users typically happens within the first week. Making early tweaks that align with product value and improve CX are important areas to test for customer retention as well.
Start your audit with a close look at your event data, which is any action associated with a user (e.g., making a purchase or receiving a push notification). Track events that are aligned with your business goals. Next, set a baseline for your user behavior so you know what to measure yourself against. Look at patterns, demographics, cohorts, events, and existing retention levels.
Amplitude developed the Retention Lifecycle Framework to give companies the structure they need to continuously iterate and improve retention. In this framework, we break your active users into three groups that reflect the product journey: new users, current users, and resurrected users. From there, you design strategies and run experiments for each group, with the goal of turning them into highly engaged power users.
In eight chapters and 156 pages,the Amplitude team provides you with everything you need to know about improving customer retention—regardless of whether you’re at a five-person startup or a Fortune 500 company. Explore this playbook to learn how to create lifecycle cohorts, identify behavioral personas, set concrete goals, and implement proven concepts and frameworks that shape your long-term retention strategy.
Your go-to guide to leveraging user behavior in order to understand and improve retention.
📒Read the playbook >>
One of the basic building blocks of retention analysis is cohorts—groups of users who share a common characteristic, typically acquisition date or a behavioral trait. Acquisition cohorts let you look at the “when” of retention; behavioral cohorts let you look at the “why” by analyzing which actions drive retention. Once you have found the right cohorts, you can start to run experiments to see how your retention tactics are succeeding or failing with different groups.
The title says it all. We look closer at 20 different tactics, such as setting up behavioral drip emails, instituting single sign-on (SSO), and curing feature blindness that you can use to improve retention in your mobile app. We divide these tactics into four categories: onboarding, product, support, and communication.
User onboarding is a critical moment for customer retention—the steepest drop typically happens in the first three days. Onboarding is more than just your product tour, so we take a close look at a number of tools to improve your entire stack. This includes segmenting users for better customization, creating optimal product tours, mastering one-on-one communication, and setting up sound documentation protocols.
The IKEA effect stands for the idea that getting your users to put in a bit of effort up front (say, assembling furniture) leads them to put more value on that product and be reluctant to abandon it. Outside of this context, friction is typically viewed as a bad thing, causing users to churn when they encounter minor obstacles. But deployed thoughtfully, friction can lead your users straight to your product’s core value. Once there, they feel more invested and less inclined to leave due to loss aversion.
Observation is more than passive looking—it’s closely recording, analyzing, and experimenting with user behavior. There are three fundamental research tools that you need in order to scientifically observe your customer behavior: self-reporting, user testing, and behavioral analytics. Mastering these research tactics will lead you to an observation and retention framework that is methodical and objective.