Emily Carroll

It is no surprise that app publishers and game developers are trying to capitalize on the multi-billion-dollar mobile gaming app industry. However, retaining users of gaming apps continues to be a challenge. 

On average, retention rates decrease by 89% one month after downloading a casual gaming app. This staggering statistic leaves many publishers and developers scratching their heads. 

What motivates users to leave gaming apps? We reveal survey data that answers this common question below.

Survey data reveals why players delete gaming apps

Newzoo conducted a Global Games Market Survey to identify common reasons why both loyal and newer players remove gaming apps from their phones. 

The most common reasons include:

  • 93% of respondents reported in-game lagging.
  • 63% of respondents reported other players being too good.
  • 51% of respondents reported needing to pay to win.
  • 21% of respondents reported other players not being nice.
  • 16% of respondents reported too many bugs.
  • 9% of respondents reported not enough new content.

Additionally, AppsFlyer analyzed retention rates from organic and paid installs of over 15,000 apps. Results showed that after the first month of downloads, non-organic and organic user retention rates were close to equal. However, as the months went on, organic game installers stuck around much longer.

Using survey data to improve user retention rates

Making enhancements to the user experience based on best guesses and assumptions will inevitably lead you back to square one. Instead, limit the number of players leaving your mobile game based on industry data and consumer insights. We reveal further survey data and tips for increasing gaming app retention rates below.

Dedicate resources to decrease in-game lag

Bad and buggy games have a direct impact on growth. It is by far the most significant reason why players leave gaming apps. In fact, 48% of users are less likely to use an app again if they're unhappy with the app's performance. For this reason, it is critical to hire a software tester. The job entails having a dedicated resource to find bugs and improve the app immediately.

Focus on re-engaging organic app users

As reflected in the AppsFlyer study above, users who downloaded a gaming app organically have higher retention rates than non-organic users. This begs the question: why are 65% of marketers more focused on launching paid user acquisition campaigns than engaging the players they already have? 

Don't make this same mistake. Re-engaging app users could be as simple as offering incentives, personalizing in-app communication, or strategizing your gaming app notifications.

Utilize targeted push notifications

Airship conducted a study of more than 1,000 apps and 3.8 billion push notifications. The purpose of the study was to determine if there was a difference in retention rates between apps with targeted or broadcast push notifications.

The survey found that targeted push notifications are 293% more effective in retaining users. In other words, it is more beneficial to incorporate highly personalized messages to users significantly instead of general app announcements.


Image by Hatice EROL from Pixabay.