How to monitor your app retention in Fabric

By Shobhit Chugh, Product Manager


A common misconception in the mobile world is that number of app downloads is the strongest indicator of success. But what if you have a ton of users, yet they rarely interact with your app? What if people download your app and then churn the next day? Looking at your total number of app users or installs in isolation doesn’t paint an accurate picture of your app’s health - you also need to pay attention to retention. Retention helps you understand how often people return to your app. It’s important to measure retention because if your hard-earned users aren’t sticking around and regularly engaging with your app, you cannot build a sustainable mobile business.

In this blog post, we’ll show you how to track your retention over time through Fabric’s new retention page (which is part of our new dashboard).


Measuring retention from three angles

To give you a holistic view of how strong your app retention is, we focus on three things: active users, activity segments, and new user retention.

Let’s review how each angle helps you better understand retention.

1. Fluctuations in active users

The first sign of how well you’re retaining users is the number of active users you have on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis - and if these numbers are trending up or down over time.

When you navigate to the retention page, you’ll see these metrics in the top two graphs:

  • Daily active users (DAUs - how many people have had at least one session with your app today)

  • Weekly active users (WAUs - how many people have had at least one session with your app in the last seven days)

  • Monthly active users (MAUs - how many people have had at least one session with your app in the last 30 days)

The pulsating DAUs graph gives you real-time insight into how many people have used your app so far today, compared to this time last week. The second graph provides an additional lens by highlighting changes in weekly and monthly active users.

Steady, consistent growth in active users is a good signal that your retention is strong.


2. Changes in activity segments

The middle section of the retention page is centered around activity segments. Based on session data, activity segments groups users into buckets, ranging from inactive users (people who have not launched your app in more than a week) all the way to high activity users (people who have used your app almost every single day in the past seven days).

Activity segments provide a deeper look at your retention by revealing how engaged your active users are, how many are at risk of abandoning your app, and how people flow from one segment to another.

This graph can tell you a few interesting things about retention. First off, look at how people are transitioning between states. For example, if you see a large and healthy flow of users moving from “low activity” to “medium or high activity”, their engagement level is changing in a positive way - meaning that retention is improving.

Another interesting thing to monitor is the correlation between the number of new users and the growth in each segment. For instance, if you’re earning thousands of new users every week, but you’re only seeing a corresponding bump in the low activity segment - this means your new users are not deeply committed to your app. In this case, consider improving your onboarding flow to showcase the value of your app to new users.

Pro Tip: Move the slider at the bottom of this graph to see your activity segments at different times during the last 30 days. You can also use this slider to compare how active your users are during the weekday versus the weekend.


3. New user retention rate

Finally, the last graph on the retention page shows you what percent of new users are continuing to interact with your app after one day, seven days, and thirty days. This graph helps you see whether or not new users are still active after their first session at key time intervals. For instance, the day one metric means that X% of people who installed and used your app for the first time yesterday, also used it today.

The higher these percentages are, the stronger your app retention is because it means that a large amount of new users are turning into loyal, habitual users. If we notice any irregularities (i.e. an unusual increase or decrease in your new user retention), we’ll flag it so you can dig into what happened on that day.


From understanding retention to improving it

Fabric’s new retention page helps you measure retention from three different angles: active users (how many people are using my app?), activity segments (how engaged are my users?), and new user retention rate (how often do new users come back to my app?).

Armed with this insight, you’ll develop a baseline understanding of your retention, be able to recognize when it becomes a problem, and act quickly to combat churn. 

If you’re already a Fabric customer, click here to check out your retention page.

If you’re not currently a Fabric customer, get started by signing up and installing Crashlytics.