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UrbanAirship-App-User-Retention-Rate-Push-Messages-Dec2013On average, mobile application users who have opted in to push messages have a long-term retention rate that is 92% higher than those who have opted out of the messages, says Urban Airship in its third “Good Push Index (GPI)” study. The results support the same conclusion from Urban Airship’s earlier studies, with this latest report a far more expansive effort covering more than 2,400 apps with at least 6 months of user data and even minimal use of the messages.

The report compares the retention rate of opt-in and opt-out users across the first 6 months after download, finding that in the “critical” first month after download, the retention rate for opt-in users was about 90% higher than for opt-out users (55% vs. 29%). Those gaps continued throughout the 6 month period – with the 25% retention rate for opt-in users in Month 6 almost as high as the rate for opt-out users in Month 1 (29%).

In fact, the study also finds that 3 of the 6 verticals analyzed sported average user retention rates that were more than twice as high for users who had opted-in to push messaging. Those verticals were: retail; entertainment; and gambling.

Not only do opt-in users have a better retention rate, they also tend to be better engaged with the apps. On average monthly app opens per users are 26% higher among the opt-in than the opt-out crowd. Given that retention tends to dwindle as time passes, that means that, over time, most of an app’s total opens will end up being from users opted-in to push messaging.

As for opt-in rates, the study finds that on average, 35-50% of app users in each vertical opted in to receive push notifications, though there was a significant range between the minimum and maximum opt-in rates within each industry.

Finally, an analysis of all the data was inconclusive with regards to the optimal number of push messages to be sent, leading the researchers to theorize that “push quality matters far more than push quantity.”

About the Data: Urban Airship analyzed customer data in aggregate to identify apps with at least six months of opt-in and opt-out user data that had sent at least 100 cumulative pushes in one month during the study period. Analysis included more than 2,400 apps that had collectively sent 500 million pushes.

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