When an app is referred to as “sticky” it means that its users find it valuable and return to it regularly. (App stickiness is a VERY good thing!) The measurable components of app stickiness include a low churn rate, high engagement, and high retention. To look beyond the metrics, sticky apps can see success in the form of excellent user experiences, customer loyalty, and cultural relevance.
Stickiness is calculated by looking at the ratio of daily active users (DAU) to monthly active users (MAU) to evaluate how many users are returning to the app regularly. To calculate your app’s stickiness, divide your DAU by your MAU and multiply the result by 100 to express it as a percentage.
For example, if an app has 5,000 daily uses, and 50,000 monthly users, one would calculate the stickiness by dividing 5,000 by 50,000 for a total of .1, which can then be multiplied by 100 to arrive at a 10% stickiness ration.
Across industries, 20% is considered a successful stickiness ratio for an app, with numbers approaching 25% seen as extraordinary.
Because there are so many factors that contribute to app stickiness, the most successful efforts to improve an app’s sticky factor should be multi-dimensional in scope. The good news, however, is that most strategies that improve app performance, user experience, and retention, will likely also contribute to stickiness.
Big picture factors of app stickiness:
The stickiest apps obtain their status because their content is relevant to their user's interests, needs, and goals. For content apps, this often means ensuring that there is a strong match between the available content and audience demand, for eCommerce, it can be about delivering a broad selection of reliably high-quality products that suit the lifestyle of your customer base.
When an app becomes habitual for a user, it’s often because the app solves a problem in the user’s life, or is able to offer them something faster, more efficient, or easier solution than they would have otherwise. Some prime examples would be a navigation app that makes paper maps obsolete for daily use, a podcast that regularly publishes insightful takes on current events, or even a mobile game that offers users instant engagement in the dull moments of their lives.
Technical obstacles play a huge role in keeping an app from reaching its full potential, so if stickiness is your goal, don’t neglect the “small’ frustrations that can erode user interest and trust. Your app should be easy to navigate with a smooth, inviting onboarding experience that brings users to the value of the app right away. Keep loading times lightning fast and UX communications clear and accessible.
Brand loyalty often relies on a strong relationship between users and their favorite brands. Nurturing these relationships can be done through personalized communications (Storyly offers this!), consistently high-quality offerings and customer service, and a stellar social media presence, among other factors.