The importance of a first impression

Hester Gras

According to previous research from Localytics, 20% of app users only open a new downloaded app once. In their latest research they found out that, when users don’t revisit a new app within seven days, there is a big chance that they won’t open the app anymore. It means that user engagement becomes more important than ever – starting at the first app visit. So how do you engage new users and ultimately, personalize their user experience? First, it’s important to understand the numbers surrounding the user retention of apps.

Credits: Localytics, source:
Credits: Localytics, source:


The average app user returns to the app within six hours from their first visit. If users don’t open the app within one day from the first visit, there is a 40% chance they will never open it again. This percentage is a bit lower for iPhone users. The risk will also increase over time. When the interval between the first and second session reaches the seventh day, there is a 60% chance that users will never return.
[title_small title=”Churn risk by app category” /]

However, the return rate differs per app category, which means that some categories need to react even faster to re-engage users. With respect to news apps, there is a 62% chance that users don’t come back if they don’t return to the app within seven days. That’s a lot!

Credits: Localytics, source:
Credits: Localytics, source:


With 24 hours, users of news apps also have the longest time in between their first and second app visit. This may be due to the fact that there might be multiple days between big news events. This statistic is good news for owners of news apps, because it means that there is a bit more time to create such an engaging experience that readers will keep coming back to the app.


Credits: Localytics, source:
Credits: Localytics, source:


[title_small title=”The importance of the app session length” /]

Other interesting facts from Localytics:

  • Users who had the longest first session length also returned to their app within 1 – 12 hours
  • Users who closely follow this group’s session length (50%) returned within the first day
  • The same 50% group of users showed the general pattern of new users: they had a long first session length to test the app and another session the day after.
  • Also the users that only spent a short time within the app reopened the app. Perhaps they came back to justify their experience.


[title_small title=”Increase the level of engagement” /]

User engagement isn’t a matter of months, weeks of days. Creating a long-term relationship with app users is a matter of hours; 24 hours in the case of news apps. If users aren’t engaged with your app after two sessions, they are gone. Therefore, you should gain more insights in your user’s reading behavior to create the best possible user experience and increase their engagement. You could:

  • Send push notifications to different groups of users and target them with a relevant message. For instance, you could send an e-mail with a summary of the best app features or articles to the users with a short session length. They might have overseen a great feature or article!
  • Do a follow-up in the first and second app visit (such as interviews, user experience research, questionnaire via the app or via e-mail). The biggest advantage is that you will also be able to reach the users who might not come back to the app.
  • Ask users to review the app and find out what they like and dislike.

Do you have any other tips? Feel free to share it with us!


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