Ultimate Guide: How to increase your drawing app retention rate?

In this article, we'd like to share some tips on how to improve the retention rate of your existing or future drawing app as this app category has rapidly gained great popularity among users of all ages worldwide.

The latest forecasts by the mobile app analytics market claim that the future of the app industry is quite promising as the number of apps will skyrocket and consumer spending will close to $171 billion globally by 2024. Well, only time will tell, but it is fair to say that the more apps appear on the market, the harder it becomes to optimize the user retention. Especially when it comes to entertainment apps.

For starters...  

The retention rate is the percentage of active users coming back to your app over a given period of time which makes it the main indicator of your app relevance and profit.

To get a deeper insight into the retention rate basics and other analytics metrics reflecting the performance of your application, check out our previous guide about basic and the most important mobile app metrics.

Proven drivers of retention rate for drawing apps

Currently, various app stores literally swarm with drawing mobile applications available for all tastes: artists and creators may express their ideas, making use of professional tools like Photoshop Sketch or Procreate while amateur enthusiasts of all ages can just enjoy their moments of relaxation with such apps as Color Therapy and AntiStress Adult Coloring Book.

Despite the diversity and specifics of drawing mobile apps, I’ve gathered universal tips that may significantly boost up your retention rate.

1. Impress at first sight

It is hard to overestimate the power of first impression, and illustrative onboarding is the perfect way to start things right. Display the main steps, unique features beneficial for users and key competitive advantages with beautiful visuals to guide clients to the expected in-app behavior. 

Many developers neglect the implementation of the welcoming screens which, to my mind, is one of the crucial mistakes.

Though drawing apps are all about creativity, it is essential not to overwhelm users from the very start so 3-5 (max) onboarding screens with the key information will be more than enough to keep users informed and engaged.

2. Personalize your in-app content 

Let’s put it straight, users love personal approach! In that respect, personalization can, indeed, become a user motivation to get back to your app with the interest in what else you can surprise them with.

Nowadays, mobile devices can tell a lot of information about users, their location in particular, and that’s exactly what can play into your hands. 

For instance, if you plan to promote a color-by-number app, you may involve personalized content and smart recommendations, relevant for users from different countries and regions. Thus, a charming Thanksgiving postcard pattern will be on point in the US while beautiful sakura coloring patterns will be appreciated in Japan during Hanami in spring.

Moreover, with a focus on the data driven approach, you may divide coloring patterns into categories and set up the algorithm to offer users the templates in accordance with the content they prefer most.

3. Don’t overload the UI

For sure, design is a great field for experiments. As such, remember who your audience is when optimizing your app design and navigation, avoiding extra details and frustration gestures.

Perplexed by high competition, developers often try to stuff their drawing apps to capacity in order to enchant users. However, this strategy often leads to the opposite effect. A user, puzzled by the intricacies of the functionality, simply leaves the application for good and finds a more attractive and easy-to-use alternative.

Don’t forget that drawing apps are designed for enjoyable relaxation or creative expression so users obviously won't waste time delving into the details of the functionality. Thus, it is vital to ensure a smooth user experience over the entire in-app route.

4. Motivate & reward

Heating up the user’s interest is a long-lasting game, and one of the best methods to engage visitors’ return is to create growth cycles and loyalty programs.

In the context of drawing apps, you may introduce a series of painting challenges with rewards to motivate users to keep coming back and avoid the situation when a person just accomplishes a goal and leaves. 

Moreover, you may promote interaction between users, giving them the opportunity to comment and vote for each other’s artworks as well as share them on socials.

5. Keep users tuned

Being one of the easiest ways to communicate with users through the app, push notifications can help to coordinate user behavior, reminding them of the recent updates, challenges and promos that may be of their interest.

But once again, as in the case with the onboarding screens, it is important not to overwhelm users. Small reminders and useful recommendations may add to your retention rate but bombarding users with tons of spam will be extremely annoying. Follow the principle “the right time - the right place”.

On a final note

Though these 5 methods may seem obvious at first glance, in our experience, not many developers use them to optimize the retention rate. Since it is more rational to retain the existing users than acquire new ones, we strongly suggest making use of the proven options mentioned above to take your app rates to the next level.

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