What is User Stickiness?

User stickiness refers to how often and frequently users engage with an app or platform over a period of time. It is a measure of user loyalty and retention.

The more “sticky” an app is, the more users will keep opening and using it day after day or week after week.

Highly sticky apps are able to drive habit-forming user behavior and create deeply ingrained routines.

App stickiness is often measured by the stickiness ratio, which compares daily or monthly active users to total installed users over a time period.

This shows what percentage of the user base is retained and actively engaging with the app on an ongoing basis.

What is the difference between stickiness and retention?

While related, stickiness and retention measure slightly different aspects of user behavior:

  • Retention shows how many users continue using the app over a longer term after initially installing it. For example 1-month retention is the % of users still active after 1 month.
  • Stickiness looks at continual short-term engagement, like DAU/MAU or sessions per user per week. It focuses on habitual usage rather than long-term install base retention.
  • An app can have strong stickiness but weak longer-term retention, meaning users engage frequently at first but churn quickly. Strong retention and stickiness mean users install, come back consistently and stay active for extended periods.

What is a good app stickiness ratio?

There is no universal benchmark for good app stickiness given variance by category. 

However, some general guidelines per vertical:

  • Social & communications apps: >60% DAU/MAU; sessions per user per week: 5+
  • Personal productivity: >40% DAU/MAU; sessions per user per week: 3-4+
  • Business & Finance: >30% DAU/MAU; sessions per user per week: 2-3+
  • Games: DAU/MAU >25%; sessions per user per day: 2+
  • News & Media: DAU/MAU >20%; sessions per user per week: 2+
  • Shopping: Weekly active users >25% of monthly active; sessions per user per month: 2+

Of course, newer apps will start lower and increase stickiness over time as they improve. Monitoring stickiness KPIs can reveal if usage is developing habitual long-term engagement.

How do you increase stickiness on apps?

Some strategies to improve user stickiness include:

  • Build habit-forming routines: Get users to visit daily through regular notifications, incentives, and reasons to check-in. Make key actions fast and frictionless.
  • Drive notifications: Prompt users and give reasons to return with timely, relevant push notifications and in-app messages. But avoid being too spammy.
  • Improve onboarding: Guide new users to experience core product value early and successfully form usage habits.
  • Personalize experience: Customize and tailor the app to individual interests and needs to make it more relevant.
  • Target power users: Identify and cater to your most engaged users with specialized features and benefits.
  • Gamify app: Use goals, points, levels, and other game mechanics to encourage ongoing participation.
  • Leverage FOMO: Give users fear of missing out by highlighting in-app activity, new content, or limited events.
  • Optimize UX: Reduce friction, simplify flows, and streamline navigation to make frequent use easy.
  • Add network effects: Let users interact with each other to increase value from greater engagement.

Monitoring metrics like DAU/MAU, churn and session frequency will reveal whether efforts to enhance stickiness are working. Stickiness is key for long-term app success.


Q1: What is a good user stickiness ratio?

A1: A good user stickiness ratio is over 20%.

Q2: What is a good stickiness metric? 

A2: Session length, pages per session, and churn rate are good stickiness metrics.

Q3: How do you measure website stickiness?

A3: By analyzing metrics like repeat visits, pages per visit, and average session duration.

Q4: What is the product stickiness ratio?

A4: The product stickiness ratio measures active users divided by total users. 

Q5: What is the difference between stickiness and retention?

A5: Stickiness refers to engagement during a session, while retention refers to users returning over time.

Q6: What is the difference between stickiness ratio and retention rate?

A6: Stickiness ratio measures engagement during a single session, retention rate measures users returning over multiple sessions.

Sunil Gill
Sunil Gill

A digital entrepreneur with over 9 years of experience in digital marketing. Over the years, I have developed a strong passion for app marketing and love to create engaging and informative content around it.