Why Wellness Apps Have Low Retention and Engagement 

by | Sep 27, 2022

Why Wellness Apps Have Low Retention and Engagement 

How many fitness, health, or wellness apps have you downloaded in the past 60 days? What about the last year? If you’re like many people, you get excited when you see a new app hit the market but struggle to make most of those resources work for you long term. Wellness app retention is a struggle industry-wide, but what makes sticking with a mobile wellness program so difficult? 

Most users are looking for simple apps that solve real problems without intruding on their busy lives too much. Some of the reasons a user may uninstall an app or simply stop using it include: 

  • Missing features they really need or want 
  • Lack of in-app support to boost motivation 
  • Constant technical glitches – unreliability 
  • Narrow focus (easy to outgrow) 
  • Too complicated to setup 
  • Too time-consuming for daily use 

The good news is that mobile wellness program retention rates are improving. App designers are starting to learn what users need and want, so we can only get better with time. 

Qualities that Improve Wellness App Retention 

A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health distributed 420 questionnaires to fitness mobile app users over a three-month period. The final data was collected from 399 completed questionnaires. They found that users considered the following app qualities most important: 

  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Easy to understand information
  • Ease of use 
  • Easy to apply in daily life
  • Privacy protection 
  • Device compatibility 
  • Accurate exercise information 
  • Design efficiency 
  • Setting to record amount of daily exercise
  • Convenient interface and icons
  • Appropriate provisions for images and videos 

Most study participants indicated satisfaction with the top six qualities on that list for the apps that they actively used. The bottom five qualities were rated as important, but many study participants felt the apps fell short in those areas. 

These results tell us that app users are looking for accuracy, design efficiency, and convenience. They’re searching for affordable apps that become a natural part of their daily routines rather than yet another item on their to-do list. That explains why BetterYou is delivering spectacular results when it comes to wellness program retention. Let’s discuss that next. 

A Wellness App that Works Beyond Expectations 

One benchmark for wellness app retention is how many users continue to actively use the app three months after their start date. Research has proven that engagement on most mental health apps drops dramatically within the first 30 days after download. The results are similar whether you look at mental health, happiness, or mindfulness/meditation apps. 

BetterYou retention rates at the 3-month mark are double that of competitors. We believe it is because we created a health and wellness app that checks off all the boxes of what our users consider important. For starters, BetterYou is a versatile app that allows each user to set goals that matter to them, changing their goals easily at any moment. That can drive wellness app retention more than apps that focus on one specific goal or one area of mental or physical improvement. 

The following qualities allow our users to stay consistent with daily actions that lead them to their goals: 

  • Ease of Use – Once you set your goals, BetterYou runs in the background of your mobile device and collects data for you. You don’t have to pause your life for manual entry every time you do something for your health. 
  • Simple Design – Don’t allow the simplicity of our app to fool you. While it’s near effortless on the user end, a lot of advanced design and planning went into its creation. We wanted our users to glance at the app and see their progress instantly. 
  • Non-Intrusive Interaction – BetterBot is our solution to a major problem with many health and wellness apps. You want a fun app that interacts with you, but those interactions shouldn’t intrude on your daily life. That’s why we created a fun digital coach capable of sending personalized messages and gentle nudges at just the right time rather than all the time. 
  • Realistic Results – Have you seen ads for apps and wellness programs that claim you could lose up to 30 pounds in the next month or somehow turn your entire life around in just 10 days? BetterYou avoids sensational claims and sticks to realistic results from real people with busy lives. For example, after 30 days of consistent use, more than 40% of BetterYou users increase their daily activity level by 500 steps. 
  • Simple Integrations – Many BetterYou users easily integrate the app with fitness trackers, making the app more useful and easier to track. Apps that only work on their own are less convenient. 
  • Motivation Features – BetterYou has a motivating interface that allows users to see progress bars wrap around a fun circle. Each circle represents a different goal. Watching the circles move closer to a complete lap is motivating for people of all ages. Then there are the rewards like gift cards, which are motivating as well. 

You can learn more about BetterYou online or download it directly to your Android or Apple device. The design is so intuitive that you can download and follow prompts to get started right away.

Interested in learning more about how we can help your employee population improve their steps and sleep while reducing burnout?

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