The golden rule of engagement is this: remember that your app users are people, not just a compilation of information. While the 3x3 rule is an intelligent and data-driven way to ensure that the first few app experiences are worthwhile, it’s key to think of retention as an ongoing initiative. 

Retention trends today show that repeat visits are difficult to maintain. Think back to the Forrester data: if most users spend the majority of their time in only a handful of apps, getting your app into the lineup is the challenge at hand. 

But, when we look at some of the data surrounding retention in push-enabled users at 11+ sessions or in apps that leverage in-app messaging, the importance of ongoing programs becomes clear. Organic (stand-alone) retention might not be enough to keep your app progressing, but the data shows that using tactics like push notifications, in-app messaging, email and remarketing make a huge difference when used. 

More importantly, app retention is going to be impacted by your cross-channel strategy. Mobile moments need to be complemented by an omni-channel presence, so that your relationship with customers is built on ease, emotion and enjoyment. You can use data collected about your customers in-app to better personalize their brand experiences outside of the app - without overstepping the line. The goal is to be present, accessible and persuasive without being pushy. This is how successful apps and brands today are building loyalty.