Monday, July 18, 2011

Magic Word "retention"

Retention. Retention. Retention.

If you work at PerBlue you will hear this word a lot. If you don't, you may not, but you should. Why? Because retention matters.

First, what is retention? Retention is having a person do a certain behavior over and over again. Basically, retention is having a person stay in their current state.

An example from the game world: Will a Parallel Kingdom player continue to play tomorrow and the next day, next week or next month. Retention metrics are often difficult because they depend on how much time has passed. An example of a retention metric: 50% 4 day retention, which means 50% of the users who started still playing four days later. You can have retention rates for any period of time.

Why does this matter? Retention matters because it shows consistency in behavior. It can be used to predict revenue and active user base. But most importantly, it is an extremely strong indicator of satisfaction. It is a strong indicator of a good business, organization, or relationship.

Retention is all over the place. In the software space, it's about revisiting a website, or continuing to use a product. In cell phone land it's about staying with a career or a platform like iPhone or Android.

Retention can be considered with church bodies or even spiritually. Or with a political party. Retention rates even vary in many people's personal relationships. Some people keep partners for longer periods of time. Some people have very short retention rates. You'll see almost all famous tech products have very high retention rates.

So why am I writing about this? Thinking in terms of retention allows us to think about the world differently. Retention is a leading indicator of success, it is also a leading indicator of failure. By measuring retention rates, you can get a more clear picture of how you are doing.

Hope this was interesting.