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Melissa Coleman, Adjust VP for Global Customer Success, on Fitness Apps Gaining Edge Through Retention

Melissa Coleman, Adjust VP for Global Customer Success, on Fitness Apps Gaining Edge Through Retention


Following is a guest post that the vice president of global customer success at Adjust, Melissa Coleman, wrote for Athletech News.

Digital Fitness is Sticking Around: Ways Health and Fitness Apps can Gain a Competitive Edge by Focusing on Retention

by Melissa Coleman

There are many habits we acquired over the past two years that are here to stay — and fitness apps look like one of them. An Allied Research report released last month revealed that the global fitness app market size is projected to hit $120.37 billion by 2030. Compare that to the $13.7 billion market value in 2020. 

Our data shows that in March 2020, fitness app installs increased by 473.5% compared to the yearly average of 2020. And users were very serious about their commitment to their health as sessions grew by 419.6% in May. Fast forward to January 2022 — installs soared 8% above the 2021 average while sessions were 58% higher than Christmas Day 2021 — revealing that the demand for fitness apps remains strong going into 2022.

Fitness app installs 2021-Jan 2022

And this growth isn’t limited to the mobile space. According to McKinsey research, “The market for health and wellness products and services is growing by 5 to 10 percent per year, depending on the region” — and investment has followed with a whopping $2 billion raised from investors in 2020. Looking ahead, the Global Wellness Institute projects the Wellness Economy to grow to nearly $7 trillion in 2025. 

The numbers are clear: the interest in fitness apps is here to stay. Consequently, when users embrace this app category, the competition heats up for those users. App Annie’s State of Mobile 2021 Report estimated that over 71,000 health and fitness apps were launched globally in 2020 alone. Therefore, success in this booming app vertical demands strategic planning.

Focus on retention with features that serve your users

Existing users are more important than ever. It costs much more to acquire a new user than it does to retain an existing one, yet many apps still focus their budgets on user acquisition (UA). Perhaps the biggest benefit of turning your marketing efforts to retention is that so many other fitness app companies have yet to embrace this strategy — meaning you have a chance to  be a leader and carve out a true competitive edge. 

Turning your attention to retention means thinking about the features you offer and how you can enhance them to better meet customer needs. It’s not enough to think about what they need now, but also think ahead to capabilities that will continue to set your fitness app apart. 

For instance, Adjust client and Co-Founder and CTO of SwingVision, Richard Hsu, says, “To continue our growth, we built out more features to support solo practice sessions with the use of ball machines or general serve practice and drill sessions to even be able to practice hand-eye coordination techniques at home with a #SwingAtHome challenge… As we look toward the future, we understand that staying connected is truly important, and our next challenge is providing easier access to being able to share match videos and highlights and staying engaged with fellow players.”

Think about cross-device strategies

Features that meet your users’ needs are one part of the retention puzzle. Increasingly, people are branching out and using multiple apps. McKinsey reports that “While other goods and services compete intensely for a finite number of consumer purchases, fitness consumers continue to use a widening array of services, tools, and solutions to help them look, feel, and function better.” So it pays to think about a cross-device and even sometimes a cross-app strategy. Letting users connect multiple devices and accounts helps make your app an integral part of a user’s larger wellness strategy.

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Berk Yilmaz, Chief Growth Officer at Meditopia, says, “We connect all the dots around overall wellness while customizing the experience for each individual. We do this not only by making it easier for people to converge data from their multiple devices, but by offering features and content that are specifically designed for that individual based on the data from those devices.”

For example, if you have a user who wears their smartwatch while biking and running but prefers to manually enter data about their yoga practice in an iPad, it’s imperative that you accommodate that need.   

Loyal customers lead to new customers

When you provide a valuable experience for loyal users, they have a habit of helping you find new users through word-of-mouth. There is nothing more valuable than a happy customer telling a friend with similar fitness habits about the app they just can’t live without. If you focus your energy on building a product that is indispensable to your audience, they will reward you by helping you grow.

About the Author

Melissa Coleman, Adjust VP for global customer success

Melissa Coleman is vice president of global customer success at Adjust, overseeing the management of the company’s existing client base globally. She is responsible for retention and revenue expansion, identifying growth opportunities and introducing customers to new Adjust solutions. Having worked for several advertising and mobile companies prior to Adjust, Melissa is passionate about helping clients problem solve and driving innovation through mutual trust and collaboration.

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