How Yonder Increased App Retention by up to 1800%

Yonder Music is a bold, feature rich, digital music service headquartered in New York City, and provides its users with commercial-free access to millions of songs to download, play and share. Unlike competitors such as Spotify and Soundcloud, the Yonder Music app democratises the music business by enabling device manufacturers and mobile network providers to bulk purchase Yonder licenses, which are in turn made available on participating smart devices and mobile plans at no cost or data charge to the user.


Launching in Malaysia in early 2016, Yonder rapidly grew to over 1 million subscribers in Malaysia, Indonesia and Bangladesh. Meanwhile, the music app continued to evolve its product to stay ahead of the curve, utilising AI to power forward-looking features. Predictive text and a Pathing function that enables users to adjust their musical journey track by track without entering a new search were some examples of features designed to make the user experience more seamless.

Yonder released these functions in its 2017 update, which also revised its user experience and appearance to be more intuitive, and added other features such as Snap Karaoke. With hype around the redesign, new features and extensive improvements, it created an opportunity to attract a new wave of users. Their growth strategy also included expansion to new markets such as Sri Lanka and Nepal.

At the same time, it aimed to re-engage previous users who were looking forward to the new functionality and updates. As a fast-growing app with constant updates and a rapidly-expanding music library, it was a challenge to communicate updates and improvements to millions of users. It was essential to accurately analyse each user’s behavior and target them with the right messages. Yonder worked with AdParlor Asia from September to December 2017 to cover Malaysia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Nepal and ensure each segment was reached effectively to grow usage and retention.


As Yonder’s long-term digital marketing partner, AdParlor possessed extensive historical data on previous campaigns and usage information. AdParlor further gathered data on each market and found that the majority of Yonder’s target audience had already installed the app, but either lapsed, or do not use the app frequently.

To increase usage and retention, Yonder’s users needed to be educated about the value proposition of free music streaming, or possible uses of the app in daily situations.

Based on previous user feedback requesting for a wider selection of music, Yonder also greatly expanded their library and needed to inform users about the latest additions. Hence, AdParlor made the recommendation to focus on re-engagement, while acquiring new users with a similar profile.

The audience was segmented into three groups:

  1. Recent users – Users who recently installed Yonder and need to be engaged to boost retention and usage
  2. Lapsed users – Users who used Yonder before but stopped, and need to be educated about Yonder’s additions and improvements
  3. Potential users – Users who who have not installed Yonder yet, and need to be engaged to raise awareness.

Additionally, AdParlor identified that without engagement, 72% of consumers will lapse within 2 days of installing the app. Automation would be key to rapidly adding new users to drip campaigns and ensuring they were engaged and onboarded before the two-day drop-off time.

Based on these insights, AdParlor devised new key messages targeted at each segment’s pain points. For instance, new users could receive suggestions on possible usage scenarios such as a morning commute playlist, a workout playlist or a playlist for parties to inspire more frequent usage.

Potential users could be attracted to install based on Yonder’s unique proposition of no data charges, based on market research and data suggesting data charges were one of mobile users’ largest pain points.

For lapsed users, the latest artists and singles was identified as a strong factor to drive re-use.

Utilising data and insights to identify the strongest ‘pull’ factors, Yonder’s creative strategy would incorporate these points to create empathy with users.


Building on the proposed direction, AdParlor’s creative team fleshed out a complete set of creatives for each segment, optimised for a range of platforms including: Facebook, Google’s Universal App Campaign and YouTube.

To grow awareness and acquire new users, AdParlor used a creative that raised awareness of Yonder’s differentiators. By testing a range of value propositions and creatives, they found that highlighting zero data costs was by far the most effective call to action, as streaming apps, even if free, tended to consume large amounts of data.

To retain active users, AdParlor automated creative generation to constantly refresh ads based on new artists and songs of the week. These would then deep link directly to a relevant playlist in the Yonder app. From Facebook or other apps, users could seamlessly play new additions on Yonder with one tap, then return to the app they were using. This created a way for Yonder to engage with users frequently, yet meaningfully.

To onboard new users, within two minutes of downloading the app, users would be automatically added to the “New Users” segment and targeted with the same creatives encouraging them to use Yonder to experience the latest content from local and international artists. This would solve the “last mile” challenge of users installing the app, then forgetting to run it, and positions Yonder as an app that is constantly updated with the latest content.

Within two days of non-use, users would automatically be transitioned to the “Lapsed Users” segment and targeted with a variant, featuring top artists and songs of the week, while emphasizing zero data costs. These creatives would be automatically generated from a central content hub, combining the latest artists and albums with customised “zero data” messaging for lapsed users. By breaking down potential barriers to reinstallation and re-use, Yonder aimed to re-acquaint these users with the updated experience and showcase their rapidly-expanding music collection.

As audiences were predominantly young adults aged 18 to 34, ad copy drafted in an informal, fun and friendly tone was found to appeal best to them, especially with usage of gemak street lingo.


Yonder’s zero data selling point proved to be highly popular in their target markets. New user acquisition across their target markets increased ranging from 46% to 270% in respective regional markets. In Malaysia where Yonder already had an established presence, new users grew by 59%, putting Yonder Music on a steady climb on the Play store, where they broke into the top 5 Music apps for the first time, and continued to rise to #3 in 2018. In Bangladesh, new users grew by 270% during the campaign period, propelling Yonder to #1 on the Play Store.

Retention also more than doubled as users drew inspiration from re-engagement ads to play the latest releases and utilise Yonder at different points in the day. The number of monthly active users retained for 30 days doubled in Malaysia, while Bangladesh saw a whopping 1,800% increase and Indonesia a 346% increase in retention.

Re-engagement with deep-links to playlists also proved highly effective. By using analytics to identify and focus on the most popular new artists, AdParlor drove a cost-effective 291 actions per advertising dollar spent in Malaysia, leading to increased usage and retention for a fraction of the cost to acquire a new user. Monthly active users almost doubled from 43,000 in September 2017 to 84,000 in December 2017.

Yonder also received a holistic learning summary from on strategy & approach towards platform, creative element, content & messaging for each market – which served as a cheat sheet for future ads.

By building on Yonder’s extensive data and wide user base, with a deep understanding of user behavior and preferences and utilising automation to segment and customise users in real-time, AdParlor successfully drove greater app usage and retention for Yonder Music.

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