Persisting user data by providing mechanisms for account registration and sign-in assist usability and can increase retention. US prepaid smartphone users upgrade every 7–8 months(post-paid a more moderate 18–20 months) and break them far more often than that. Thus, the challenge for retention is not just to increase session frequency, but also to incentivize users to re-install the app onto new devices, or to initiate sessions on borrowed or desktop computers (assuming a web experience exists) when their main device is not available.
Creating an account arguably increases the user’s investment in a product or platform. User accounts provide a way to collect more information about users such as email addresses, phone numbers, or other user attributes that can be used for lifecycle marketing purposes. They also give users a place to call home and a sense of identity within the product: offering personalization options (e.g. customizable avatar/username/profile picture, themes, etc.) further increases the user’s emotional investment and reduces their likelihood to churn, at least when properly integrated into the overall experience. Finally, the account registration process can be designed to provide opportunities for users to invite colleagues or friends (e.g. via contact list import) or connect with other users on the platform, increasing network effects.
Account creation should be as frictionless as possible. Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, among others, offer simple account creation and sign-in without requiring users to create new passwords, which increases the chances that users will complete the process.