Case Study

How PlantSnap Uses RFM to Increase Day 30 Retention

2.6xIncrease in day-30 retention rate
43%Retention rate across 33 M users

The PlantSnap story

In 2012, Eric Ralls spotted a flower that caught his eye. Except Google couldn’t tell him what it was called. Realizing that the existing solutions were to either be an expert gardener or carry around a library of plant identification books, Ralls built a plant identification app that grew into PlantSnap.

In 2019, the app featured over 600,000 plants, 200 million plant images, and over 30 million app installs. Today, PlantSnap is much more than a plant identification tool; it’s a global community of plant lovers who are both collaborating on horticultural knowledge and helping to further climate study.


  • User Data Understand user activity
  • Segmentation Increase purchases
  • Targeted Engagement Send targeted campaigns

PlantSnap was initially launched as a paid app. To boost user acquisition, they decided to switch the revenue model from paid to freemium. Within the first month of making that transition, the app saw over half a million downloads. The PlantSnap team also wanted to release the app to a global user base, since plant identification is a universal challenge. They worked to provide translations in 37 languages. Soon, Ralls and his team realized that tracking marketing efforts and ROI with a freemium app was entirely different from a paid app.


For any app, converting freemium users to paid users can be challenging. The right communication needs to be sent to the right audience at the right time. And conversations need to be optimized on a timely basis to ensure the best response.Using CleverTap, the PlantSnap team is able to track user activity and implement timely interventions to increase engagement and subscriptions.

Push Notification

The team uses push to send relevant, contextual, and personalized messages to attract user attention and entice them back into the app. This has helped them target users before they drop off as well as re-engage lapsed users, with a significant improvement on long-term retention rates.

RFM Analysis

With RFM (Recency, Frequency and Monetary) Analysis, the team breaks down its entire user base into 10 groups based on three key parameters: recency of app use, frequency of app use, and monetary spending. This enables them to identify key user segments like champions, loyal users, inactive users, and more.


Journeys enable PlantSnap to build and deliver omnichannel campaigns based on user behavior and location. They can now send automated campaigns that engage users at the perfect time and deliver value to new users early and often.


“CleverTap not only allows user communication, it also enables us to track events, create user journeys, and build targeted engagement for users both outside and inside the app. CleverTap is definitely a valuable tool for any marketer.” Eric Ralls Founder and CEO

What’s next?

PlantSnap aspires to be an open-source platform for the scientific community and climate change experts at large. With hundreds of thousands of plant species waiting to be snapped and mapped, the app has a goal of mapping every plant species on Earth by 2022. PlantSnap also plans to diversify its offering to include mushroom and insect identification. In addition, Ralls anticipates adding gamification elements in order to make the app more engaging.