It is good news for app developers, according to Localytics
, a Boston-based software company that offers a mobile app analytics platform, which has found that app retention is on the rise by 19% over the past year.
The company explained that the improvement is due to app publishers shifting from an early focus on downloads to more mature customer acquisition and retention models.
It also noted that “app publishers for the iPhone and iPad saw the greatest success, with retention rates 52% higher than those on Android.”
The company explained that app marketing is evolving. In the beginning of the Android and Apple app stores, publishers concentrated on developing an initial presence, and measured their success by the total number of downloads its app received.
It further noted that many of those downloads were poorly acquired and never turned into long-term customers. Indeed in March last year, the company found that 26% of downloaded apps were only used once.
Change is afoot
However, the tide has changed, as app marketing has moved towards a focus on customer retention and lifetime value. Indeed, to our view it seems as though continued improvements, added features, and in the case of mobile games, ongoing downloadable content (DLC) has much to do with this.
Our experience has been that new features and significant updates help us ‘rediscover’ an old app, as if for the first time, and in some cases forestall us deleting it from our device altogether.
Localytics pointed out that a publisher’s app and web users are very different. Whereas websites attract many casual users who arrive from search, social or referring links, app users more purposefully install an app and return directly to it, self-selecting themselves as more qualified and more valuable customers.
Localytics has compared app retention on both iOS and Android platforms,
with the former coming out ahead.
iPhone and iPad apps leading the way
It should come as little surprise to those who run apps on both platforms that not all apps are created equally. The company found that iPhone and iPad users are 52% more loyal to their apps than Android users. Additionally, it revealed that a healthy 35% of Apple iOS users launched an app more than ten times after downloading it, as compared to 23% of Android users.
The average Android app also suffers from 24% one-time usage rate compared to a 21% one-time usage rate for iPhone and iPad.
To the point
Even so, Localytics pointed out that improvements in app retention on both platforms suggests that many app publishers are simply building better apps, whether the app targets the mass market or a niché market. It added that the general public surely gained experience over the last year too, and are likely making more informed, discerning choices about what apps to try.
This is heartening news indeed. While there has been no shortage of focus on new hardware that has been unveiled of late, such as the Windows Surface tablets
and Google’s Nexus tablet
, it’s easy to forget sometimes that the app ecosystem is no less critical.
Better apps means more value across the board on any supporting device, and that is something that is good news for all users.