More than a quarter of new apps only used once, says new study

Feb 2, 2011
Finance

App users can be a fickle lot. If they don’t like an app, they may toss it away like a used Kleenex, never to be seen again. Localytics is reporting that 26 percent of apps downloaded in 2010 were used just once. Brian Suthoff, of Localytics, a Boston software company that used real-time app analytics […]

App users can be a fickle lot. If they don’t like an app, they may toss it away like a used Kleenex, never to be seen again.

Localytics is reporting that 26 percent of apps downloaded in 2010 were used just once.

Brian Suthoff, of Localytics, a Boston software company that used real-time app analytics to analyze thousands of apps for Android OS, iPhone and other major platforms, said first impressions are key to app success.

“The good news is that customers seem very willing to give new apps a try—it took only two weeks for 8th grader Robert Nay’s Bubble Ball to unseat Angry Birds.” He blogged. “The bad news is that 26 percent of the time customers never give the app a second try. So make that first impression count and look beyond download statistics to understand real customer engagement.”

Suthoff maintains that having 74 percent of new customers use an app more than once is “pretty encouraging.”

He said app publishers need to understand their loyal users “to build a profitable business in this hyper-competitive market.” He added: “Knowing what dedicated customers look like also helps app publishers better target advertising and marketing campaigns—and measure their success.”

Sarah Perez reports in ReadWriteWeb said the research confirms that downloads alone are not valid to determine which apps are the best. “If a customer never opens your app or abandons it after only one (or two, or three…) uses, then high download numbers really mean you have a high churn rate,” she said.

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She cites Scott Kveton, CEO of Urban Airship, a mobile notifications provider, said that there’s only a 5 percent retention rate on free apps after 30 days. She concluded: “In that case, the numbers from Localytics are actually better news than expected.”

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