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Our Love and Hate Affair With Mobile Apps

February 8, 2016 - Written By Cory McNutt

AppsFlyer has released a new study by on ‘The State of App Marketing‘ and it brings many interesting facts to light, for both App Developers, App Marketing and App users.  What was once a few years ago an occupation in its infancy, Apps have now blossomed into a thriving and highly competitive business.  Data from comScore shows that during the second half of 2015, the average App user is spending 87-percent of their mobile time using mobile Apps, compared to only 13-percent of their time searching the mobile web.  Another report put out in September 2015 by Flurry, discovered for the first time that App usage exceeded time watching TV.

Because of its competitive nature, marketing Apps is becoming increasingly expensive – just trying to grab someone’s attention is a struggle in this ocean of choices.  With the quantity of Apps available and new ones coming out all of the time, there is a massive churn rate to worry about – how long App users continue to use an App before they move on to something else.  App users may jump on board and play with a new App for weeks at a time, but then become bored and move on to something new.  This retention rate, which we talk about later, is an important key for App advertisers.

Many developers try to generate a non-organic install – those installs that use incentives by the App marketer to get us to install.  This is opposed to an organic install done by the customer because of their high level of interest in the App – this can be either a paid or free App download – because studies show the chances of organic downloads can occur with the frequency of winning the lotto.  It is becoming increasingly important that the proper market segment is addressed with ‘pinpoint advertising.’

To narrow things down a bit, we will concern ourselves with Android Apps and in North America in the first chart below…although iOS are also listed.  The green line follows the Android App installs per day – generally higher on the weekends, and tapering off from a high on Saturdays to a low on Fridays.  This chart also shows iOS App installs by day and it closely follows Android App installs, although Android never drops as low as iOS except slightly on Fridays.  App engagement with users is nearly opposite, with weekend being slower and Monday by far the busiest day…perhaps a way to forget about work on Monday?  Again, iOS users follow a similar pattern except for the huge discrepancy on Sundays where iOS uses are highly engaged in using their Apps.

Another area of study is the all-important Conversion Rate of an App – how may users actually click on and use the App or advertisement to make a purchase.  The top four App categories with the highest conversion rate are Transportation (6.72-percent), News and Magazines (6.16), Lifestyle (5.5) and Finance (4.78).  They are considered ‘intent-driven’ because users that click on these ads know what to expect, tend to install the Apps and this leads to a higher conversion rate.  One would think that Gaming, which only has a 2.08-percentage, would be higher, but with the intense competition, it is tougher to keep users engaged.  While Shopping Apps grab users with incredible deals, most do not want to use them once they discover that they must download an App to take advantage.

The most interesting chart here is the Retention Rate – the percentage of active users that actually installed the App and how long they stay engaged.  The chart shows the retention rate by Day One, Day Seven and Day 30 so you can see how the retention drops off as the month goes on.   The best Apps for retention fall under the Music and Audio Apps – the first day s 40-percent, the seventh day it drops to 23-percent and by the 30th day drops down to about 13-percent, which would be considered a victory by App marketers.  Productivity and Social Apps are second and third, respectively, and Transportation, while lower on the first day, maintains a fairly high 30-day retention rate.  Entertainment Apps are the worse – only maintain about 1-percent of users after 30 days.

Appsflyer analyzed more than 1.1 non-organic App installs of over 6,000 Apps from June 1 to December 15, 2015 for this study and represent Social, Games, Entertainment, Shopping, Communication, Music, Travel, Business and more.  There are more results and conclusions in the full study, too.  Do your App habits reflect these results?