Featured: Communication and News Apps Garner Most Loyalty from Users

The folks over at Flurry, a mobile analytics firm, published an updated version of one of its most popular research reports. The report specifically focused on customer loyalty by app category, and this edition used the set of more than 700,000 apps currently available for the iPhone and iPad.

You may be surprised to see exactly how customers used their favorite apps, but first, let's talk about the data itself.

Flurry offers an analytics program that over 80,000 companies use, totaling the company's access to over 230,000 published apps. Flurry did not use stats from all of these apps, but it was still able to compile a sample of apps used more than 1.7 billion times per week over a course of 90 days.

The company then plotted those user statistics into the chart below, where the amount of time is represented on the x-axis and the frequency of use per week is represented on the y-axis.

The app categories listed on the chart were supplied mostly from the App Store, but Flurry did define subcategories when significant usage differences occurred. For example, social games and single-player games are listed separately in this chart.

As you can see, the data is placed on 4 quadrants according to their usage and loyalty ratings.

Here's how Flurry defined the quadrants.

Quadrant I includes apps that are used intensively and to which consumers are loyal over time. - News and communication apps were the only two categories in this quadrant, which makes sense. Both types of apps address needs in our society, and they "tend to have stable, growing audiences."

Quadrant II is comprised of apps that are used intensively, but for finite periods of time. They are perceived by consumers to deliver value in bursts. - These apps are incredibly useful, but only for short bursts of time. Dating apps are usually only used when a person needs to make a new connection. Once the connection's made, there's no more need for the app. Streaming music, social gaming, and social media sites are also included here.

Quadrant III contains apps that are used infrequently and have high churn. They contain the most "one-and-dones." Flurry specifically cited personalization apps for this quadrant as something that you would need to set up one time to change out design features, but then you wouldn't need to keep messing with the app after that.

Quadrant IV is made up of apps that are used infrequently but deliver very high value when used. These are your travel apps, your weather apps, and your banking apps. They may not be the most glamorous app on your device, but they are important when you use them.

Understanding the usage frequency of these apps should help developers understand what type of business model to construct. Flurry suggests that Quadrant I and IV apps are best suited for subscription or ad-based models. quadrant II is best suited for offers of additional content or features when customers are intensely using the apps, and Quadrant IV is best for offering new content and/or functionality for repeat visits. Because users continue to come back on a regular basis, quadrant I and IV apps are great for in-apps sales, as well.

Compared to its 2009 report, 90-day retention rates are up from 25% to 35% total, but the frequency of use has dropped from 6.7 to 3.7 times per day.

Sources: TechCrunch, Flurry

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About the Author
If Michael isn't glued to his phone or tablet, then he's probably got his nose in a sci-fi book. He is a professional in the SEO / SEM space, and he is deeply engaged in the way that tech affects the way we communicate. And, you know, he also thinks all these gadgets are pretty cool toys!