Getting an application developed, marketed and launched into the Google Play Store is only part of the successful app process. For a long time, people were interested in the number of downloads any given application has had and used this to determine how successful this is. However, how many applications have you downloaded onto your device only to use it for a few minutes and then either uninstall or never use again? How many applications does your device have that the manufacturer or carrier included in the software that you’re never going to use? Instead, developers and analysts are looking for increasingly sophisticated ways to measure an application’s popularity with users under the broad term “engagement.” They’re looking to measure how often users launch an application, how frequently they use it and for how long. Other metrics may include application persistence and other applications installed and actively used, too. This information is interesting for users, investors, competitors and of course, bloggers and reporters.
Let’s take a look at some of the information gleaned from the service so far, which shows how frequently an application is launched. The information revealed by SimilarWeb is very much as suspected: Facebook, Chrome, Google, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Whatsapp, Minecraft and all highly used applications. So too is HTC BlinkFeed and this shows one weakness of application launch statistics, because BlinkFeed is the HTC Sense launcher incorporating the information gathering pages. This application will be launched multiple times a day by people with HTC devices but it is not clear how successful the information pages of BlinkFeed are. In the paid application category, we again see a number of launchers and the most popular is the Next Launcher 3D Shell, ranked at the third most popular application behind Minecraft and GPS Pro.
How does the service gather information? Here’s one of the interesting parts: SimilarWeb keeps much of its methodology private, but it uses other applications it has on the market where users agree to share their data back with the company. This can skew results: one of my devices has only one third-party application installed, so I’m sure it won’t be reporting back to SimilarWeb as to my application usage statistics. There are many users who only install a select few applications onto their devices and SimilarWeb’s service cannot reach them. That leaves an untapped market.
SimilarWeb are not the only service provider investigating quality app-use metrics, they join Facebook’s Onavo, App Annie, 7Park Data and Mobidia. So what do our readers think of various applications installed on your device snooping on your usage profile and telling companies what you’re up to on your device? Does this bother you? Will this make you scrutineer the permissions list of new applications? Or do you think it can be used to make better, more relevant applications for you? Let us know in the comments below.