When apps crash, users get frustrated. When users get frustrated, they tend to uninstall apps. This generalization is a good motivator for creators of apps and games to work hard at eliminating bugs, but nobody had actually crunched the numbers to figure out every variable that goes into the relationship between app crashing and churn up until now. A new report from Apteligent highlights just how much churn rates are affected by app crashes, and what variables can affect that relationship. The headlining figure of the report is a whopping 534%, the insane jump from the baseline churn rate experienced by the average app when the per-user crash rate approaches 100%. While this number would technically mean that the app is unusable at the highest levels of churn and crash rate, the picture being painted is quite clear.
Every app has churn, no matter how good or well-coded it may be. After all, it’s only natural for users to get bored with an app or install it and find that it’s not to their taste. Apteligent’s data set deals with the churn rate beyond that, or the affect crash rate has on churn. The two appear to be directly proportional; apps that crash 20% of the time experience a 6% increase, jumping to 106% of the normal churn rate, while apps that up the ante to crashing 80% of the time see a 427% churn rate as a result.
While the core value of how often an app crashes is the main factor, there’s a bit more to the relationship between crash and churn than that. For starters, as one would guess, users who are less engaged with the app are less tolerant of crashes and will churn more easily than more engaged users. Additionally, statistics for iOS actually point to higher crash tolerance, though this may be at least partly due to the fact that iOS users can’t report a crash until they try to reload the crashed app. The numbers also reflects users giving crashed apps a chance one day and then not going back to them until later on; next-day app opens can be down upwards of 800% due to crashes. Finally, certain types of apps are less tolerant of crashes than others in their churn rate. Shopping, finance, and health apps were among the most sensitive, while travel apps, games, and sports apps tend to find more forgiving users. All things considered, the basic goal of “squash user-facing bugs that could cause crashes” shouldn’t be the only thing taken into account by app developers.