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How Can Apps Retain Users? Be Honest

Two-thirds of mobile media users say transparency about app data collection, sharing is important

February 13, 2015

It’s become more important than ever for apps to clearly state how they will use consumers’ data, based on a Q3 2014 study by On Device Research for Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF) and AVG.

Importance of Knowing that a Mobile App Is Collecting/Sharing Personal Info According to Mobile Media Users Worldwide, Q3 2013 & Q3 2014 (% of respondents)

Nearly two-thirds of mobile media users polled worldwide said it was important to know that a mobile app was collecting or sharing their personal information. This was up 14 percentage points in just one year. Even more, the portion of respondents who felt transparency was “extremely” important leapt significantly year over year, from 42% in 2013 to 52% in 2014.

Apps that aren’t honest about data collection risk losing a large chunk of their audience. In an October 2014 study by AYTM Market Research, 70.7% of US mobile device owners said they would stop using an app if they found out it had uploaded or stored personal information or contacts without permission.

Ways in Which US Mobile Device Owners Would React if a Mobile App Uploaded/Stored Their Personal Information/Contacts*, Oct 2014 (% of respondents)

More than one-third of respondents also said they wouldn’t give apps permission to upload and store this data even for a practical reason; however, nearly half may be swayed if the app provided a good explanation of the purpose first.

Losing users isn’t the only problem: Trust issues hurt app installs, too. MEF and AVG reported that a lack of trust was the No. 1 factor preventing more downloads and purchases via mobile, with 34% of mobile media users saying so (vs. 30% in 2013). Nearly half (49%) said they downloaded or used fewer apps because of a lack of trust—up 12 percentage points from last year.

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