Nearly half of the world is on a smartphone, with the vast majority connecting to their interests every day via mobile applications. Apps keep us productive, connected, informed, and entertained. And there are more than enough to choose from. Between iOS and Android, users can select from among 1.8 and 2.7 million mobile applications, respectively.
With so many apps now competing for our attention, acquiring users has become a real battle for app developers, and engagement and retention strategies are critical to maintaining loyal users.
Flurry Analytics is used in over 1 million mobile applications worldwide, providing insights from 2 billion smart devices per month. To help developers benchmark their app’s performance and design performance-driven acquisition and monetization strategies, Flurry Analytics recently revisited our app loyalty matrix, which allows us to dive into user engagement rates by app category.
In this analysis, we highlight weekly usage frequency and rolling retention rates. We believe this provides a more accurate picture of engagement than a day seven retention rate, by showing app usage that occurs on or after the seventh day post-install. Let’s take a look.
The chart above looks at a curated list of mobile apps across each category, and how often these apps are used compared to how long consumers continued to use them overtime. We plot each category by average seven-day rolling retention rate on the x-axis and weekly frequency of use on the y-axis. The data is based on worldwide metrics.
The first quadrant in the top right corner includes app categories that have frequent use and low churn—the holy grail for app developers—and result in high user loyalty. These categories include finance, shopping, weather, and health and fitness, which typically have stable and engaged audiences. App developers in these categories will have many more opportunities to monetize using ads and subscriptions.
The second quadrant in the upper left-hand corner contains app categories that are used frequently until a user churns. These categories include communication and social, business, sports, productivity, gaming, music, and entertainment. These apps require broad, ongoing acquisition strategies to constantly find new consumers. Developers also need to identify ways to re-engage lapsed users through timely push notifications, social media campaigns, or email reminders that offer new content or functionality during binge usage.
The third quadrant, in the lower-left hand corner, contains app categories that have infrequent use and high churn. With categories like books, photo and video, food and drink, navigation, and education, these apps are probably the trickiest for developers, who are challenged with keeping users engaged for the long term. Since the app’s value diminishes almost immediately, they are best monetized with premium pricing models that charge the consumer before providing access to the content, or by charging for the content itself.
App categories in the fourth quadrant, in the bottom right corner, are faced with low frequency of use, but high retention rates. News apps sit in this corner. In the digital era, most of us use news apps when pulled in through a news story. Developers might not need to worry about churn, but creating reasons to use the app throughout the week can be challenging. A subscription-based service can enable developers to generate a predictable source of revenue from such apps.
The app economy has flourished as app quality increased and smartphones flooded the market. However, increased competition means app developers must develop well-considered strategies to maintain new user acquisition and keep audiences engaged and loyal. This is where Flurry Analytics can help, so please get in touch with us or try out Flurry Analytics for your mobile app.
—Lisa Moshfegh, Product Marketing, Yahoo