Most Smartphone Users Don’t Bother Using Apps

Do you ever feel that you’ll be using an app for a lifetime after downloading it? Well, think again for a Silicon Valley analyst Andrew Chen has confirmed what we knew already: we hardly ever use most of the apps we have on our phones.

His website shows an app retention curve for Android apps which projects the usage stats within days of an app’s downloading and as expected, the biggest fall comes in the beginning few days.

According to Chen, an average app loses 77 of its users within 3 days of its installation. After a month that number bloats to 90 percent while after 90 days just 5 percent of the people still use the app, which shows that for app developers, arguably the biggest challenge is to keep users using the app.

He also notes that this is the reason why only a few thousand apps have sustained meaningful traffic.

Users try out a lot of apps but decide which ones they want to ‘stop using’ within the first 3-7 days. For ‘decent’ apps, the majority of users retained for 7 days stick around much longer. The key to success is to get the users hooked during that critical first 3-7 day period.

The study is clearly a comprehensive one; it maps the data found from 125 million smartphones, while the data used was from apps all of whom have at least 10,000 downloads.

The top apps found in the study are the ones which make the user a part of the experience and encourage them to set their own personalization. For example, if the app in question is a social network, you may want to get their contact list and also get their friends to join the platform, while for a blogging app, you might want them to pick a theme, choose a name and then compose their first post.

Again, bombarding smartphone users with notifications is not the ideal way of getting users back. Instead, get them engaged in the experience and allow them to customize.

You can read Andrew Chen and his collaborator’s comprehensive report here.