Previously, we shared to you the first part of our article about some stats on mobile apps—from engagement measures to the time spent by users on their gadgets. In this second half of the 3-part series about App Marketing for 2015, you will know about how to gain, as well as keep, more users. This article will be about the acquisition and retention of your app users.
Acquisition – Gaining Users
Find #4: Paid & Organic Users Perform the Same In-App
Your apps will be discovered by users in a variety of different ways, of which as to everyone’s knowledge, will be at the App Store, a tactic that has been addressed with the dawning of App Store Optimization.
However, there was a shift to targeted ads by savvy marketers to drum up awareness and to drive new users to their apps. Users who discover an app thru an Ad Network are more likely to come back a couple of times than organic users.
Once in-app, the ad acquired users equaled organic users in terms of engagement. The quality of the ad matters such as the creative can convince the user of the benefit of the app, giving them a couple of chances.
Paid-to-acquire users have just as much potential as that of the organic users, but the former has been what is trending this year.
Retention – Keeping Users
Find #5: App Retention is Increasing
With the rising number of apps being uploaded on app stores, only around 20% apps were only used once, which proves that not all downloads are active and that not everyone can turn into active users. Also, mobile marketing efforts should focus on improving user engagement and retention instead of having pure acquisition. Why? Because there will always be a possibility that acquiring such apps won’t always be equal to the time users will be engaging in it.
That 20% of app usage is actually better than the past years, improving from 22% in 2013, which is good news for app marketers. In fact, the percentage of apps used only once as steadily decreased by 6% during the last four years.
During the same period, the percentage of apps used 11 or more times increased 13%, climbing to 39% in 2014. A very huge improvement when it comes to long-term retention.
Find #6: Apps Abandonment Risk is Still High
Users with longer first app sessions are fasted to return
Users who had the longest first app session length also returned to an app within 1 to 12 hours across almost every category, followed closely by users who returned within the first full day.
A long first session length to test the app and another session sometime within the next day make up almost half of all returning users, and will likely reflect a common behavior from the latter group of users.
Users who had shorter first session lengths unsurprisingly also took days to return to a newly downloaded app.
Marketers face the challenge of the “app churn risk window”
In 2014, there was a 60% chance users who did not come to your app within seven days, never returned. Median user returns within just under 6 hours of his first app usage in a global iOS examining app usage.
There is a 40% chance that their first session will also be their last, if a use doesn’t launch an app for a second time within one day from their first use.
When the interval between the first and second session approaches seven days, there is a 60% chance that a user will never return, increasing the so-called “Churn Risk Window”. The longer a user waits to open an app second time, the greater the chance they won’t return again.
Social and entertainment users are quickest to never return
In apps such as social and entertainment, if a user doesn’t return to the app within 12 hours, there is a 50% chance he will open it again. This is something marketers must react even more quickly to re-engage users before they’re lost.
News apps, on the other hand, have some of the longest intervals between their first and second app launches: the median churn risk window for this category is almost 24 hours.
For a News app user, there is still a 59% chance he will return later even if he doesn’t launch the app again for up to seven days after his first use. This may reflect news cycles that are sometimes multiple days between big events.
Sports and games apps have the highest abandonment rate
Many smartphone owners are into sports and games so a lot of apps are very much available on app stores such as the Apple App Store and Google Play. However, apps under these categories have a 23% and 22% abandonment rate, respectively. This is likely because of the variety of availability and inherent competition among these kinds of apps. First impressions are what these categories are depending heavily on for them to engage users or risk losing them to competitors.
On the other hand, with the widespread use of the social media and utility apps (e.g. weather) has been really quite consistent making it less used once. These apps rely more on outside content that is consistently updated by people’s activities or the temperature outside, making this dynamic nature a reason to bring users back quickly and often.
Because of its tremendous influence and addictiveness of social networks, Social Networking apps bring in repeat users. Utility apps, which are not really that engaging, just need to perform important function such as telling the weather.
Engagement & Marketing – Interacting with Users
App engagement is higher amongst push-enabled users
According to Localytics’ survey results, push messaging is actually a highly effective too for app engagement, than the usual misconception of push notifications being intrusive and annoying leading to less retention or boosting time in app.
Moreover, they have found out that 52% of people actually enable push notification on their mobile phones. Push enabled users average 88% more app launches than those who disable push. This number is slightly higher for Android, having a platform breakdown at 59% and 46% for iOS.
There is discrepancy available because of the fact that Android push notifications are on by default, whereas iOS asks its users during their first session if they would like to enable push notifications.
There is a 278% lift in engagement when comparing users who enable push, versus apps like Health and Fitness, for example, which only has a 34% bump, according to how eCommerce sees it. This might be because majority of eCommerce users are looking for mobile-specific offers and discounts, and are more likely see push messages as deal indicators.
User retention is 2-3x higher for push-enabled users
App marketers are finding ways to minimize the churn rate, which can be saved by push messaging.
For push-enabled users, retention rate is significantly higher than for those who disable push notifications. The difference in retention is staggering even just one month after the app is being first downloaded. 62% of users, on average, will return to the app the following month if they are being engaged with push messaging, whereas only 32% of users will return if not prompted with push.
There happens to be a widened gap further down the road. Four months after their first session, over 1/3 of push enabled users are still engaging with the app, compared to only 14% of non-push users.
Push enabled users have a lower app abandonment rate.
A tip to remember: 20% of apps are used once and then never used again. Compared to when push messaging is enabled in an app, there will still be abandonment yet the number actually decreases to almost 11%. Meaning, 11% of apps with push-enabled users are only used once, compared to the 20% average. Users with push-enabled also spend more time in an app, with over 50% of users coming back to the app at least 11 times.
Apple recognizes the power of push, which is evident in is iOS 8 features, allowing interactive notifications that will enable users to continue to interact with their apps—through push messages like their Messaging app, for example—even when not actually inside an app.
Push messaging popularity varies by industry
Just as not all pushes are created equal, neither are all categories. There are certain industries that have higher click rates than others, depending on the content and timeliness of the message. Apps like Travel and Lifestyle are more likely to be interacted with than messages with a more complicated call to action.
Find #8: Targeted Push Messages Have Higher Conversions
Segmented push messages are more successful at converting a click
Push messages, which are segmented by marketers, compared to those who blast them to all users, see significant improvement in engagement. As per data gathered by Localytics, broadcast push messages are only opened by 3% of users.
On the other hand, this rate is increased to 7% by user behavior and preferences if the push message is segmented by user behavior and preferences. Which means that segmented push messages have over twice the open rate as push messages blasted to everyone.
A push message does not always guarantee that the user will actually complete the action you set out for them to do but if can certainly bring a user back into the app –generic or targeted.
There was 3x improvement in push-messages that are informed by app user analytics, and a conversion rate of 54% from segmented push compared to only 15% for broadcast messages.
Push messages sent during the week and in the afternoon perform best.
Still talking about push messaging, you might be wondering how often this happens. During the week, the click rate average is 5.8% making it consistent but drops on the weekend of about 3.5%. Fridays especially see the highest click rate of over 6%.
Why is that?
According to Localytics’ data, most apps send their push messages in the evening, likely thinking that people, at this time, are at home from work and are willing to engage in spending more time in-app.
However, this happens to be a misconception. Push messages actually have the greatest click rate at 6.7% in the afternoon, most likely from 12PM-5PM. The click rate in the morning is only 5.3% and only 4.6% at night. The results are quite shocking, if you are going to think about it.
Short push messages almost triple click rate
By a large margin, shorter messages have a higher click rate. 10 word-notifications often have double average click rates compared to those with 11 and more words. Moreover, there is a variation on the amount of words of the push message being received in its appearance, depending on the actual smartphone’s lock screen.
There are certain smartphones that have smaller screen, which results in fewer words appearing on the lock screen. Because of this, shorter messages are generally more effective since the entire message can be read on the screen. This also proves to be more effective when it comes to punctuation.
There is a 6% click rate of push messages that deliver a statement, compared to push messages that ask questions (3.1% click rate), showing a double performance against the latter. This just shows that most users are looking for clear and definitive content rather than answering questions.
With all these statistics provided from Localytics’ report about app marketing, let it be a reason for app developers to improve more in creating mobile apps for users, and for marketers to create more effective ways in making the experience more fulfilling and useful for mobile users.
For the third part of this 3-part series write-up, we will be giving away 5 key takeaways for you this 2015, in order to maximize the scope of app marketing. Stay tuned!