Despite growing subscriber demand for mobile applications, consumer engagement remains a challenge--real-time mobile app analytics firm Localytics reports that 26 percent of all apps downloaded in 2010 were used only once. Localytics data spanning thousands of Android, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7 apps indicates that among consumers using an app for the first time between January and March 2010, about 22 percent never opened the app again--the one-time usage rate grows to 26 percent during Q2 and Q3, increasing to 28 percent over the fourth quarter. (Localytics notes that it's possible some of those customers may still return to apps downloaded in Q4 sometime in early 2011.)
"Tracking downloads is often a first step to gauging an app's success, but download stats often provide an incomplete and inflated view," notes Localytics vice president of market development Brian Suthoff on the firm's blog. "High download numbers always feel great, but if those customers never open the app or abandon it after just a few uses, those high download numbers are really part of a high churn rate."
Of course, consumers returned at least once more to 76 percent of applications downloaded in 2010, indicating that most developers understand how to attract and nurture a loyal user base. "Knowing what dedicated customers look like also helps app publishers better target advertising and marketing campaigns--and measure their success," Suthoff adds.
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