Report: 60% of app users who don't come back within a week never will

There is a 60 percent chance that consumers who don't use an app again within a week will never use it again, according to a recent study from Localytics. The company, which offers analytics and marketing products to the mobile app space, examined new iOS app users in November 2013 and their usage through the end of February 2014. 

  • The median user returns within just under six hours of his first app usage.
  • If a user doesn't launch an app for a second time within one day from first use, there is a 40 percent chance that their first session will also be their last.
  • The "churn risk window" increases over time--when the interval between the first and second session approaches seven days, there is a 60 percent chance that a user will never return.
  • In social and entertainment apps, the data shows that if a user doesn't try the app again within 12 hours of their first launch, there is greater than a 50 percent chance they will never open it again. 
  • The median health app user returns to the app for the second time after almost 1.5 hours, yet they have a long tail of late returning users.

Localytics chart media hours
"Getting a user to return quickly after the first taste of your app is critical, especially in the categories of Social, Entertainment and Lifestyle," the company said. "While the 'churn risk window' may seem daunting, app owners will be in a much better position to act if they arm themselves with both the data on their retention patterns across dimensions such as sessions and the tools to combat churn such as push (and in-app) messaging."

The Localytics data is a good reminder that developers can't simply focus on the initial launch of an app if they want to develop a real community of users. It's also a wake-up call that planning a long-term customer engagement strategy doesn't mean you have months to work with, but a matter of hours.

Ultimately, the research reflects behavior patterns that could be compared to people who read the first page of a book to decide if they want to purchase and read it, or listen to the two-minute or less sample of a song on iTunes before downloading. The difference is that developers in this case have gotten a consumer to install, but they need to think carefully about their follow-up to ensure accessing their app becomes a habit. 

For more:
- for the complete Localytics research, click here

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