From Flappy Bird to Instagram, the most popular mobile apps leave their mark on the world. This is an intriguing proposition for brands that want to become globally known, and as a result, businesses of all types are investing in mobile app development teams, tools and strategies. The long-term game plans eventually pan out, as mobile apps are launched and users download them. All done, right? Wrong. Brands and mobile developers need to ensure their mobile apps stay popular, and right now that is particularly difficult.
Re/Code recently reported on a study from Adobe, and it found that after six months of usage, a mobile app has reached its half-life. Re/code called it "app fatigue"—there are so many mobile apps and different uses for them that users get tired of one and download another for a new experience. While that might not sound bad, brands need to reach that six-month benchmark to even make a dent in the mobile community.
25% of apps are only opened a single time.
A Majority of Unpopularity
The fact is, most mobile apps struggle to remain relevant. According to Localytics, on a global scale, 25% of apps are only opened a single time. With so many good mobile apps out there, 34% are used over 11 times, while the vast majority of iOS and Android apps fail to engage users.
Mobile app user retention rates tend to vary based on the industry these tools serve. MediaPost contributor Laurie Sullivan highlighted a conversation with Matt Asay, vice president of mobile at Adobe Systems, in which Asay asserted that consumers will only use the typical retailer's mobile app 13 times before forgetting about it. While the source doesn't specifically indicate why these apps in particular are used slightly longer on average, it suggested that understanding app usage helps mobile apps stay in users' hands. This is a highly-regarded best practice, as ensuring that mobile apps deliver continuous quality and usefulness is critical to maintaining app popularity past the six-month mark.
One and Done
We can see an example of the importance of quality in how long mobile games remain popular. Swrve conducted a survey on "freemium" mobile games—those that are free but offer in-game items for real money—and it found that 19% of players only touch these apps once, while 54% will stick around for at least five sessions. Just under a majority of consumers open these mobile apps four times or less. In this regard, it's obvious that if developers do not conduct mobile app testing and ensure they're delivering the best possible experience from day one, becoming a popular app is close to impossible.
While developers need to guarantee continuous quality from the moment that an app is released, discounting quality assurance throughout the mobile app's lifecycle is equally important since users typically give apps a few tries before deleting them. With mobile app testing and a support strategy, brands can help their apps stay popular past the six-month mark.