According to a new report from Yahoo! Advertising on the lifecycle of apps, mobile app install spending grew 80% to $3bn in 2015. However, smartphone users are now more than ever before replacing their apps on a regular basis. The App Lifecycle study says that 34% of users are currently swapping out their apps a few times a week and half of users (52%) perform swaps at least once a month.
Smartphone users replace their apps regularly
Apps are most frequently (60%) replaced during periodic clean-outs. 36% delete an app when a new version replaces it. The average smartphone owner was found to replace apps 18 times a year with Millennials, African Americans and Hispanics performing clean-outs more often. In addition, 73% of smartphone owners said they deleted apps due to storage concerns. This could change in the future as smartphones become available with ever larger storage capacities.
General triggers for app deletion
The majority of apps sit around an average three months unused before they’re being cleaned out. However, almost a third of users delete apps within the first week after download. Marketers can take measures such as strategic re-engagement and re-marketing to help generate long-term users.
App clean-out timeline
Generally, content apps clean out the fastest, followed by shopping, search and entertainment apps. Travel, social and navigational apps last the longest.
Clean-out time by app category
The top reasons for app deletion are consumers stopping to use an app (55%), finding a better app (53%), boredom (52%), too many ads (46%) and storage issues (45%).
Reasons for app clean-outs
It’s unsurprising then that the top reason for downloading new apps is boredom (80%), followed by a personal recommendation (74%). However, ads do work, driving 57% of new app downloads. App developers can take measures to ensure a smooth user experience by optimising their app store experience, solving issues with current apps and using ad strategies to win new users and keep their audiences engaged.
Reasons why consumers download new apps
Featuring in an app store is another great way to win new users. 61% of app downloads are triggered by app store featured lists with featured games resulting in the highest amount of downloads (44%), followed by kids/education and lifestyle apps.
App store featured lists trigger app downloads
However, not all’s lost for other categories. In fact, users most proactively search for new apps in the content (75%) and entertainment (70%) as well as games (69%) categories.
Price, reviews and ratings are other important factors when deciding on which apps to download. Negative reviews most heavily prevent consumers from download an app (39%), followed by storage issues and high prices (36% each).
Reasons for app download prevention
App advertising plays an important role in getting users to download an app. Yahoo found that online ads with download or open app buttons performed particularly well.
Types of ads prompting app download
Once a user has neglected an app, not all is lost. There are ways to re-engage them. 52% said they would use an app again if recommended by family of friends. 49% decide launch old apps when prompted by online ads. Hispanics rank particularly high (68%) for this method. Another 46% said they would begin to use an app again if vouchers or coupons were being offered.
Prompts to promote re-starting an app
Content and entertainment apps have been particularly successful employing ad re-engagement methods.
Whilst developers blame the harsh competition on missing app downloads, consumers disagree. Almost one third of users believe that there is an app missing. Entertainment apps in particular are called into question on app saturation, followed by content apps. There’s more to be done, more apps to be developed.
Apps consumers want that don’t exist right now
With growing screens, consumers are more likely to change the types of apps they use. That particularly affects entertainment (69%) apps. Many users would agree that viewing content on larger screens is easier.
There are a series of measures developers and app marketers can take in order to improve their app’s lifecycle.
- Stay relevant and continue to innovate your app on a regular basis.
- Use adverts to re-engage users (app download and video ads are two effective formats).
- Optimise your app presence across app stores. Encourage reviews and set the right price.