The strategic importance of apps is now self-evident, with roughly 90 percent of mobile internet time being spent there, according to Nielsen. However if companies’ apps don’t engage users quickly and effectively, they may churn — never to return.
That’s according to Localytics, which offers some very useful data and advice about what it calls the “app-churn window.” The longer the interval between the initial app use and a second use, the greater the risk of churn the company says.
Localytics analyzed app usage patterns of iOS devices and found the following “rules”:
- The “median user” typically returns to an app within 6 hours after initial download/usage
- If that user doesn’t return within 24 hours, “there is a 40 percent chance that their first session will also be their last”
- “When the interval between the first and second session approaches 7 days, there is a 60 percent chance that a user will never return”
Localytics qualifies the rules above by noting that churn window risk varies by app category. This is based on cultural-usage differences tied to different types of content. News, for example, showed the largest typical gap between first and second session intervals. Social and entertainment apps showed the shortest intervals.
The shorter the typical first-second usage interval the higher the churn risk if the user doesn’t quickly return and re-engage.
Localytics additionally reports that users who have short first session lengths also represent a high churn risk. They either didn’t fully understand or fully explore the app. Thus they’re less likely to see full value and return.
The answer according to Localytics — beyond building a great, engaging app — is to identify churn risks and selectively engage those people with push messages that prompt them to return and more fully explore or engage with the app.