Weather, News Apps Rank High In Retention

Apps-AA1The rap on most apps is that they have the shelf life of a quart of milk. Users tend to lose interest quickly and move on to the next hot title. So which apps command more loyalty, making them a better bet for advertisers?

A new study by app advertising and analytics firm Flurry indicates that weather, reference, sports and news apps have the highest retention rates over 30-, 60- and 90-day periods, based on a sample of apps used more than 1.7 billion times each week across the 230,000 apps using its analytics software.

Weather apps, for example, had a 73% retention rate after 30 days and a 55% rate after 90 days, while the corresponding figures for reference apps were nearly as high -- at 70% and 54%, respectively. News apps matched weather apps after 30 days, at 73%, but slipped to 50% after 90 days.

Flurry also examined budgeting tools, social networking sites focused on dating, music, and photo and video. Budgeting apps, at the bottom, had a 30-day retention rate of 23%, and 10% after 90 days.

When it came to frequency of use by week, streaming music apps were tops at 8.9 times, followed closely by lifestyle-related communication apps (8.8), social games (7.9), news (5.2), and sports scores (4.8). The Flurry report, titled “Mobile Apps: Money, Models and Loyalty,” also offers a historical perspective, since it is an update of a prior study released in 2009.

The study also plots those categories on a matrix across four quadrants based on how often they are used versus how long people continue to use them over time. The results showed that categories falling into Quadrant I -- apps used intensively and over time -- and Quadrant IV -- those used infrequently but delivering high value -- are the best options for generating ad and subscription revenue.

Quadrant I included news, weather and communication apps, while Quadrant IV included sports score, navigation, reference and travel apps, among others. Why are these better for advertising? “The main reason is that these apps have perceived enduring value by consumers over a long period of time, and therefore more successfully retain their user bases,” stated a Flurry blog post today.

The other two app groupings included apps used intensively but for finite periods -- think social games or streaming music apps -- and “one-and-done” apps with high churn rates, including those focused on deals, photo and video, retail and personalization. Flurry points out that ad opportunities are here as well, with social game makers driving in-app purchases when people are most engaged in game play.

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