Commentary

Unlocking The Secrets Of The Dreaded App Uninstall

Letting an app languish on your phone is like a slap in the face to developers. But it’s nothing compared to the ultimate offense: the dreaded uninstall.

Yet, as new research suggests, that's an all-too-common occurrence among today’s fussy mobile users.

In fact, after sampling 110 million installs earlier this year, AppsFlyer found that 28% of apps are booted from people’s phones within 30 days of being uploaded.

For extremely churn-sensitive developers, that percentage should be pretty scary. Yet, because it’s representative of app use worldwide, the figure looks different depending on the region in question.

Overall, developing countries have the highest uninstall rate, while developed countries have the lowest.

Indeed, about 30% separates Vietnam (which has the highest rate of any country) compared to the United States (which has the lowest).

What explains the divide?

Mostly, it’s a matter of storage, AppsFlyer finds. That’s because the average size of storage on a phone in developing countries is smaller than that of phones in developed countries, according to the mobile marketing analytics and attribution platform.

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The uninstall rate also appears to differ by category.

For example, AppsFlyer’s data suggests that entertainment apps often fail to meet user expectations. That’s particularly the case with streaming video apps, due to technical issues like buffering and the need for regular updates.

Travel apps have the second highest uninstall rates. Because travel is seasonal and bookings rather rare, users often install an app, book their flight or hotel, and then uninstall the app -- at least until the next time they need to travel.

Across all regions and categories, the likelihood that people will uninstall apps declines over time.

Along with a good early impression, AppsFlyer suggests closely measuring uninstall rates, and understanding the who, what, when, where and why.

Delivering on an app’s promise is critical to success. In other words, overpromising in order to score a download a likely to be followed by a quick uninstall.

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