App Benchmarks Show Improving Engagement, Power of Push

April 23, 2018

Close to 4 in 10 app users (38%) launch an app at least 11 times, considered the benchmark of app retention, according to the latest mobile app benchmarks from Localytics. The analysis, which covers usage of 37,000 mobile and web apps from May 2017 through February 2018, indicates that app loyalty has remained relatively steady over the past couple of years, but has risen over the longer-term.

In 2013, for example, 34% of users launched an app at least 11 times, and in 2012, just 31% did so.

Three-Month User Retention Up

User retention rates in the first 3 months following download increased during 2017 (full-year data) in comparison to 2016.

On average, 40% of users returned to an app during the month after download in 2017, compared to 36% during 2016. Likewise, more users returned to an app in the second month after download (31%, up from 26%) and in the third month post-download (26%, up from 20%).

App Abandonment Rates Down

There’s been more positive movement in abandonment rates than in retention rates over the past couple of years.

In this latest analysis – covering May 2017 through February 2018 – 21% of users abandoned an app after just a single use, down from a range of 23-25% from 2015 through 2017.

The long-term trend is more unclear, though, as the abandonment rate ranged from 20-22% in the 3 years prior to that (2012-2014).

Localytics notes that while there have been considerable improvements in the app abandonment rate since 2015, one-fifth of app users abandoning after a single use remains a high figure.

iOS Users More Engaged

The driver of improvements in app engagement is a greater iOS experience, reports Localytics. Between 2015 and 2018, iOS app abandonment fell quite dramatically, from 26% of users leaving after a single launch to just 19% in the latest analysis (a better result than the average across platforms).

Furthermore, the app retention rate for iOS users improved over the same time period from 32% to 38%, leaving it squarely at the average across apps.

Number of Monthly App Launches Grows

Turning to other app engagement metrics, Localytics’ report details an 11% year-over-year rise in the number of monthly app launches, from 13.59 on average in 2016 to 15.12 on average in 2017.

While the average session length declined by about 5%, overall monthly time spent in the average app grew by almost 6% (to 70 minutes) by virtue of the greater number of launches per month.

Similar trends were observed for weekly app launches and time spent.

In an accompanying examination of 4 verticals (Retail & E-Commerce, Travel & Lifestyle, Media & Entertainment, and Business & Technology), Localytics found that Retail and E-Commerce apps fared below-average in the number of launches per month and in overall time spent per month. Media & Entertainment apps, for their part, were launched about 6 more times per month on average than Retail & E-Commerce apps, with users spending more than 3 times as much time per month in the apps (109 minutes versus 33 minutes).

Push Opt-Ins Fuel Retention

It’s incredibly helpful to get an opt-in for push notifications, reveals the report. In fact, 46% of users who have opted in to push notifications spend at least 11 sessions in an app, almost twice the share (25%) of users who have disabled push notifications. (This particular data is based on the May 2017 – February 2018 period.)

On the other end of the spectrum, fully 36% of users who do no have push enabled abandon an app after a single use, compared to just 8% of those who have opted in to notifications.

Push notifications move the needle even more if they’re targeted. Apps in which the majority of campaigns are broadcast see a 31% abandonment rate after a single use, while those where most campaigns are targeted (by profile or behavioral data) are abandoned after a single use just 20% of the time.

Furthermore, apps that send targeted campaigns more than broadcast ones see a 39% retention rate (percentage of users spending at least 11 sessions), compared to 21% for apps that send more broadcast than targeted campaigns.

More data about the benchmarks can be found here and here.

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