Blog Post

On Smartphones, Gimmicky Apps Only Work for So Long

This just in: Applications that are mere gimmicks — think Lighter, iFart and IQ Test — lose the attention of smartphone owners after being just used a few times.

Flurry Inc., a San Francisco-based startup that tracks the apps marketplace, recently conducted a study of more than 1,800 apps, 75 million consumers and four mobile platforms: iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and JavaME. The goal was to determine user retention rates across multiple categories over a 90-day period and to see if consumers returned to use a downloaded application within subsequent periods lasting 30, 60 and 90 days. It found that:

  • News & reference apps are used the most — more than once a day at a rate of 11 times per week.
  • Social networking apps are used six times a week.
  • Health and fitness apps are used 7 times a week.
  • Games are used 7.4 times a week.
  • Book-related apps are used 10 times a week. (Which to me means it’s only a matter of time before Apple tries to turn the iPod touch/iPhone into e-book readers)


6 Responses to “On Smartphones, Gimmicky Apps Only Work for So Long”

  1. Thanks to the folks at Flurry for sharing this interesting data!

    One question I had from this, which I didn’t see addressed original post on the Flurry site: what is the definition of the cohorts used in defining the retention numbers? Is it (1) the “day zero” users, ie, track retention as a function of days from the users’ first download, (2) the existing population of users at the beginning of the study, including both newbies and folks who’ve been using the app for a while, or (3) something else?


  2. Agreed. The “surprising” thing for Flurry, when we did this analysis was just how much sense the results made, from the point of view of mobile consumption (vs. say the Internet). The development community is testing every possible business (and non-business model) and we wanted to release a large amount of data that showed that user consumption in markets like the iPhone App Store and Android Market are rational, despite how revolutionary and new these mediums are.

    Peter Farago
    VP Marketing