With 500,000 apps available in the iOS App Store (s aapl) and a little over 300,000 in the Android Market (s goog), trying to get noticed these days is a difficult proposition. Getting onto one of the top apps lists is one way to gain new users, but it’s difficult to stay there. Mobile app analytics company Flurry is launching a tool that it says takes a new approach to helping app makers keep an audience after they’ve gotten past the step of getting them to download the app in the first place.
The tool, called Flurry AppCircle Re-Engagement, is being announced for the first time on Monday. In an accompanying blog post, the analytics company laid out the problem: It’s expensive and ultimately less fruitful to use heavy paid advertising to remind people of an app they’ve already downloaded. Flurry says this about getting onto a top apps list:
It’s a pure first-time acquisition tool. App users don’t re-launch apps when seeing them in the top rankings. They need to go to their app icon and launch from there. So as an app’s installed base grows over months, even years, the relative number of incremental users that can be added from ranking in the charts continues to become relatively smaller. In other words, over time, an app is better off targeting its much larger installed base of users to increase usage. This is the equivalent of traffic acquisition.
Re-Engagement users can have access to Flurry’s analytic data for free and can decide which of their customers they want to target for a particular app. Flurry will show an ad to users while they’re in a different app, reminding them of updates to the app along with a link to click through to launch it. (See chart below.)
While access to analytics information is free, the Re-Engagement tool has a cost. It requires a minimum bid of 50 cents every time an app is relaunched through the reengagement service. In other words, developers will not have to pay unless the products works and a user clicks the link to re-open the app, Flurry VP of Marketing Peter Farago told me.
It’s an interesting tactic but one that some users may balk at. While it could be appealing to developers, the idea of getting a pop-up ad about a different app too often could turn out to be supremely irritating. Or it could be more subtle: It’s hard to judge without seeing it in action.
Still, Flurry’s timing isn’t bad. User engagement within mobile apps, or keeping people coming back, is a hot-button issue in the mobile developer community right now. At GigaOM Mobilize in September, a panel recommended how and how not to regain the attention of those who have already downloaded your app.