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Last week Amazon announced the availability of app engament metrics for Android apps published in their app store. Finally, I thought! The mobile industry has been focused solely on app downloads and personally I think that is the wrong metric. It is quite easy to get somebody to download an app. Great marketing, news/blog posts and incentivised downloads in combination with easy installs make it simple to get lots of downloads. However this study by Localytics show 24 % of users try out a downloaded app only once. That is a massive churn, which is a pity. You can’t provide value to users that have your app installed but don’t use it. For that you need engagement. So now Android developers with apps in the Amazon store can see daily user sessions, app retention and daily active devices. This gives app developers a much better idea how much value they provide.

The next step would be to use app engagement for top 25’s ranking. One reason why everybody has been focused so much on downloads is that they have a big impact on ranking for various stores, in particular Apple’s iTunes App Store. As app downloads are too easy to fake a lot of companies resorted to playing the system in various ways, instead of focusing on a great product for a great market with a huge need.

I liked the announcement a few weeks back from Google about referral tracking for Google Play Store, letting you know where your installs come from. Combined with Amazon’s announcement about engagement metrics I see two long awaited functionalities made available for app stores. Hopefully the two main app stores, Apple’s iTunes and Google Play will start adopting both soon and compete more for the hearths, minds and wallets of developers.