Our apps are sticky! (And that’s a good thing.)

My friend Mark Thoney of Wyolution added a smile to my workweek when he emailed me a link to a USA Today story on how fleeting glory is for most phone apps.   The main point of the piece was no surprise to me.  I’ve long heard that many apps, especially games, get used only for a few hours or a few days after they are downloaded.  Frankly, as a developer, I’ve always found that one of the most discouraging of factoids.  Think of all the passion and labor that goes into even a simple app.

But one quote caught my eye.  Anindya Datta, founder of Mobilewalla, an ‘app analytics firm’ says that while “80% to 90% of apps are eventually deleted,” he considers any app that’s retained by 30% of downloaders to be “sticky.”

Guess what? By that measure, almost all of our apps are sticky!  I’d been feeling a bit down about the fact that ‘only’ half of the DOT Placards downloaders still have the app on their phone.  Guess I’m going to have to revise that emotion upward, eh?

I tossed our current download and install numbers into a spreadsheet:

SPG App Stickiness Spreadsheet

Isn’t that cool?  With the exception of SnapTo Scott Hininger, which is a very, very niche app, ALL of the apps so far are sticky.

Generally, you’d expect retention numbers to go down as apps age; a user’s needs change after all.  But DOT Placards, our oldest app, is still above 50%. And check out PasswordRN.  The total install numbers may be miserable — I clearly have not yet found the right key to marketing it — but the retention rate is 100%!


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