Report: Users Routinely Purge Apps and Look for Better Replacements

If an app is dormant for 12 weeks or more, a person is more likely to delete that app.

The app market is incredibly competitive. Between users switching to the latest hot service, avoiding app notifications, and routinely deleting apps that don’t meet expectations, it can be hard to maintain a dedicated audience.

A study from Yahoo Advertising examines how users feel about apps, and their motivations behind removing apps from their devices.

Among surveyed users, Yahoo found that approximately half of smartphone dominant users — those who have largely replaced their desktop with a mobile device — are delete apps on a monthly basis, and 34 percent are do so on a weekly basis. By far the largest reason behind deletions is periodic cleanout, with 60 percent of respondents purging apps regularly.

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Yahoo found that 36 percent replace old apps with new ones, so if your app isn’t evolving users are unlikely to stick with it. However, 73 percent of users delete apps due to storage concerns, so reducing bloat should be a major priority for developers.

It’s already established that users tend to uninstall apps quickly, but across different verticals times can vary. On average, content apps lay dormant for 11 weeks before users uninstall them, while connection apps — social networks and messaging apps — last around 13 weeks. Millennials tend to keep apps for shorter periods than baby boomers.

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After deletion, many users look for good replacements, and they’re looking for a wide variety of markers when searching. Two defining factors are app price and positive reviews in app stores, across all verticals. The primary barriers to download are negative reviews, a lack of phone storage, and higher prices than expected.

However developers should be aware that 32 percent avoid apps because they are similar to other apps, and 31 percent don’t want to grant the app access to their data.

While these data points apply across all apps, social app makers should take particular note of the advice offered by Yahoo Advertising:

  • Avoid getting caught up in the weekly or monthly clear out cycles by innovating your experience. Users are less likely to delete your app if they don’t consider it boring.
  • Use online advertising, especially video advertising, to promote your app, as half of dormant user would return to your app if they saw an ad for it.
  • Optimize your presence in the app store and set the right price, as users are looking for replacement apps all the time and giving them a good experience will likely make your app stickier.

Check out the full report to find out which categories attract the most users, and to see how larger phablets affect app growth.

Photo via VisualHunt.