Localytics Indexes

Helping marketers better understand app user trends.

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Q4 2014 Localytics Indexes Highlights:

  • App Stickiness remained constant through Q4, as Engagement peaked and Retention declined
  • The Media and Entertainment vertical hit its highest point in 2014 at 26% for App Stickiness
  • The average number of App Launches per month remained consistent at 10/month, a 40% increase since early 2012

Key Terms

  • Engagement: As measured by Power Users – the percentage of an app's users who have 10+ sessions in a month (i.e. how many highly engaged users an app has).
  • Retention: As measured by Loyal Users – the percentage of an app's users who return to the app within 3 months of their first session (the industry benchmark to measure loyalty and churn).
  • App Stickiness: Average of an app's Engagement and Retention.
  • App Launches: Average number of times an individual app is launched per month.

Localytics App Stickiness Index

The Localytics App Stickiness Index measures how well apps are engaging users and avoiding churn, in aggregate. The Index is a composite of two key app metrics: Engagement, as measured by Power Users, and Retention, as measured by Loyal Users. By understanding large-scale movements in app engagement and user loyalty, marketers can compare their own app insights to adapt and refine their user engagement strategies.

Localytics App Stickiness Index December 2011 - December 2014

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  •  Power Users
  •  Loyal Users
  •  App Stickiness

While overall App Stickiness remained constant over Q4, Engagement drastically increased. Engagement peaked at 30% in December 2014, a 7 percentage point increase since 2012. However, at the same time, retaining users proved challenging, dropping to 12% by December 2014.

As the data reflects, Q4 represents both a time of opportunity and one of change for app owners, due to the introduction of new device models and a high volume of holiday promotions. During this quarter, new users enthusiastically use their new devices, and if they see the value quickly, they will return to apps often. The holiday season is also a time of excitement, as people travel, socialize with friends and families, and take advantage of money-saving offers they’ve been waiting all year for. The opportunity to increase the use of favorite apps is ripe in Q4.

At the same time, if an app is not favored or fails to deliver an immediate, persuasive reason for being used (like personalized content or relevant offers), chances are higher that the app won’t get transferred to new devices. Additionally, users of new Apple devices faced further challenges as the upgrade to iOS 8 required people to delete some apps to free up storage.

The dramatic divide in Engagement and Retention in 2014 can be attributed to the divergence in mobile marketing maturity. The apps that invested in getting to know their user behaviors and preferences, and then communicated with them smartly, were the ones that were likely to see better engagement and less likely to experience user churn.

Localytics App Stickiness Index by Vertical December 2011 - December 2014

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  •  eCommerce & Retail
  •  Games
  •  Media & Entertainment
  •  Technology
  •  Travel & Lifestyle

Media and Entertainment remains the strongest vertical in App Stickiness. At an average of 25% in Q4, Media and Entertainment has seen a 3 percentage point increase over the previous quarter. Similar to App Launches, Travel and Leisure has also seen a rise in App Stickiness, peaking at 20% in December 2014. This is a reminder that as people travel throughout the holidays, apps remain a constant companion—a source of navigation as well as entertainment during the downtime.


Technology apps saw the most dramatic increase in App Stickiness, driven by higher engagement. The growth in this vertical was primarily driven by B2B apps, likely caused by end of year sales drives, which was also seen in Q4 2013.

Travel and Leisure also saw a rise in App Stickiness, peaking at 20% in December 2014. This is a reminder that as people travel throughout the holidays, apps remained a constant companion—a source of navigation as well as entertainment during the downtime.


Localytics App Launches Index

The Localytics App Launches Index looks at the average number of times an app was launched each month. By reviewing the trend of app launches, marketers can understand the overall role of apps within the marketing mix.

Localytics App Launches per Month January 2012 - December 2014

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  •   App Launches per Month

Apps are becoming a larger part of everyday life, with the average number of app launches happening around 10 times a month. As app publishers adapt to customer needs and utilize targeted push messaging to engage latent users, app launches increased from 7 times per month in early 2012 to 10 times per month throughout all of 2014. The overall increase in the average number of launches per month shows app usage, and the role apps play in daily life, has increased.

Localytics App Launches by Vertical January 2012 - December 2014

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  •  eCommerce ' Retail
  •  Games
  •  Media ' Entertainment
  •  Technology
  •  Travel ' Lifestyle

Within the verticals, Media and Entertainment continued to dominate app launches with 12 launches per month in Q4, which is consistent with Q3 of this year. Additionally, the holidays saw some of the highest travel and vacation times in recent years. Travel and Leisure apps saw the effects of this trend with the most dramatic increase in App Launches of the quarter, from an average of 10 launches per month in Q3 to nearly 12 per month in Q4.

How to use this data:

  1. Compare your app’s performance in Engagement (Power Users), Retention (Loyal Users) and App Launches against our aggregated data. How are you doing compared to the industry benchmarks? Are there areas of improvement?
  2. Brainstorm 2-3 new ideas to test this quarter to influence the change you want to see. But don’t forget to keep in mind the effects of seasonality as users return from holiday vacations – in 2013, we saw a drop-off in App Stickiness following the holiday season.

About the Methodology:

The Localytics Indexes were compiled through continuous analysis of 28,000 apps across more than 1.5 billion devices.