Press Release

Nov 11, 2015

Apps are Mission Critical to Digital Lifestyles, But Watch out for App Attention Issues


Localytics study reveals what will keep app users engaged

Apps are not only here to stay but they are rapidly becoming more personalized and pivotal to our digitally-connected lives, according to new research released today by Localytics, the lifecycle engagement platform for mobile and web apps. The independent study of 1,000 smartphone owners revealed that 92 percent of consumers expect to use apps more or the same in the future – but that their attention span is limited. Mobile users said they will try a new app on average 4.5 times before deciding to stop using it due to boredom or lack of perceived value. More insight and charts can be found here.

What will keep users engaged with apps in the future? The study found that mobile users are demanding more personalized app content and marketing messages, tailored to their specific behavior, location and intentions.

“It’s no wonder that app users jump from app to app, especially when the apps they’ve installed are no longer providing value,” said Raj Aggarwal, CEO of Localytics. “There are literally millions of apps out there vying for consumers’ attention. Our data shows mobile users expect their apps to know them intimately and that’s it’s OK for apps and brands to use that information to create personalized app experiences and marketing messages.”

How Mobile Users Behave Today

The research found evidence of three common behaviors among today’s mobile users:

  • Hyperactive: The average mobile user is regularly active across a range of apps, launching them on average 15 times a day and consistently using an average of 18 apps per month.
  • Impulsive: App “snacking,” or logging short sessions with several apps in one day, is rife. For example, 66 percent say they “snack” on social media apps, 57 percent on weather apps, 49 percent on gaming apps, and 43 percent on sports apps.    
  • Fickle: The top two reasons why people stop using apps are because they became bored with the app or they simply didn’t need it any more. In other words, apps stop providing value or entertainment, and people stop paying attention to them.

What Users Want from Apps: Personalization and More Functionality

92 percent of respondents plan to use apps more or the same than they do today. Resoundingly, consumers want more from their app experiences, and they are “over” apps that look and feel the same for everyone. Of the 57 percent who will use apps even more in the future, 61 percent said it’s because they believe apps will help them manage and connect all the digital elements in their lives – from their homes and workplaces to their cars, travel and entertainment needs. In order to keep users’ attention, over half of mobile users say apps need to provide more functionality and stronger personalization informed by their behaviors across all channels – app, online, in-store, etc. Specifically:

  • 54 percent want apps to always apply their stated preferences
  • 51 percent want the app to know the last action they took in the app, and factor that into content displayed in the app or marketing messages sent
  • 36 percent want the app to know their location, and factor that into content displayed in the app or marketing messages sent
  • 35 percent want the app to know the last action they took in the real world (e.g., in-store purchase), and factor that into content displayed in the app or marketing messages sent

“What we heard loud and clear from this study is that people want their apps to know who they are, where they are and what they want to do, and they’re willing to exchange this personal data for a richer, more personalized experience. Apps need to be able to deliver on these expectations to combat the attention-challenged behaviors of today’s users, and to win – and keep – the hearts and minds of tomorrow’s mobile users,” Aggarwal concluded.

Localytics’ study was conducted by Research Now between October 23 and October 28, 2015, and surveyed 1,000 mobile app users. More details here.

About Localytics

Localytics gives brands the data, intelligence and marketing channels to deliver a meaningful, personal customer experience. We help brands discover and deliver exactly what their customers are passionate about, and integrate those insights and experiences across other channels to deliver a digital customer experience that resonates. Our platform is used in more than 37,000 apps on more than 2.7 billion devices by companies such as ESPN, Fox and The New York Times. We are headquartered in Boston, MA with teams in Berlin, San Francisco and London. Investors include Sapphire Ventures, Foundation Capital and Polaris Partners. Learn more at