Localytics Indexes

Helping marketers better understand app user trends.


Q1 2015 Localytics Indexes Highlights:

Every quarter, Localytics produces two indexes: the App Stickiness Index and the App Launches Index, with the goal of tracking overall and seasonal changes in app usage. Here are the highlights from Q1 2015:

  • App Stickiness reached a record high, fueled by improvements in both Engagement and Retention
  • The average number of App Launches per month increased to 11
  • For the first time, Travel and Lifestyle surpassed Media and Entertainment as the most launched app category

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 app marketing strategies.

Localytics App Stickiness Index March 2012 - March 2015

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  •  Power Users
  •  Loyal Users
  •  App Stickiness

After a neutral Q4, App Stickiness is on the rise: Q1 2015 saw an all-time high of 26%. This high is driven by improvements in both Engagement and Retention, which grew 13% and 41% respectively.

In Q1, Engagement, or the percentage of highly engaged users (users with 10+ sessions in one month), reached an all-time high of 34%. To put this into context, more than 1/3 of all app users visit an app 10 or more times per month. That’s incredible news for app owners, as the more engaged users are, the easier it is to convert them into loyal, and highly profitable, customers.

At the same time, Retention, or the percentage of users who return to the app three months later, also improved, rising from 12% in Q4 2014 to 17% in Q1 2015. The improvement in Retention is likely a result of the fact that many people upgrade their smartphone or tablet during the holidays and thus participate in the annual “new device app cleanse.” With the holidays and Q4 now behind us, the increase in Retention is likely from the apps that survived the cleanse and proved their value.

Despite the marked improvement in Q1, Retention is still lower than in previous years. While over 1/3 of users visit an app 10 or more times a month, only 17% are still using the app three months later. Tip: a good way to start addressing the retention challenge is to look at the events and attributes of loyal users compared to churned users and identify differences that can be acted upon.

Localytics App Stickiness Index by Vertical March 2012 - March 2015

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

Media and Entertainment continues to be the best-performing vertical, increasing its lead by 6 percentage points over Q4 2014. Apps in this category include Social Networking and Entertainment apps. Not surprising, Retail/eCommerce apps experienced a slight decline in Stickiness, as they have every first quarter of the year when shopping slows down after the holidays.

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 April 2012 - Mar 2015

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  •   App Launches per Month

As apps become more ingrained in our daily lives, the number of times apps are launched has increased. In Q1 2015, the average number of times an individual app was launched reached a record-high 11 launches per month.

Localytics App Launches by Vertical April 2012 - Mar 2015

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

The Travel and Lifestyle vertical experienced significant growth in Q1 2015, edging out Media and Entertainment apps as the vertical with the most launches. As of the end of March, Travel and Lifestyle apps were opened 13.4 times per month – likely due to a combination of health and wellness apps helping people with their New Year resolutions and winter weather causing more people to plan spring and summer getaways. Media and Entertainment apps were opened a healthy 13 times a month, up from 12.1 in 2014, proving that these apps continue to be a constant staple of every smartphone and tablet device.

App Stickiness and App Launches both saw monumental increases this year. This is fantastic news for app marketers, as apps continue to play a larger part of our daily lives. Retention should continue to be the main focus for app marketers, and tools like Predictive App Marketing and personalized push messaging should help to improve retention for all verticals. Understanding why your users are leaving your app, and subsequently, how to bring them back, will pay dividends for both consumers and app marketers alike.