Survey Reveals Why Customers Delete Branded Apps

Survey Reveals Why Customers Delete Branded Apps

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The number one reason consumers delete branded apps is to free up phone storage space. According to a survey from Airship and Sapio Research, 32% percent of respondents cited space as the top reason. In-app ads, if multitudinous, were cited as the second highest reason people deleted branded apps (30% of respondents).

Sapio Research and Airship, a technology company that works with brands to design and develop mobile-app experiences for consumers, surveyed more than 11,000 consumers, age 18 and older. The consumers lived  in the U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Germany, South Africa, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Brazil. The purpose of the survey was  to determine not only why consumers use mobile apps in the first place, but also why they end up deleting them.

The third highest reason for app deletion (26% of respondents) is that consumers never used them in the first place. These respondents were found mostly In Canada, France, and Germany, followed by the U.S., U.K., and Singapore.

But how do brands keep users from deleting their apps once the initial reasons for downloading them are fulfilled?

The data suggests that brands must quickly and clearly convey the value of the app to customers. Improving mobile app onboarding experiences is crucial to fostering app usage and optimizing retention. Additionally, establishing connections with customers outside of the app, such as through email or SMS, can help drive them back to the app.

Corey Gault, VP of Communications at Airship, weighed in on the findings.

Which vertical sees the most downloaded branded apps?

The shopping and retail vertical is the clear industry leader in mobile app downloads. It sees nearly three times as many app downloads as the entertainment vertical, which ranks as the second most popular industry for app downloads. The opportunity for retailers to create and optimize valuable mobile app experiences can’t be overstated. Consumers are eager to use retail apps more than ever, with 78% of consumers using them more or about the same as last year.

Which vertical has the most deletions?

While we don’t have data on the number of app deletions by vertical, we can shed some light on what industries see as the greatest challenges in getting users to return to the app after downloading it. One of the most pressing challenges facing the app industry occurs during the first 30 days, as customers activate and begin building habitual app usage. On average, only 8% of customers return to an app on the 30th day after first downloading it. The travel industry, followed by the shopping and retail industry, is the most plagued by this problem. It’s worth noting neither of these industries commonly drives daily app use.

What exactly must brands do to convey the value of their app to people who download it?

Brands need to quickly and clearly articulate the value the app can provide to users to keep them coming back. The onboarding experience is a critical step to encourage app use and retain users. To overcome the customer drop-off in the activation phase, brands should clearly explain “what’s in it for me,” ask questions to personalize the experience, and focus the customer’s attention toward app features that will add value in the first moments of opening it.

How can they prevent app deletion once the customer starts that process?

Most consumers (57%) only use an app once or twice before they decide if they’ll delete it. Some best practices here include:

  • Test and modify the first 60 seconds of the customer experience to continually optimize and improve retention rates.
  • While 97% of marketers agree that feature tutorials and opt-in flows have a significant impact on user behavior, nearly 50% of enterprises only optimize these critical first experiences quarterly or less often.
  • Ask customers for preferences, but only if you plan to use them. If you ask a customer for information, it’s important to use that data to personalize their experience as quickly as possible. This builds trust and encourages them to come back to the app and share more.
  • Limit information gathering to the essentials and focus only on what you need during the first 14 days.
How can brands build relationships with customers who downloaded their app via SMS?

Once you’ve converted an SMS subscriber to an app user, marketers can gain more insight than simply the messages they respond to by tracking what they care about based on their in-app activity. Unlike SMS, where high-value discounts or critical service messages are often the focus, and the messages themselves are costly relative to other mediums, apps can support cross-channel preference centers. This enables customers to designate different types of content, frequencies, and channels where they’d like to be reached.

What does that communication or prompt look like, ideally?

iOS, and now Android 13, require obtaining app users’ explicit consent to receive push notifications. Both have system-dialogue prompts to solicit and record this consent that has standard language and ask the user to Allow or Don’t Allow. The same type of system prompt is used for location-sharing and app ratings, and there are limits on how many times they can be displayed to users within a year. A better approach is to use a soft prompt that explains the value of opting in and only sends users the system dialogue if they click “yes.” Users clicking “maybe later” can be added to segments where the opt-in ask can be surfaced again, ideally in the context of their behaviors.

For example, opting into notifications for delivery updates on an order, or being the first to know about products in their wish list that are back in stock or on a big sale, have a much higher likelihood of positive outcomes. Soft prompts can be a single screen displayed in the app or part of a multi-screen onboarding and opt-in flow. Regardless of their format, they should be continually A/B tested to determine optimal variants, which may vary based on different customer cohorts and segments.

Kathleen Sampey