Four Key Considerations to Get Past App Replacement

Posted 7/20/2016 11:02:39 AM by CHRIS KLOTZBACH, Director of Product Marketing on the Yahoo Flurry team

Four Key Considerations to Get Past App Replacement
Today, with over three million mobile apps available for consumers, app replacement - the deletion of an app due to alternative options - has become a major issue for developers looking to increase, let alone maintain, retention. In fact, according Yahoo’s research, nearly 50% of smartphone dominant users replace apps on a weekly basis. 

Furthermore, most apps are deleted by the three-month mark if they’re not being used, and over 15% are cut in under a week, mainly due to a lack of interest. Remaining relevant and exciting to users in the face of boredom and new apps can make even the most unique apps obsolete. 

To help developers and app marketers understand how they can avoid the app replacement cycle and increase user engagement, Flurry from Yahoo took a deep dive into the behavior of smartphone users around the globe. What we found was that avoiding the app replacement cycle comes down to four key factors:

A Fixed Iteration Cycle

Apps are deleted most frequently during periodic ‘cleanouts,’ performed at least once or twice a month by 60% of smartphone users. Based on our research, apps lie dormant for 12 weeks on average prior to deletion, with content apps churning the fastest. 

With new apps, or the boredom of existing apps, triggering much of the deletion, developers, especially those with content apps, must constantly be innovating their apps to remain exciting and relevant. Consider implementing a bi-weekly app update schedule to keep users engaged and updated on the latest innovations and improvements to your app.

The App Store Experience

Across all app types, the app store experience is equal parts search and discovery, and it’s a crucial factor in driving downloads. Across categories, smartphone users wanting content (75%) or entertainment (70%) apps are most likely to search the app store. With this in mind, it’s important to ensure your app’s description is relevant and pricing is competitive. 

Another important aspect for search discovery is app reviews. Our research has found that negative reviews are the primary barrier to preventing an app download, followed by phone store and price. Encourage your users to rate and review your app whenever possible.


Utilize advertising to reinvigorate app usage. While the most popular way to encourage users to re-start using an app is by word-of-mouth and recommendations, online ads have also proven to drive results, prompting renewed usage in about half of users. 

And while advertising is a great tool for developers of all app categories, content and entertainment apps have been the most successful thus far at stimulating renewed usage. But not all ad formats are created equal. Online video ads (34%) and online ads embedded in content / branded content (33%) have proven to be the most effective ad formats in prompting restarts. 

User Experience and Design

A seamless user experience is the most sought-after feature for smartphone users looking to replace an existing app, with screen optimization being a key factor. Our research shows that 81% of app usage has been affected by the growth of phablets and the larger screen. 

Be sure your apps are optimized for both the smaller screens and the larger ones to ensure you’re retaining users across devices. This is especially important for entertainment and content apps, which have seen a significant increase in growth on phablets in the past year.

To Close

Implementing strategies like the ones discussed here will help you to not only reconnect with your users, but also drive new downloads to ensure you’re remaining relevant and extending your app's lifecycle.

Read More


About the author: CHRIS KLOTZBACH, Director of Product Marketing on the Yahoo Flurry team

Chris Klotzbach is Yahoo’s Director of Product Marketing on the Flurry team based in San Francisco. Chris leads product marketing for the Yahoo Mobile Developer Suite, which includes the industry-leading Flurry Analytics and Yahoo App Publishing. Prior to this role, he was responsible for mobile product strategy and sales enablement at Yahoo; where he deployed Gemini mobile native ads for Yahoo properties and developed the go-to-market strategy for Yahoo sales team. Before Yahoo, Chris managed the ad exchange and network relationships for, overseeing the monetization of Forbes inventory on third party platforms. Chris holds a B.S. in journalism from Boston University, where he was a four-year varsity athlete and member of the United States Rowing National Team.

Subscribe to App Developer Daily

Latest headlines delivered to you daily.