News apps keep user's interest more than others

Written by on Monday, March 31st 2014

Recently, I fell upon a very interesting article written on Flurry's blog  about the decay of apps.

Every app has a lifetime cycle where it reaches the top, and then monthly active users (MAU) start diminishing. Flurry focused on what happens after the peak ... and did you know what they discovered? News apps are decaying slower than other types of apps!

Sounds good for you GoodBarbers, right?

Lifetime cycle of an app

News apps keep user's interest more than others
The chart above shows the typical lifetime cycle of an app. On the x-axis there is the time and on the y-axis the number of Monthly Active Users.

It can be summed up as follows:
- you launch your app and you acquire your first users
- your marketing efforts pay back  and you acquire more users
- you reach your MAU peak
- your MAU decrease over time until the death of the app

Flurry's study focuses on what happens after the peak, in order to answer the following question:
How long does it take for your app to die?

3 months after the peak ... most of your MAU are gone

News apps keep user's interest more than others
Flurry crunched its data and identified a very interesting pattern. It's during the 3 first months after the MAU peak that your app will loose the biggest amount of users. And after this 3 month virtual gateway, the MAU diminishes less quickly.

In the chart above, you see that during the first month after the MAU peak, 1/4 of apps in the panel have 50% of their max MAU (gray and orange color). In the 3rd month this number grows to 1/2 of apps. After that, the loss occurs at a slower rate.

News apps tend to retain more MAU

News apps keep user's interest more than others
Another interesting fact is how the results above differ depending on the category of the apps.

In order the measure it, Flurry calculated the "half-life" of apps per category. By "half-life" we mean the number of months, after the peak, in which an app gets 50% MAU.

The result is given in the table above. After 7 months post peak, news apps still have 50% of the max MAU they used to have! That's a huge power of retention, when you see that half life is reached in only 2 months by game apps.

Two additional interesting informations in the table :
- the higher your peak MAU is, the longer it will take for your app to reach its half life;
- iOS apps reach their half life later than Android apps

Take care of your app during all its lifecycle

Almost all of us to focus all our energy on the launch of our apps. Our main worry is to grow as fast as possible, until we reach the MAU peak. A lot of advice, articles, and 'how-to's, .. can be found online, explaining how to succeed in this.

But what about the post peak time frame? Do you have any advice to share in the comments below? What is your magic recipe to make your app lives as long as possible? 

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