Most people stop using iPhone applications downloaded from Apple’s App Store after the first day according to analytics firm Pinch Media. The firm discovered only about 20% of people who download a free application from the store were still using it the following day. Paid apps had a slightly better return rate, with nearly 30% of people still using the download.
Since the AppStore launched, Pinch Media has been providing developers with analytics that monitor app usage. The company provides information such as unique users, sessions, usage time, and more. The firm presented its findings regarding application use at the New York iPhone Developers Meetup. The findings were based on the monitoring of more than 30 million downloads.
Pinch Media's analysis shows quite a bit about usage patterns, including the benefits to developers of appearing on a top 100 list—doing so increases daily new users by an average of 2.3 times. The analysis also indicated that developers’ applications must be really compelling in order to hold a user for any length of time; after 90 days, only about 1% of people are still using a downloaded application.
Of course, these statistics vary slightly depending on which category of software you’re talking about. Sports applications tend to retain users over the short term while entertainment offerings are better at retaining users for a longer period of time.
For anyone who’s thinking about getting into the iPhone application market, Pinch Media recommends against ad-supported applications. As the firm put it, “Unless there's something inherent about the app that screams free, sell it.” The company has numbers to back this up, too. From its research, Pinch Media claims a paid application returns at least 70 cents per user. By comparison, developers of ad-supported apps must receive $8.75 per thousand clicks in order to make the same amount of money. Today’s advertising rates are typically 50 cents to $2 per thousand clicks.