75% of Apps Are Used At Least Seven Times Per Month

As users spend more internet hours on mobile apps than online on PCs and laptops, is has become essential for brands to reach their costumers using mobile. So how can brands measure the success of their app? The number of downloads is a useful metric, but it’s just a starting point: of those who download the app, how many are retained, and how often are they opening the app? According to new data released by mobile marketing firm Swrve, the average retention rate (the average number of times an app is used), shows just over a quarter of users return to an app within 48 hours of first opening it.

While 24% of users who install an app will use it only once, 26% of users will use the app again within 24-48 hours of the first session. After seven days however, the retention rate drops to as low as 13%.

The study also found that the average app user starts 13.69 sessions per month – a very encouraging statistic for brands. In some cases, session counts were over 100 per month (most likely gaming apps).

A solid 75% of apps are used at least 7 times a month, and the average session length is about 5 minutes 7 seconds — a pretty decent chunk of time. Around 34% of sessions last less than a minute, and just 13% of sessions last longer than 10 minutes.

So how should brands engage users during those app sessions? According to the study, in-app messages generate a click-through rate of 37% (an impressive number), while push-notifications gather around 0.6%. Though that number is lower than brands might hope for, push-notifications still produce a higher click-through rate than standard mobile banner ads (Forbes).

Apps are used most often in the hours between 8 pm and 10 pm, with over 15% of all sessions taking place within that time period. It is also interesting to note that supposed “working hours” still contribute to a large amount of total sessions.

Swrve's hourly breakdown of app sessions.
Swrve’s hourly breakdown of app sessions.

According to Swrve CEO, Christopher S. Dean: “This data confirms that building relationships on mobile is hard. Retention is a challenge, as is the need to make an impression within a short space of time.”

Meaning: your brand’s app needs to captivate users within the first few minutes, or they may never open it again.

Swrve’s data was collected during May 2014 using “over fifty applications, with tens of millions of users and billions of mobile events.”