Mobile users, Going…Going…Gone. Whoops.

Published 12th January

Retention of users and usage frequency will become far more important for mobile services and should be central to mobile strategy for many organisations as they start to attempt to deliver real value from mobile.  

Last week I posted about the shocking reality of the retention levels of Apple and Android Applications. Analytics company Flurry recently reporting that some 70% of users do not return to a service after just 60 days. Despite the poor retention level, those that do continue to use services average a very respectable frequency of 6.7 uses per week –  showing loyalty does pay.

The retention figure indicates applications have in effect degraded into a series of “one-off offers”. If this continues, for many organisations the numbers will simply not add up to a sustainable business model. And to re-engage a consumer for a second time is infinitely harder and far more costly.

Why is this happening? I believe this is due to the continued attention around platforms – iPhone, Android, Bada, Microsoft etc. – is distracting many organisations. To the extent that delivering an Application has seemingly become more important than the actual offer. The result is many services fail to deliver to consumer expectation and their interest is rapidly lost.

This poses the question – If only service providers could increase retention levels and maintain frequency of usage?

This is achievable but requires a slightly different thought process.

The reason consumers return to a service is because it offers something that is useful. Typically a consumer when mobile wants something, usually now – patience and tolerance is reduced. The outcome of the service interaction is so important – the consumer action is more than likely why they came in the first place. Recognise ‘what’ a consumer wants to do? This is one of the most important components to deliver against.   

A second area – determine ’why’ the offer is relevant to ensure the service delivers. Often more is less, just because elements flourish in a fixed online environment does not mean they will in mobile. The offering should be defined strategically and designed to evolve, this will support ongoing engagement and retention.  

Once the ‘what’ and ‘why’  are defined the ‘how’ to deliver  becomes important – an enabler that brings a service to life. The ability to deliver services to your audience; the format of those services, the platforms they operate, the priority and scheduling of development, the investment required, then become part of the mobile strategy jigsaw.

Reversing the process in this way – what, why and then how – ensures a focus on the consumer, rather than become embroiled in the ‘cool’ factor trap of mobile that we see many fall in to today. Get this right and improved retention levels and usage will result. This will in turn support the delivery of real value.

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