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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : February 24, 2009

Lifespan of mobile apps found wanting

Mobile phone applications, or 'apps', are increasingly popular with brand marketers and consumers are snapping them up, but new research has found that their lifespan is very limited.

by Helen Leggatt

pinch media logo.jpgInstead of bland WAP banner ads and location-based text ads, brand marketers are developing mobile apps to engage consumers and immerse them in a branded environment. Apps take the form of games, information services (weather, health, finance) or plain gimmickry as in British beer brand Carling's iPhone iPint.

But don't expect consumers to spend too long interacting with these apps, says Pinch Media. The company, whose analytics engine can be used to track the performance of participating iPhone apps, found that just 30% of people purchasing iPhone apps use them the next day, and free apps fare worse with just 20%.

It gets worse over time. The study, "AppStore Secrets - What We've Learned From 30,000,000 Downloads', found that less than 5% of iPhone users are still actively using an app a month after downloading it. After 90 days that figure hovers around the 1% mark.

In terms of the potential for mobile advertising via apps, Pinch Media concluded that currently less than 5% of applications on the AppStore are suitable for advertising, in terms of generating a return. "In other words, unless there's something inherent about the app that screams 'free', sell it," advises Pinch Media in a slide show of their findings, and only release an ad supported version if the data strongly suggests a developer has a 'sticky' app.

Tags: brand marketers, iPhone, lifespan, mobile advertising, mobile applications, mobile apps, Pinch Media

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