Freshman college statistics teaches us Power Law effects. In simplistic terms: Pareto’s 80:20 rule is a Power Law and a great way to think about published statistics – as Mark Twain said: “Lies, damned lies, and statistics”.
Business Insider just published a summary of App segments vs retention rates and its no surprise that Games have a 2 month MAU (Monthly Active User – someone who opens the App at least once a month) retention.
But….in reality these stats are skewed by the Power Law effect of a few successful games. For every 1 successful game there is 100 that failed…horribly. The Power Law drags the average MAU higher, telling the casual reader a lie. So the real truth is that MAU for 99% of games is in weeks NOT months.
Thats extremely grim….But how many games could have increased user retention if they understood their users? Do all users just LIKE/HATE Mobile games? Some games suck – but many games just need to overcome a user’s attention-deficit state to keep them playing.
Flappy Birds originally released in May 2013 to no fanfare and no detectable MAU rate but history now shows its large user base grew radically from November 2013. Its success is a perfect storm of Mihály Csíkszentmihályi style “flow”; creating immersion but simplistic enough to be virally shared with friends to snack on. For Flappy Birds, it took 6months to hockey-stick but StreetHawk think it could have happened in 3months with right segmentation and right time messaging.
At StreetHawk we think an App’s design is (of course) critical/central but we also think making your App Habit Forming via a planned and iterated communication strategy is another key to success.
Business Insider also reports: Apps with over 10,000 MAU get retention >5months, compared with 3 months for apps with less than 10,000 MAU. By segmenting your users and communicating with them as groups (or even individuals) you can increase engagement and decrease churn.
The Business Insider article is here.