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Retention versus frequency for mobile product categories

One of the frequent points I try to make on this blog is that metrics are a reflection of your strategy you’ve chosen, not the other way around.

This is particularly important in the context of comparable numbers, like +1 day or +1 week retention, DAU/MAU, or the plethora of other metrics that are used to assess a business. It’s not a good idea to just blindly try to hit a certain set of metrics – different kinds of products have different sets of healthy numbers. The best example is something like tax software, which has a DAU/MAU of essentially zero but you can still build Intuit out of it. On the other hand, if you compare favorably or unfavorably in your category, all the better. I previously wrote about this in the context of DAU/MAU and “nature versus nuture for products”

On this note, Flurry recently updated their retention versus frequency chart for different mobile app companies and it’s worth checking out.

The outliers are super interesting:

  • Communication is both super retentive and high frequency, but man, what a busy space :)
  • Streaming Music, Games, and Dating have a lot of frequency while you’re using it, but you soon abandon the app and go somewhere else. Probably a good argument for products in this category to try to make money right away, since you won’t keep them for long
  • News, Sports scores, Reference, Weather have high retention, but not necessarily high frequency. Probably some great businesses to be built here, especially when you can tie it to some kind of transaction – sports and reference, in particular. Weather, not so much?
  • Retail is probably apps put out by brands that aren’t super useful. The other stuff in that corner all sounds junky
  • Photo and Video surprisingly has terrible stats for something so important. Maybe outside of Instagram, it’s sort of an overrated category?

Anyway, worth reading the article and looking at the diagram more closely. Thanks again to Peter Farago at Flurry for putting this together.

UPDATE: Nabeel Hyatt of Spark Capital (previously GM Zynga and serial entrepreneur) wrote some excellent commentary on this chart as well. Worth reading.

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