The key challenge for Graffiti artists in New York ( or anywhere) is how to Get Up and how to Stay Up; how to get your art on the side of that subway train or high wall and is it good enough to Stay Up or will another artist decide they can do better and paint over your work?
It’s the same for Apps – how do you Get Up on a users home screen and how do you Stay Up, rather than being deleted or just pushed back across screens until your in the App Graveyard 7 or 8 screens back?
Just like the power laws that mean 80% of all Google traffic comes from the first page of results (with 80% of the rest from the second) and 80% of all TV viewing is from the first page of the Sky EPG, we suspect a huge amount of app usage is driven by those apps on the home screen
So the phone home screen has the same role – and we find apps can get put there then are relegated as new apps come along – over time the most useful stay there.
But we don’t know. There is very little data available on how people use apps. Apple and Google know what we have downloaded, and Apple know (?) how we have grouped apps. Facebook know through their Facebook Connect a lot of the apps we have –and some insight into how they are used. And Yahoo have a good idea on Android with their Aviate app.
The other people with really good insights into app usage are Flurry and their latest research shows the half life of apps – that is how long before the number of monthly average users hits 50% of its peak.
Half of apps lose half their peak users in just 3 months. For games the half life is 2 months whilst news apps average 7.
But for real insight you can’t beat talking to users and seeing what apps they have on their home screens is really valuable. But its not scalable. Or is it?
The clever people at Betaworks came up with a way of boosting their sample – people sharing their homescreen on Twitter and Instagram. From this they have built a fascinating report that is a must read. Our favourite fact is that 14% of people don’t have the phone ‘app’ on their home screen.
For further insight the new Deloitte report is interesting – one trend they note is that the number of apps downloaded is down by around 10%.