One of the key mistakes the industry makes is focusing on installs rather than user retention, according to the CEO of YouAppi, a mobile apps analytics company which has just launched a new version of its OneRun platform.

“With most apps today being free, developers and marketers pay for installs but earn nothing. Yet the technology exists to monitor user patterns – post-install events – in order to understand which user types coming from which traffic sources have the greatest lifetime customer value,” Moshe Vaknin (pictured, below) told Mobile World Live.

“It’s like a restaurant giving out 50 per cent off vouchers to thousands of users who will never go back to the establishment,” he further elaborated, which is “fine if it will serve as the catalyst for building a long term customer relationship, but not if the customer never returns”.

His ideas echo those relayed in a recent Gartner report, which says app providers need to focus their development, marketing and branding “more intensely toward retention strategies”, as the market matures and users become comfortable with current usage levels.

YouAppi CEoVaknin added that his company provides the technology – a content matching algorithm in conjunction with predictive analytics and demographic/behavioural data – to target the right prospects.

The new version of OneRun also includes a campaign performance dashboard and inventory analysis.

“We needed to develop a robust solution that will help YouAppi and our advertisers and publishers track and manage the complex KPIs for each campaign, ultimately identifying the app’s most profitable customers. And for each app, those KPIs will be different,” added Vaknin.

“Though every mobile marketer is looking to generate revenue, the KPIs that will most accurately predict profitable customers aren’t always clear, known or the same for different apps. To better understand the impact of KPIs on conversion, YouAppi works with customers to analyse all post-install events in order to determine the drivers for conversion, then optimise campaigns to increase lifetime customer value.”

Post-install events
Though events vary by app and category, one of the most significant post-install events in Vaknin’s opinion is the number of times it is accessed in the first 24 hours as this indicates initial interest or, conversely, “provides the first indication of a potential problem.”

The number of times an app is accessed in the first week is also important, as is time spent per session and overall time spent, which shows “the degree of engagement.”

It is also important to see what kinds of permission the user grants, such as access to their location and other personal data, as this shows levels of trust; items placed in the shopping cart show intent of purchase; and social shares indicate “likability” – for example if they want their friends to know they are using the app.

But historical data collected over time is also essential, says Vaknin: “It enables us to obtain a real picture of the customer journey as opposed to a snapshot from one moment in time.”

“Because usage patterns change, historical data is necessary in order to predict customer lifetime value.”

Speaking on market trends, Vaknin said advertising on TV is being explored as “other channels are getting saturated” and that “the smart app marketer who is monitoring user acquisition costs in real-time will know exactly which channels are delivering the best customers with the highest customer lifetime value”.

The company, which raised $3 million in October, said wearables, including the Apple Watch, as well as Internet of Things appliances, are platforms it wants to support and are very much “part of our digital future”.