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Mobile Apps: Good Business If They Can Engage Users

By Adrienne Burke | Small Business

The mobile apps business is showing the promise of sustainability for makers who get users to not only download, but also actually use their applications.

“The app economy is primed for long-term success,” according to industry watchers at App Annie, an “app economy” data startup whose slogan is “build a better app business.” The company reports that worldwide time spent in apps has more than doubled since 2014’s first quarter, that the iOS App Store leads in revenue, generating nearly double the revenue of Google Play, and that many of the fastest growing apps fulfill tasks that have traditionally been completed offline.

In its “Usage is the New Currency” report released this week, App Annie tells which popular apps engage users best and explains why engagement is more important than downloads. “On the path to monetization, how users spend their time in apps is more important to long-term revenue than downloads alone,” the reports’ authors say. “Time equals money — creating stickiness within your app is likely to pay dividends down the line.”

Despite the popularity and successful monetization of gaming apps, none were among the most-used apps in April 2016. Instead, social networking and communication got the most engagement and retail apps ranked high too. The top 10 apps by monthly active user in the U.S. in April were:

  1. Facebook
  2. Facebook Messenger
  3. YouTube
  4. Google Maps
  5. Instagram
  6. Snapchat
  7. The Weather Channel
  8. Pandora Radio
  9. Amazon
  10. Twitter

With Amazon ranked ninth in the US and Japan, and eBay ranked ninth in the UK, App Annie says retail and peer-to-peer commerce apps are proving that mobile has great potential for become shoppers’ first stop.

As for growth, the apps that gained the most use in the year from April 2015 to April 2016 were:

  1. Facebook Messenger
  2. Amazon
  3. Snapchat
  4. Fitbit
  5. The Weather Channel
  6. Uber
  7. Groupon
  8. Google Maps
  9. Waze
  10. Trip Advisor

Wearables, retail, transportation facilitation are all proving to be strong markets for apps. “As services continue to migrate to apps and as more businesses further embrace apps as a core part of their digital and corporate strategy, very few areas of our lives will be left untouched by apps,” App Annie’s author’s predict. “As markets mature and app habits become ingrained, how we use apps is an even more important part of monetization strategies.”

See the full “Usage Is the New Currency” report at App Annie.

Follow Adrienne Burke @adajane

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