Why is our industry so obsessed with installs and not churn or retention?

Nick Sheriff
2 replies
The market data shows a collective lack of care because next year the mobile app install ad market will be a $118 billion dollar space that's an almost 50% growth from 2020 and it's showing no signs of slowing down. Why is it that we have an industry outside of tech, that’s directly reliant on distribution in a mobile first & mobile only society, and is perfectly capable of discussing, measuring, improving & reporting on the two most important metrics of any mobile app churn & retention! Have you ever seen an article titled “To prevent churn, Snapchat...” “A challenge for Venmo will be keeping their churn rate low next quarter...” “Mobile Apps learns to embrace fixing their churn rate...” It makes it appear as if churn and retention as a major concern is only plaguing apps that stream content, or ones that have a subscription model attached but this couldn’t be further from the reality. Churn and Retention impact every product and service forever! Over 90% of my own clients come to me not lacking vanity metrics, because most are spending five to six figures a week on Facebook, Snapchat and Tiktok to run mobile app install campaigns. Yet at the same time these apps are 3-8 years old and all of them have two things in common, all. High Churn & Low Retention for 3-8 years????! They have all raised millions in vc funding and are run by amazing teams, yet they aren't focusing on what they need to focus on. My question is why isn't this a focus for most, why aren't we talking about it in tech, why isn't this the obsession, on even a small degree, because many didn't even know how to check their churn and retention, and the ones that did it was apparent they didn't seem to care. Churn and Low Retention = not only "death" but If you're spending $ on mobile app installs you're literally burning cash.


Shiva Prabhakaran
Installs serve as the top of the funnel which is the first real hard-step that most developers face. Hence, the obsession. Churn on the other hand is a problem people think is part of running an app.
Rashmi Gupta
Getting the top funnel does looks like the most important thing as the rest of it is already known more or less..for example if for any kind of App, retention is said to be 5%..so all are mentally prepared and not really challenging the market norms. But I agree, if we focus a bit more on the bottom of the funnel, we can generate better revenue with less cost.