Lies, damned lies.. and (app) statistics

A Compuware study (2013) shows that as many as 80% of all downloaded apps are deleted by users within three weeks. As a destination marketer, it is important that you understand that there is more to this story and stats don’t always paint the whole picture.

My filing cabinet full of brochures (doesn’t exist)

I admit it –  I’m a techie who still loves a well put together piece of print. There is just something about a rack card, I can hardly make my way through a hotel lobby without snagging a handful. At the end of my travel day I kick back and peruse them all, some even make their way into my luggage and travel back home with me, but that’s about as far as they make it. See, I don’t have a filing cabinet full of brochures and rack cards and I never will. But I have filed it away in my noggin to one day experience the thrill of the Smokey Mountain Alpine Coaster in Pigeon Forge, TN or take a selfie with the Jimmy Carter peanut in Plains, GA.

I don’t have “statistics” to back up my assumption but I imagine that more than 80% of rack cards and brochures eventually get deleted as well, right into the trash can. But does that make them less important to your marketing plan? No way! Because we don’t have filing cabinets filled with print marketing, does that make them irrelevant? Certainly not. Well, the same holds true for apps but with one major exception; the cost to develop and maintain an app over time is more economical and has a much wider potential reach than tradition print marketing. That stated, there is an undeniable synergy between print and mobile and both should be utilized by destination marketers.

Broken apps

The number one reason an app gets deleted is because it doesn’t work. Yes that’s right, a user immediately deletes an app that’s broken. Not to get too nerdy, but there are two major app stores, first is the Apple App Store with its incredibly high standards and exhaustive app review process. There, broken apps are quickly rejected by Apple’s sentries of detail-obsessed app reviewers. Then there is the Google Play store or as us app developers call it “the download at your own risk store”. The Play store has no review process and very little oversight. The vast amount of out-of-the gate broken apps on the Play store is staggering. So it’s easy to assume these broken apps fall into the “damned lies” category of deleted apps.


35% of those 80% of apps deleted within the first three weeks are games. A “damned lie” stat. Moving on.


When it comes to some of the best user experience apps ever created many are one-off.
I would not think of stepping foot on the expansive Tennessee farmland that once a year becomes Bonnaroo without my mobile device and the Bonnaroo app. It is essential to my experience. I wouldn’t say the Bonnaroo app falls into the “damned lies” category of deleted apps, but it’s certainly a “lie” to say it’s ineffective or non-engaging because it’s disposable or one-off.

Value proposition

Let’s get this out of the way – this is not a lie nor a damned lie. Value proposition is a very important statistic in regards to why apps are deleted. This is particularly important in tourism related apps. Discovery of your app in the app store isn’t enough. It’s how you communicate the value that your app provides the user and what that value is that makes the difference in whether visitors continue to use your app. Take a look at your website analytics and it’s clear; lists are dead as a doornail. Google has done a great job of providing quick answers. Visitors no longer need to visit your website to find out where to eat or where to stay. Not only has Google and others hijacked your listings, they have done a fine job of it. However, what Google does not convey to your potential visitors is an experience. A Google search is like window shopping, whereas a mobile app is like the well trained salesperson helping you try on the latest outfits. There is a reason window displays exist, to bring shoppers inside. Once inside, those shoppers expect a curated experience. In the destination marketing funnel, mobile apps are second only to the actual on-site visit in regards to user engagement.

Common sense

Before you listen to me or anyone else, use common sense and ask common sense questions regarding your app or potential app. Is there value added? Does my app work? Is my app targeting my audience? Does my app help me reach a wider audience? If the answers to any of these questions are “Yes” then statistically, your app will succeed.. and that’s no lie.

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    By: Matt Greene

    President and CEO of Populace, Inc. Matt started his first business at the age of 18. Since then Matt has successfully owned, operated and sold several businesses as targeted acquisitions. Matt enjoys playing the guitar, banjo, pedal steel, mandolin and dobro with his friends and fellow bandmates and is a long suffering Atlanta Falcons fan.

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