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An app rating is worth a thousand words

Have you ever downloaded an app, only to never use it again? You’re not alone. With millions of mobile apps available these days, users don’t have to be loyal. We can pick, choose, download and dump any number of apps until we find the right one for the job at hand.

Mobile app retention studies have shown that one-quarter of users that install an app never open that app again, according to Forbes. And even though retention rates have improved slightly over the past few years, app analytics firm Localytics reports that 20% of apps are still opened only once, and only 39% are used more than 11 times in a nine-month period. (Interestingly, Android users show more loyalty toward apps than iOS users; 16% abandon Android apps after one use, while that figure is 23% on iOS.)

That cavalier consumer attitude can be pretty dangerous in the enterprise. Building and deploying mobile applications for business use is a long, expensive and complex process. Fortunately, there is a bit more IT and developers can do than simply hope and pray that employees will actually use these apps. They should pay close attention to user feedback, ratings and in-app analytics to get a real feel for what employees want in a mobile application — and what happens when they don’t get it.

This month’s Modern Mobility cover story, “The Rise of Mobile DevOps,” explains how the DevOps philosophy helps enterprises streamline mobile app development and management. By working together, the development and operations teams can better build, deploy, track and manage mobile applications. A key part of that process is regularly gathering user feedback and quickly responding to that feedback with more incremental updates and added features.

“DevOps opens the door to more information about user satisfaction and activity within an app — not only through reviews and other forms of direct feedback, but through in-app analytics as well,” editor in chief Colin Steele writes. “Developers can build monitoring into apps and get real-time information about crashes, user behavior and more.”

There are so many ways that consumers can provide feedback about the apps they access on a daily basis. You can write a review directly in the app store, and you’ve surely noticed those incessant pop-ups asking you to rate apps with stars. But instead of the knee-jerk reaction to tap Ask Me Again Later (as I do), why not actually give some useful feedback?

In the workplace, users would do well to provide feedback and ratings for enterprise mobile apps. And developers and IT admins would do well to try out the DevOps approach. With these efforts on all sides, as Forrester Research’s Jeffrey Hammond says in the cover story, app abandonment rates go down and employee productivity goes up.