A dialog of thoughts and ideas about software, usability, and products, with random science and wacky ideas thrown in for good measure.

Data Point 1: Since its inception, Groupon has quickly shot up in valuation. They even passed on at least one offer for a buy-out from Google. Groupon inspired a whole genre of similar services, including specialized daily coupon services aimed towards specific geographic and demographic sets (e.g., Bostonians, mothers), and big players like Google and Facebook are launching (or have launched) rival services. Seems like an indefatigable genre, until people started realizing that despite getting fantastic offers through Groupon, customers exhibited little loyalty to the places at which they got those great deals. (A good article at HBR that discusses some business model angles that I won't touch on in this post: The Problem with Groupon's Business Model)

Data Point 2: An analysis company, Localytics, has found that 26% of downloaded apps are used only once. According to their data collected in 2010, this number has grown over time (source). Another firm, Pinch Media, in 2009 found that, when obtaining a free app from the App Store, only 20% of users used the app the next day; the number was slightly higher for paid apps (30%). Pinch also found that 1% of people become long-term users of the apps they downloaded (source).

Data Point 3: As of writing this post, I follow 776 people on Twitter (source). Over time, I have selectively and purposefully followed these 776 people or organizations, and their posts provide a rich stream of information that keeps me abreast of technology, data, and even humor (I'm becoming a fan of some of those Twitter comics). But if Twitter went away and I had to rediscover these accounts, I'd probably recall fewer than 10% of the people or organizations I'm following.

Discussion: A common thread runs through these three data points: For better or worse, there is a lack of loyalty with respect to our use of modern media. Somehow, this goes against people's expectations: when the valuation of Groupon started to drop, it was undoubtedly a surprise to many. Analytic companies are surprising us by revealing that people don't frequently revisit apps they downloaded a few days ago. It's as if users of modern media are always looking for the next shiny thing. They spend a little time with their new toys, then they move on.

In the wake of this movement, there must be archived cruft - do people actually remove the apps they don't use anymore, or do they hang around? Am I still following Twitter users from two years ago who haven't said anything interesting (or at all) lately? I'm even guilty of this movement when I download music from Amazon or games from Steam - when was the last time I listened to those albums or played those games I downloaded a year ago?

While this is definitely not a new problem (source: personal experience!), it seems to be magnified by modern media. Is this just human nature? Is this an effect of massively available media? It is certainly an interesting study within behavioral economics. I'm sure Groupon would love to know how to reel people back to regain some of its steam.
Post a Comment