Localytics Launches Uninstall Tracking

Mobile engagement platform Localytics today announced the launch of its Uninstall Tracking feature, which aims to provide businesses with insight into why users disengage from their apps. Uninstall Tracking also looks to assist businesses in better targeting their re-engagement efforts to users who have chosen to uninstall an app.

Uninstall Tracking functions by delivering silent push messages to users on a daily basis and reporting cases where a user's operating system—iOS or Android—indicates that the app is no longer available. Uninstall Tracking is particularly effective on iOS devices, with recent improvements to push-related services and transparency by Apple enabling near 100 percent accuracy in measuring uninstalls.

Lou Orfanos, vice president of product at Localytics, notes via email that Apple launched its Apple Push Notification Service (APNS) in 2009, enabling third-party app developers to send notification data to apps installed on Apple devices. Apple also incorporated a "feedback" mechanism into its service to communicate whether a specific device was able to receive a push notification, and, if not, to indicate the reason why. According to Orfanos, early uninstall tracking relied heavily on this service, even though the service was unreliable.

In 2015, Apple updated APNS to allow for "silent" push notifications, which users cannot opt out of, even if they disable background data. Orfanos says that delivering a "regular cadence of silent pushes to a device and observing the result from the APNS feedback service can now give a true read on app uninstalls."

There are three key components to Uninstall Tracking. First, the system enables businesses to determine how uninstalls are trending over time by providing time-series uninstall reports. Second, it provides information on specific behaviors users exhibited before uninstalling an app, with the goal of providing businesses with insight into why users disengage. Third, Uninstall Tracking allows businesses to deliver a win-back email or a Facebook remarketing campaign to users who have elected to uninstall an app.

Orfanos says there are several areas within Localytics’ current platform where Uninstall Tracking can integrate effectively. First, funnels can show common user behavior paths that lead to uninstalls. Second, segments can reveal behavioral and technographic dimensions associated with users who uninstall. Third, businesses can establish audiences for targeting win-back and Facebook remarketing campaigns. Finally, businesses can measure the true impact of campaign performance by determining their effect on uninstall behavior.

"Remarketing campaigns and win-back emails are certainly the most effective ways of drawing users back to an app after they have uninstalled. But we often advise customers to focus on improving their engagement with users before they ever churn," Orfanos says via email. "Sending irrelevant push messages to unsegmented groups of users, or not delivering the right value that the particular user wants, will drive your users to either disengage, or in many cases, churn altogether. By taking a more data-driven approach to engagement and using those important insights to truly understand what users want, companies can combat the churn problem much earlier in the process and deliver far better app experiences."

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