The hardest thing about building a mobile company isn’t gaining users; it’s retaining them. And by this measure most social apps, including Snapchat, Vine and Twitter, are doing badly compared to Facebook and, surprisingly, Blackberry Messenger, particularly in Asia’s emerging markets.
The Information asked a startup called Quettra for user-retention information for 19 well-known social apps from the first quarter of this year. The company is in the business of building tools to help app developers boost retention and has a vested interested in showing how apps lose users.
Quettra’s code, in the form of a software-developer kit, is installed on more than 75 million Android phones around the world—roughly 6 percent of the total number of active Android phones—thanks to partnerships with certain app developers. That gives Quettra visibility into how many times and for how long a phone owner accessed various apps. Half the Android phones it analyzes are in Asia (except for China); the rest are spread relatively evenly across the rest of the world.