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googleipsos-what-smarphone-users-value-in-apps-dec2016User experience is crucial in engendering website loyalty, and as it turns out, to driving satisfaction with apps. Indeed, a new report [pdf] from Google and Ipsos finds that for most smartphone users, their favorite apps are easy to use and navigate – and that this is far and away the most common element shared by users’ preferred apps.

The survey, fielded among almost 1,000 US smartphone users aged 16-64, found 61% saying that their favorite apps have a great user experience. Navigation is particularly important in retail, as many users switch to desktops to complete purchases as they find the navigation easier.

After ease of use, there was a large drop-off to the next-most cited elements of respondents’ favorite apps. Roughly one-third (34%) said that their favorite apps always offer new things to explore. The value provided by feature-rich apps is supported in separate results contained in the study: when thinking about all of the apps that they use, almost two-thirds of respondents said that they prefer those that have a wide range of features. That was the element with the broadest agreement between respondents, with respondents more likely to prefer a wide variety of features than a small number that they use frequently (58% preferring).

Of note, notifications can also be valued by smartphone users, who ranked these in the top half of elements true about their favorite apps. Obtaining opt-in permission can be beneficial to app marketers, as push notifications are credited with lifting app user engagement and retention rates.

With 85% of the Google and Ipsos survey respondents finding mobile notifications (either in apps or on the mobile web) useful, the study delved into the types that are considered most useful. The top 5 were:

  • Purchase being shipped/delivered (42%);
  • Upcoming reservation or appointment reminder (35%);
  • New discount or offer (35%);
  • Upgrade to the app itself, such as a new feature added (34%); and
  • Price reduction for a product being following (32%).

This suggests that notifications are primarily deemed useful for transactional purposes.

As for app upgrades, they can lure some smartphone users back to apps. When asked reasons why they would re-engage with apps that they’ve stopped using, almost one-third (29%) of respondents said they would due to new features being added. The top response, though, was the app using less memory (43%), which makes sense given that memory was the top app-related reason given for abandonment in the first place (a finding supported by other research).

To come full circle, the other top reason for re-engaging with an app? That it was redesigned for easier use…

About the Data: The results are based on a survey conducted by Ipsos in October 2016 among 999 US smartphone users aged 16-64.

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