Ever wonder what time of day most people use mobile apps? 

Turns out, Android users download more during weekdays, whereas iOS users download most during weekends.

San Francisco-based AppsFlyer, a mobile marketing attribution analytics platform provider, today released a new study that shows — not surprisingly, given the company's focus — that data and analytics are the keys to navigating the apps marketplace.

According to “The State of App Marketing,” use of mobile apps "exploded" in the second half of 2015. 

But marketers are challenged by rising user acquisition costs, efforts to get users’ attention and significant churn.

The study looks at those issues, as well as offers insights on the days and times during the week best for mobile installs and engagement, as well as conversion and retention rates.

Weekend Spending

Install Activity By Region (click on different buttons to display different data)

Knowing the best engagement windows can save a business a lot of money, the study suggests. AppsFlyer used data from more than 1.1 billion non-organic installs from 6,000 apps from June 1 to Dec. 15.

According to the study, both Android and iOS users install apps mostly on the weekends, with Sunday showing highest installs for both systems.

For Android, it’s best to focus on weekday engagement campaigns, particularly Mondays. The data shows weekend activity is 5 percent lower than the weekday average. For iOS, Sundays are best, when mobile users are 6 percent more engaged with apps compared to the weekday average.

Overall, Android app downloads are pretty consistent throughout the week, but iOS peaks during the weekend. One thing to note is these are the North America stats, so if your app is targeting a global market, the usage may be different.

Conversion and Retention

The click-to-install conversion rate varies for either platform depending on the app category. In iOS categories, the top four in highest conversion rates are: health and fitness, business, productivity and lifestyle. These apps align with the average iOS user’s profile — educated, well-off and business-oriented.

Food and drink iOS apps experience low conversion rates, probably because they don’t utilize location-driven targeting. iOS travel apps, the third lowest in conversion rates, also saw a high bounce rate. People saw travel deal advertisements but did not continue when they were redirected to the app store.

Android’s top four categories are: transportation, news and magazines, lifestyle and finance. Conversions in these categories are intent-driven, so users know what to expect. Gaming continues to face low conversion rates in Android apps, which is mostly due to a crowded market. AppsFlyer recommends improving advertisement and engagement.

The lowest conversion rate was in shopping apps. Although pushing deals attract people initially, as soon as they realize there is an added step of having to install the app, they leave.

Both platforms deal with poor retention rates, with about 5 percent retained by day 30. Music and transportation apps had highest retention on Android, whereas social apps fared best on iOS. To obtain higher retention, use data and analytics to understand the sources of users and focus spending on those areas. A seamless user experience never hurts.

Direct Marketing Channels

SMS direct marketing resulted in the highest retention rates for both systems — about 46 percent for Android and 32 percent for iOS.

For QR code marketing, Android had a slightly higher retention rate at about 31 percent than iOS’ 27 percent, likely due to Android’s strong Asia market.

Email marketing brought the lowest retention rate for both. iOS totaled around 25 percent retention rate, and Android totaled around 26 percent.

Title image by Kate Serben