Mythbusting Operator Superapps, Part One

Tuomas Pippola
February 29, 2024
4 min

Have you ever paused to think about operator apps? Specifically, how well do they engage and retain users? We took the plunge into the vast ocean of data, to unravel some myths and shed light on their actual performance. The findings might surprise you.

What if we told you there's a way to supercharge an operator app experience? Our fully operator-branded turnkey solution is designed to engage and monetise users, delivering that elusive consumer delight. Delivering one task superbly. But how does it compare to existing operator apps, like self-care ones? Let's explore.

Source: Pexels, Mikael Blomqvist

We embarked on an intriguing journey to analyse data, and real-life performance from over 200 apps across 30+ markets, spanning from major players like the US, UK, and Germany to vibrant prepaid markets like Nigeria, India, and Brazil. Our quest was fuelled by data from platforms like Google Play, App Store, and, supplemented by insights from Apptimize, Adjust, and others.

Now, we approached this study with an assumption: maybe operator app retention isn't that great. But the results? Well, they're more than just numbers.

  • Imagine needing 20 downloads just for 1 active user. Sounds implausible? But that's what the data shows
  • How about turning only 10% of those who've installed your app into active monthly users?

Retention is the heartbeat of the app economy. We were curious about the first month's retention. Top 100 apps retain roughly 30% of their users in their first month, as per Apptimize's 2015 study. We expected leading operators to be amongst this elite group. But here’s a revelation:

  • First month retention? A mere average of 7.5% with a median of 8%
  • The best of the operator in the world we found? Managing to retain only 20% after the first month (spoiler: it is an MVNO)
  • The top 10% of operator apps clung to less than 12% of their users
  • The bottom 10% could only hold on to 2.5% - losing over 97 out of 100 users they attract to try their app
  • Superapps? Do not perform any better than basic operator self-care apps

Our hard data indicate that the top-performing operator apps falls clearly short when compared even to the worst of our own app. We have proven our app can deliver up to 79% of first month retention - four times higher than anything we found. Thought-provoking, isn't it?

Why such low numbers for operator apps though? Feature overload? Super apps not performing any single task well? Or perhaps a lacklustre onboarding experience, or pesky notifications, or simply not leveraging get-keep-monetise data effectively? After all, if an app doesn't resonate with a user's needs, why would they stick around?

Source: Pexels, Sebastian Voortman

So, where do we go from here? If you're seeking a transformative solution or just wish to juxtapose your app's metrics with our findings, let's chat. Your next app's chapter might just be a game-changer for your brand.

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