Radio App Stats. What does it all mean?

My inbox has just pinged with news from the Global Radio bunker. It says…

*first commercial station to break through million single-platform downloads*

Global Radio, the UK’s largest commercial radio group, has revealed that its Capital FM mobile application was downloaded for the millionth time yesterday by iPhone and iPad users across the UK.

Capital FM has seen a massive jump in downloads recently as the brand launched as a network across the UK on 95 – 106 FM on 3rd January, making it the most popular free music iPhone app in the UK*. In the first month of 2011, over 30% of the total number of Apple applications were downloaded.

This announcement also coincides with the star-studded national TV advertising campaign for Capital FM which features some of the world’s biggest artists including Rihanna, The Black Eyed Peas, Tinie Tempah and Usher.

Richard Park, Director of Broadcasting at Global Radio said: “This is testament to the power of the new Capital network! We’re delighted that a million people are now listening to the best in hit music on Capital via their iPhones and iPads.”

*Source: iTunes App Store

The problem with lots of the data in the release, is that it doesn’t make much sense.

So, the claims:

1. First commercial station to break through million single-platform downloads

Really? Might be true, might not be. No one publishes this data and I don’t think Apple hand it out.

2. “downloaded for the millionth time yesterday by… users across the UK”

It’s a good distinction to make, I bet there’s additionally lots of overseas downloads. You can often see UK radio apps appear in other country’s charts.

3. “making it the most popular free music iPhone app in the UK*”

Well, if you get to number one in the iTunes chart, that’s a perfectly good claim to make. We don’t, of course, know how the chart works. It’s not ‘the most downloads now’ because the iTunes chart partly work on momentum.

4. “In the first month of 2011, over 30% of the total number of Apple applications were downloaded”

I don’t really know what this means. I’m assuming that it means that 300k of the 1m downloads happened since all the Galaxies/HMN stations re-branded in Jan. This is a lot, over a quick period of time, though 700k was amassed over the previous two years.

I think what it does certainly show is the power of a big brand that can cheaply market.

5. “We’re delighted that a million people are now listening to the best in hit music on Capital via their iPhones and iPads”

Well, we do know that this one isn’t true. If all downloaders were listeners you would have an insane app conversion rate.

Generally around 50% of people who download an app, only use it once. Though this percentage massively depends on the app category and what it’s like.

The number that would be interesting is ‘active users’ – that’s people who’ve opened it in a certain period of time. An additional useful number is the volume of  ‘app opens’ you have. It’s easy to record and a good example of the stickiness of apps.

Downloads though, isn’t worth a lot, even when playing by the rules (UK users, not including updates) – it just doesn’t really tell you much.

Can we please have a metric that all of UK radio agree on?

Can I suggest, the Deegan Doctrine v0.9?

1. Radio groups shall publish monthly figures for their apps

2. The figures will include:

a. Monthly UK App Downloads (Pointless as it is, i’m sure people will still want to show this off and it’s easily observable in iTunes Connect. It should not include ‘updates’)

b. Monthly active users (that’s the number of different UDIDs in a calendar month that have opened the app)

c. Monthly app opens (that’s the total number of times that an app’s been opened in a month)

Ideally, b and c should be UK-only, but i’m not sure everyone will have the ability to do measure this.

Another thing that’s complicated for everyone to do, but something that everyone should aim for:

d. Total in-app time (total hours spent in the app from all the instances of use, again ideally UK use)

By publishing these figures the UK Radio industry would show how well it’s doing in the mobile environment, offer some common metrics to advertisers  and provide a way for these advertisers to benchmark the different groups. With more revenue generated from apps, then more money will be spent on them, creating a better product for listeners.

So, thoughts? Clive D, Nick P, Bruce M, Phill C, Chris K (when you have one)? How are my metrics? Would you publish your data?

5 thoughts on “Radio App Stats. What does it all mean?”

  1. I assume they haven’t arrived at this 1 million figure by combining previous downloads of the Galaxy, Red Dragon, Trent, Ram and Leicester Sound apps with genuine Capital app downloads – as they did with their Faceboook page?

  2. Very nice forensics, Matt! For years, claims by commercial radio companies have been vulnerable to due diligence. Sensible suggestions might including the source/verification of such claims. Without, message like this from Global are meaningless waffle.

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