May 23, 2013 · 2 minutes

It's been 25 years since Cinderella (the glam metal band, not the Disney princess) crooned "You don't know what you got 'til it's gone / I don't know what it is that I did so wrong." I suspect that they were singing about heartbreak and not about app developers' attempts to keep and understand their users, but the lines really apply either way. People abandoning an application is the cause of many a developer's sweet, sweet sorrow, and sometimes it takes an '80s ballad to really understand just how hard it is to accept that a user might not be coming back.

Appboy wants to help developers better understand their users and, hopefully, help them avoid becoming a heartbroken singer with outrageous hair (unless that's their thing), and is today expanding its mobile customer management service to Android to offer support to people making applications for devices without an Apple logo on their back. The service now supports some 91 percent of the mobile application market and, thanks to some undisclosed partnerships, is built into applications that reach over 150 million users each month.

Android support was one of the most oft-requested additions to Appboy's service, says Cezary Pietrzak, the company's marketing director. "We're at the point where the system was right on iOS, and the moment that happened we moved to Android," he adds. All of the features available to iOS app developers are now available to Android developers.

Appboy might be particularly useful on Android, where user retention is 52 percent lower than iOS, according to Localytics. Expanding to Android doesn't just give Appboy access to the dominant mobile operating system -- it also gives them access to a platform that could really use a customer management tool, where app developers witness high churn and lose customers more often than their iOS counterparts.

Users are fickle. They'll -- we'll -- download and abandon apps without a second thought, relegating them to the far sides of our homescreens or the depths of a rarely-opened folder. As I noted from an "app discoverability panel that wasn't":

“A small percentage of apps get used, and an even smaller percentage get used a lot,” said Louis Simeonidis, Applico’s chief marketing officer. And he’s right: Onavo reported in February that less than half of the people who download an app use it more than once. Whether or not that’s a problem for consumers is up for debate — I’ve argued that it isn’tmore than once — but it’s certainly a problem for developers, who need to keep their users engaged with their product.
Appboy wants to help developers do just that. Today's announcement brings the company that much closer to realizing that goal by allowing developers on the world's most popular mobile operating system to manage, understand, and, if all goes well, keep their users. They say that it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all; unlike Cinderella's ballad, that principle doesn't apply to app developers. For them, it's better to attract a small number of fiercely loyal users than to experience nothing but a bunch of one-launch stands.

[Image Credit: Johan Larsson]