Beyond the Numbers: Lots of Downloads mean Little without Active Usage

Beyond the Numbers: Lots of Downloads mean Little without Active Usage


Creating apps to foster customer loyalty is common these days. Thanks in part to iTunes Top Downloaded lists, app success is measured by number of downloads. To find success as a marketing tool however, downloading the app is not enough. The potential consumer must also use the app on a regular basis. As challenging as it is to achieve a substantial number of downloads, creating an app that keeps people coming back is much more difficult.

Many companies are creating games to help increase engagement. Schlotzsky’s, the cafe and bakery franchise, has found success in the two games it recently added to its app. reports on CMO Mark Mears’s reasoning behind the two new games:

“We want to engage customers on an emotional level….The idea of gamification and social media sharing has become its own sport, if you will. People have a chance to share their scores with their friends, and compare and contrast who is doing well and not well and there’s a psychic benefit to that.”


The success of the updated app indicates that Mr. Mears is on to something. As of this month, playing games to promote loyalty is just as successful as the old model, which offered a free sandwich when someone signed up in the app.

Unlike the free sandwich offer, this game model is more likely to have consumers open the app again and again. As they gain points, they become ambassadors for the brand, the idea being that getting rewarded for game loyalty fosters brand loyalty.

It’s too soon to tell what the long-term effects will be for Schlotzsky’s new app. So far, the company is seeing an increase in active users.

Gamification is becoming an increasingly important marketing strategy. But even the most addictive games can only keep the player’s attention for so long. When that day comes, what happens to the costumer loyalty?


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