Following the allegations of sexual harassment at Uber, angry customers have once again been tweeting the #DeleteUber hashtag – a tag that indicates they’re removing the app from their device and encouraging others to do so, as well. The social media campaign was first started when Uber was perceived to have taken advantage of a taxi strike against Trump’s immigration ban to promote its own service.
The original campaign was fairly effective, if only temporarily. Shortly after the campaign’s start, competitor Lyft soared up the App Store’s Top Charts, becoming a top 10 mobile application for iPhone. For a time, it ranked above Uber, as well as other popular apps like YouTube, Messenger, Google Maps and even Facebook.
The New York Times reported that 200,000 customers may have deleted their accounts during this time. Of course, with 40 million monthly users worldwide, this was only a small percentage of Uber’s overall customer base.
Uber also recovered its position after the campaign died down. It had dropped to a #19 app Overall on the App Store by January 31st, 2017, according to App Annie, as a result of users’ efforts. But it soon climbed back up the charts. As of this weekend, the app ranked #7 Overall.
Keep in mind that the Top Charts’ rankings are determined by download numbers and velocity. Mass deletions of an app alone don’t change its rankings – but if the downloads and rate of those installs slow, other top apps will be able to overtake the maligned app’s position. That’s what happened with Uber.
Now, social media users are bringing back the #DeleteUber hashtag. Some users even joked they would install Uber just so they could delete it again. But as those comments show, those who feel strongly enough about Uber’s misdeeds to delete the app in response may have already done so.
That could be why this most recent campaign has not impacted Uber’s rankings as strongly as before, despite what appears to be an increased number of hashtag impressions, as the Verge notes, citing data from Keyhole. The hashtag has seen 5 million more impressions than the weekend of Jan. 27th, its report says.
But it appears that many are now using the hashtag just to express their disgust. It’s not necessarily an indication they’re removing the app this time around.
According to app analytics firm Apptopia, the app dropped from #20 to #27 Overall in Google Play from February 20th to the 21st, but still maintained its #1 position in the U.S. Maps & Navigation category.
Meanwhile, on Apple’s App Store, the app only dropped a single spot during that same time frame, it found.
App Annie, however, shows the app moving slightly higher on the charts – going from #11 to #10 Overall from February 20th to the 21st. Regardless of which firm’s numbers you believe, this seems to indicate the new #DeleteUber campaign has little impact so far.
To give this movement more context, Lyft also fell a few ranks during this same time, Apptopia says. Lyft today is #36 Overall on the iPhone App Store.
The #DeleteUber campaign could be contributing to today’s drop, but it’s too soon to say. As of the time of writing, Uber is sitting a bit lower as a #14 Overall app on iPhone. If that rank holds for some time or drops even further, it would be a notable change and perhaps an indication that Uber’s revolting customers are actually removing its app.
In addition to its fluctuating rankings, Uber’s iOS app has seen a higher percentage of negative reviews over the past 30 days, Apptopia also found. That could be because Android devices have a broader global reach and more reviews, while the #DeleteUber campaign is more U.S.-focused.
Though a campaign like this may not have as much impact on the app’s install base as users hope, it can have other lasting effects. It can affect morale internally at the company, increase turnover, and make hiring more difficult as people will be hesitant to join a company whose culture is perceived as toxic.