The Drinkaware app
To reduce long-term alcohol-related health harm amongst adults through a programme of interventions aimed at equipping specific segments of the UK poppation who drink over the Government guidelines, to moderate their alcohol intake.
In August 2014, Drinkaware launched its free mobile app allowing users to track their drinking, calculate units and calories and set goals to cut down.
With over half (55%) of visits to the Drinkaware website now coming from mobile and tablet, the app is an important tool to support people across all digital platforms.
The practical and easy-to-use app from Drinkaware helps users understand the impact of their drinking, and supports them to change their habits for the better.
The app has:
an extensive listing of alcohol brands with information on units and calories in different serving sizes, making it easy for the user to correctly record their alcohol consumption.
regular, personalised feedback on drinking patterns.
the ability to set goals and rewards when they are achieved.
a Pinpoint service that engages people at times and locations where they know they will need extra support to moderate their drinking.
visual aids to see how drinking has changed over time.
functionality to share progress with friends and family via social media.
The app was redesigned and revitalised for 2018. Users can now: learn more about the health benefits of cutting down.
track the cost of drinks and see exactly how much they have saved by cutting back.
get encouragement to stick to goals at the places they need it most.
It has also an updated design allowing clearer feedback on users’ drinking with a simplified, more modern interface. Improved navigation making it easier to track drinks, set goals and access weak spots. All app features are now available at a single touch of a button. More drink brands were added to the database.
There were 54,000 downloads and 422,000 user sessions in the period August to December 2014. In 2015 itwas downloaded and used for 3 dayse tracking in Week 1 by 39,339.
The app has been: Featured in ‘Guardian App of the Week’, Awarded ‘five-stars’ as best FREE app review in Web User and was highlighted on BBC Radio 4’s “You & Yours: Do you drink too much?”, Telegraph, Digital Spy, BT.com and more.
The app has 1,617 reviews on the Google play store as of December 2017. (5* 757, 4* 511, 3* 114, 2* 59, 1* 176). It has between 100,000 and 500,000 installs.
The iOS version has 703 Ratings on the apple store (as of December 2017).
Measurement & evaluation
An independent evaluation to explore users’ motivations, patterns of app usage and changes in self-reported drinking behaviours will be published in 2015. Preliminary findings (2014) show that the Drinkaware app has potential to have a significant impact on drinking behaviours amongst groups whose drinking is putting their health at risk.
Who is using the app?
The app is used by people of all ages; there are more female than male users (56% vs. 43%) with most (54%) classified as “low risk”. Based on self-reported drinking behaviour, however, 29% of app users were drinking at “increasing risk” levels, and 17% at “high risk” levels at the start of their app use. In the general poppation, 19% of men and 14% of women are “increasing risk” drinkers, and 5% of men and 4% of women are “high risk” drinkers.
Motivations for using the Drinkaware app
Female app users most frequently cite losing weight as their motivation for downloading the Drinkaware app (28%), whilst men more often state they are “just curious” (26%). For individuals classified as “low risk', being “just curious” is the most common reason cited for downloading the app (in 28% of cases), but weight loss is also cited by 24% of this group. 42% of individuals classified as “high risk” however, cite “reduce drinking” as their motivation for downloading the app.
Goal-setting. The Drinkaware app allows users to set one of three goals — a “no drink day”, “drink within guidelines” and “drink one drink less”.
Users who set goals tend to be older than users who do not set goals, and most frequently, users set goals around the number of “no drink days”.
Women are twice as likely to try any of the goals available in the app and are two-thirds more likely than men to set a goal consistently over time.
Gender differences in meeting goals was apparent only for “No Drink Day”, where men were approximately 20% more likely to be successful in achieving this goal than women.
Does the app have an impact on drinking behaviours? After using the app for 4 weeks:
Users who are motivated to be healthier, lose weight and reduce drinking report drinking on average 2-3 fewer units of alcohol per week than users who do not provide information or are “just curious”.
Users who use the “weak spot” feature (at least once) report drinking, on average, 7.5 fewer units per week of alcohol compared to users who do not use this feature.
The use of goal setting (setting any goals or setting goals consistently) does not appear to be related to a reduction in drinking.
After using the app consistently over 12 weeks:
The average number of units of alcohol consumed and number of binge sessions per week decreases over time.
Whilst the number of “no drink” days initially increases after using the Drinkaware app for just one week, after 1 2 weeks, users appears to revert to previous drinking frequency or even report having fewer “no drink” days than previously.
These patterns are the same for both men and women.
User motivation to reduce drinking is associated with drinking less at follow-up (approximately 12 units fewer per week) compared to other motivations.