Why Apps Fail: Reasons and Rescues~A Complete Guide for 2021

Why Apps Fail: Reasons and Rescues~A Complete Guide for 2021

How should you protect your mobile app from becoming another common app failure?

Updated on :
January 13th, 2021
Twinkle Kalkandha
Twinkle Kalkandha
Product Strategist

It is a fact that mobile app usage, in terms of downloads, sales and viewership is on an all time high. In fact, with more than 37 billion downloads in the 2nd quarter of 2020, the industry has been witnessing a year on year growth of more than 9%.

But do not let this fact soar your expectations from your mobile apps to unrealistic scales. To sober you down, it is also a fact that due to problems with mobile apps, approximately one-thirds of mobile apps get uninstalled within one month of their installation. The mobile app failure rate is thus, also on an all time high.

App development does not occur in a day or at whim. It takes a lot of patience, effort, focus from the developers as well as a lot of time and money from the app owners. You obviously don’t want all of this to go in vain due to minor negligence or app developer mistakes. We have thus, consolidated reasons that lead to these mistakes and remedial measures to either avoid or correct them.

Understanding Why Mobile Apps Fail

Remember, that downloading an app is mostly an impulsive decision for the viewer and happens within a matter of seconds. But, if they find no use for it, they tend to uninstall it after a certain time period. When this happens repetitively, it gives rise to the ‘fail app’ scenario.

To avoid application failure completely, you should be minutely looking into:

1.Gaps in Market Research

Before you begin any business, you need to first identify your customers, identify your target markets, understand their personalities, expectations and requirements and try connecting with them on a more personal basis (emails, social media,etc.) as soon as possible. Not able to do this well, is a perfect recipe for a fail app.

If your user feels that your mobile app is unable to fulfill their requirements or is able to satisfactorily do the task it was meant to, they would sooner, than later end up uninstalling your app.

mobile apps that failed

If there are problems with mobile app and it becomes:

  • Irrelevant for the user,
  • Does not perform tasks as per user expectations
  • There exist mobile apps already that work better than your app (the user may have them or may know about them!)

So, you need to move fast. Your users might end up uninstalling your app for the same.

Remember that, when you develop your mobile app business, you do not have all the time in the world to make an impression. For instance: If you are aware that Generation Z is your target audience, you should not be including long forms to fill within your app. They won’t have the patience or inclination to fill them and are more likely to completely uninstall your app on encountering them.

To avoid biggest app failures, early on, you should have the complete information of your user and industry market with a complete vision of user options. Try and ensure you develop a mobile app that fulfils a market gap in terms of productivity, as well as click with your user base in terms of usability.

2. UI/UX Mistakes

We understand that building an app is a complex procedure that involves various tasks like creating backends, frontends, user communications, content, data, etc. that needs to be well organized by an experienced app developer. Though you might have done all this correct, there might be issues or UI/UX mistakes within the final mobile app product that might end up categorizing your app within badly designed apps. Your app may :

  • Have a high load time: In these times where we have new technologies and development trends changing every other day, to provide users with a mobile app that takes long to load, could sound as a death knell for your app. It could lead to a fail app.

As per google reports, ‘the probability of bounce increases 32% as page load time goes from 1 second to 3 seconds’. A number which is far too high to not consider. So remember, that a second extra can actually make you lose viewers and become a reason for app failures.

mobile app failure rate

To keep this under control:

  • Try to keep images and video (including advertisements) in limit, so as they do not end up making your app heavy.
  • Make a clear and concise user interface that is easy to load.
  • Look out to remove all server glitches beforehand to provide your users a smooth user experience.

For this, you would need to hire an app developer with the appropriate skill set to track and manage all these aspects of app development.

  • RAM, ROM or Memory requirements are too high: Memory, ROM (read only memory) and RAM (random access memory) are limited smartphone resources that are required by all mobile apps to function and are shared by all functions of a gadget. Now, imagine you develop an app that uses a lot of mobile processing and storage power. This would lead users to download your app initially, but later uninstalling due as their mobile functionalities might get heavier, leading to development of a fail app.

If, within your mobile app:

  • CPU power usage is too high
  • Battery drains faster
  • Caches too much data

Your viewership and sales numbers are bound to suffer, leading to high chances of app failure.

Why? With millions of apps to choose from, why will users choose to download and keep mobile apps with bad UX that drains battery and performance of their phone? Thus, your mobile app developer should be able to optimize their requirement and utilization by the mobile app, in order to save it from app abandonment and uninstalls.

To avoid the ‘fail app’ scenario, you should ask your developers to use app development best practices and track memory usage of the app at every development stage, in order to keep things under control.

  • Poorly designed apps: A bad user experience is centric to mostly all apps that failed. It basically defines how well or how bad a mobile app communicates with its user. A well done user experience, helps the user easily navigate through the functionalities of an app without making you feel, that is even there.

Apps with bad UX jots out separately, even if it is presumably a simple app. The reasons could be many:

  • Mobile apps with bad user interface at times have designers actually focus on aesthetics, rather than the actual usability and features of the app.
  • Unnecessary use of functions is also an example of bad UI/UX design. For instance, the Ola app requires the user to open their GPS settings, even when booking an app for someone else at some other location.
  • Too much cluttering also causes usability issues. Too much content or too much functionalities may leave a user feeling disoriented. If the user has to sieve through a lot of options, to find what they are looking for in your app, they might end up uninstalling it. Thus a clear cut ux design in this aspect helps get work done easily.
  • Too long forms to fill by the user for login id’s etc. could also turn off the user.

The above stated reasons have been the cause of several bad mobile app examples. Avoid them all to create a mobile app that is pleasing for the user.

Design an app with :

  • Clear design
  • Crisp communications through content
  • Include App navigation assistance
  • Clear ‘action’ buttons
  • Dynamic visual content
  • Try to make a password-less app
  • Motion Graphics and app technology platforms like VR and AR can also be used to enhance user experience

These design trends can actually help you avoid application failures.

3. Application Platforms

Though there are more than 5 billion smartphone users across the world; remember they stand divided amongst the Android and iOS platforms for usage. So, do their uninstall rates.

why mobile apps fail

The two technology platforms and frameworks include different app interfaces, guidelines, work procedures, etc. For instance, androids generally have a back button option, whereas the Apple phones do not. Ignoring one for the sake of the other could thus prove as a reason for app failures.

When hiring app freelance or remote app developers or hiring an app development company altogether, lookout and analyze whether they have expertise and experience in developing mobile apps on the platform(s) of your choice with the requisite mobile app frameworks.

4. Your App Idea Itself

There are more than 5 million apps out there on Google and Apple’s play stores. Having one more makes no difference, until and unless it has something new to offer to its customers. Thus, if you intend to build a successful mobile app, lookout for some original app ideas. Also, research about the idea across markets to ensure that is your app idea worth it? A bad app idea has been a prominent reason for apps that failed.

To avoid application failure at a later stage, research your markets and develop a prototype before developing the final app. It would help you understand market inclinations better and evolve your mobile app as per these requirements. An original app idea has its weight in gold, but simply mimicking an already developed and successful app is only a waste of funds, effort and time. For instance, with Ola and Uber already big names on the cab radar, developing a similar taxi aggregator platform could easily become an example of apps that failed because developing it is in itself a very complex task, both in terms of development as well as user acquisitions.

5. Inadequate testing

One of the major reasons for mobile apps that failed has been the issue of not testing enough for glitches before launch. This leaves a bad first impression on the user, leading them to abandoning the apps.

Thinking about ‘why do my downloads keep failing’ at a later stage could prove quite costly for a mobile app business, leading to investment , sales and brand value loss. Even if a User interface, User experience or any other above stated app developer mistake is present in a mobile app, it should be analyzed and removed beforehand in the testing phase, before launching the apps to the users. To avoid such app failures, you could:

  • Automate your testing strategy for optimum processes and results.
  • Include both DevOps and Agile testing strategies , individually or combined
  • You could choose to utilize open-Source Tools
  • In order to avoid app failures, ensure you test Data as well as the Test Environment Management
  • You should also be testing with other connected or bound to be connected IoT devices.
  • Make sure you also test on Real Devices as well as Cloud
  • You could also opt to use AI for Testing

There is an average 57% churn rate of apps within the first 1 month for mobile apps, growing to upto 71% in the first 90 days. Providing users with a mobile app that is not tested enough, can lead to unsatisfied user uninstalls and can become a prime reason for mobile app failure. So look to hire app developers that have testers and testing toolkits within their teams.

6.Not Marketed Enough

You have a good app on your hands, you have launched it already; but how will an app user know about it until and unless it is marketed well.

You need to clearly set in place a clear marketing strategy that will help your app to reach its desired audiences. In this aspect, you should be pretty clear about the channels you wish to include in your app marketing strategies and investments that you are to put in. Hiring a well-established app marketing company for this also could be a good idea. You could look for them in mobile app directories like Appdexa, that provide complete app marketing and development companies descriptions, reviews and other details.

new app discovery methods

Having a sought out ASO or app store optimization strategy ensures that your app ranks high in app stores leading to more downloads. It totally helps to avoid a fail app scenario.

7. User Security

Mobile apps are increasing by the day, and so are the hackers out there who intend to use mobile app downloads to track user data and make use of its vulnerabilities.

why mobile apps fail

To avoid it, you should ensure that you hire app developers that utilize the best practices for app security, leading to a safe online experience for the user as well as your data. Remember, that even the iOS is no more completely safe to use.

In the coming time ‘app security’ is going to be a big issue, and foregoing it to launch a product or service fast, could become a big reason for mobile apps that failed.

Do Not Let it Deter You

We know, you have been thinking that ‘why do mobile apps fail’. The above stated points will give you an answer but, do not let them deter you from your mindset of developing an app. These are only the points that you need to take care of to avoid app failures.

If you already have an app, and are facing uninstalls due to any of the above stated reason; do not be disheartened. Every issue stated above has a remedy, which can help you achieve re-installs from your intended users. You could be looking into the app maintenance and updation options for the same. Just do the needful and get things going!

    Frequently Asked Questions

  • What percentage of mobile apps fail?
  • What is the most profitable app?
  • Why do mobile apps fail?
  • What makes an app successful?
  • What makes an app bad?

Next up

What should you be looking for when hiring an app development partner?