Reasons Why Mobile Apps Fail & How To Avoid Them


App Builder Appy Pie, February 14, 2018: It is success we are after, aren’t we? Failure is something we would all like to avoid like the plague, but we all have had to face it at least once in our lives. While it is true that there is a lot that is to be learnt from a failure, we would prefer not having to learn it all the hard way.

With millions of apps competing with each other and thousands more being launch per month, the risk of a mobile app failing is quite high and so are the odds. So when you have a great idea for an app, reading hundreds of articles about how to make money from an app, is probably not going to be the sole way to get help.

When you are developing an app of your own, you are going to put all your heart and soul into it, and not to mention all the moolah that’s going to go into it! If after all this your app fails to do well, it is going to be a big problem not just for you and your organization, you lose out on potential customers, and your brand takes a hit too!

For this reason it is important to look at other apps that have failed, study them and understand why they didn’t work. When you have, in front of you the reasons why an app did not work, you know what not to do, and that is a great place to start.

In this post we have listed out the top reasons why mobile apps fail and the ways in which you can avoid these reasons.

What is your measure for a successful app?

Before we get into the reasons, let us talk about which apps would you say are successful, or what is it that you think makes an app successful. Is it the number of downloads, the money you earned, the media response, the ratings? How do you define an app that is successful then?

Well, quite simply put, it differs from one app to the other depending on the nature of the app and your business goal. However, in general the typical KPIs for measuring success would be reflected in the following.

  • The Big Number
    Actually a lot of numbers, the number of downloads, the percentage of target customers, the usage statistics, or any other quantitative statistics that might give you some kind of an assessment about how the app is doing.
  • The Target Revenue
    this is true for the apps that are set to monetize. Here the success of the app may be defined as a revenue figure, whether it is through paid downloads or through in-app purchases.

Appy Pie went through a huge number of apps that did not do so well and listed out the reasons why apps fail and here are the top ones!

1. Bad Research

For any business, the research that you conduct is of prime importance and when it is not done right, disaster is imminent. So you might have an awesome idea for an app, but it still is a mere theory. Most of the great ideas do not translate in to a great app when put to practice. Your decision to begin or initiate a project as massive as building an app should definitely be driven and backed by intense research if you intend to meet any measurable success. The app that you are trying to develop, does it really have a market? Is there a defined problem that you would be solving with your app? What kind of competition are you going to encounter and who are your biggest competitors? Would anyone apart from your immediate friends and family really want to use your app? Would your app make anyone’s life easier in any measure or manner or is it going to provide any kind of a unique experience to the user? Have you been able to define and refine your app idea enough to be transformed into an app? You might be thinking that users are going to love your app and would download it by millions, but can you back this conviction with any kind of data? Was your market research thorough? Did you conduct a quality competitor study & analysis? Does the data that you collected from your market research in anyway indicate that the resources you are investing are not going to be a sheer waste?

These critical questions can only be answered with a good research. However, if your research was conducted poorly without defining an audience, and strategizing use cases and features that will be of any interest to the users, you will only make an app that you think people want and it might not corroborate with what the people really want.

2. Lacking Innovation

Facebook, Uber, Dropbox, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, and many such more, have a basic commonality – they are unique. This means that there can actually be just one of them. If you try and make an app that is just another copy of something that exists and is successful, why do you think people would use your app and abandon the original? In fact, this is a mistake that a great number of app developers have made in the past, which is probably why the app stores are flooded by apps that are essentially the same!

When you have conducted a good competitive research you will get an idea about your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses and you can then refine your own competitive edge based on it. if you build something that is identical to your competitors’ app, you are not giving any users any kind of incentive to use your app. You must include a unique value proposition in your app to be able to optimize user loyalty and overall success of your app.

3. Choice Of Platform

 

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Currently there are two major platforms that an app developer needs to consider – iOS & Android. Both these platforms and the other not so popular ones are characterized by their highly intuitive interface guidelines. Each of them have different ways of operations and use different gestures and common buttons or prompts that are placed in different areas. It is an age old question among app developers – which platform to develop the app for first, or should they develop it for both in one go? This question, like many others can be answered quite aptly by the research that you conducted. The first thing to do is find out if an app similar to yours exists on the platforms or not. If not, then you have your answer right in front of you! However, it is better to begin developing just for one of the platforms and not both simultaneously. When you fail to choose the right platform or tweak it as per the platform you are building for the chances of your app performing poorly are quite high! One basic operation difference between the two platforms is that an android app user is used to a back button which is an in-built hardware feature, Apple users on the other hand have nothing of that kind. There are many such other platform specific nuances that determine the experience one might have with your app.

4. Unsatisfactory User Experience & Poor Design

It has emerged through research that around 8% of the total number of apps that are submitted are either rejected or fail because of their less than stellar user experience and design. Most of the complaints made by the users about any app have a lot to do with unsatisfactory user experience, poor design, lack of responsiveness, and workflow design, or user interface.

There is a lot that goes into building an app that offers an amazing user experience, but the most basic thing that needs to be considered here is that the app you develop needs to be intuitive. If the interface of the app makes it difficult for the user to perform the most basic functions and they have trouble figuring out the core functionalities of the app, the app is definitely going to have poor usability.

Apart from this, if your app is slow or is lagging, has an unrealistically long load time, has a complicated or drawn out registration process, or has features that are difficult to access, it is offering a very poor and unsatisfactory user experience.

You might get a good number of downloads, but if you have not really worked on and invested in a great user experience for your app, you are probably going to score low on engagement and retention rendering the whole process redundant.

It is the user experience of your app that make or break it! When you get the user experience of your app right, the chances of your users completing certain actions and continuing to use your app are a lot higher.

5. Inadequate Testing

Around sixty percent of the iOS devices face performance failures like app crashes or some component shutting down. Hence testing and re-testing your app before launching it is a pre-requisite. This might seem pretty obvious to begin with, but the alarming fact is that more than 40% of the defects or bugs in the app are discovered by the users. Of this 24% are found from the direct feedback and another 20% are found from public user reviews on the app stores.

It is true that there is nothing called a bug free apps and most of them do face minor issues, but if you test out the app before publishing it, you can ensure that there would not be any major issues with it. An app that has not been tested properly would not only be rife with bugs but would also be prone to crashes. Even a single crash can deter the user from ever using the app again and even leave a negative review.

The testing process should not only be planned well, but also documented properly so that you can keep a track of all the changes and tests that the app was subjected to. Getting a good app to your users is of paramount importance in the very first go, because you are probably not going to get a second shot at it!

6. Ranking Low On Shareability Scale

Word of mouth strategy is still one of the best ways to get your app out there and it is the cheapest too! An app is discovered more often through friends and family than by conducting a deliberate search. It is important to note that friends and family would include social media shares and retweets, hence the app makers and the app marketers must build the app keeping in mind a niche market, a capability to share easily, must have social media integrations, and have content that is worth sharing. When your app is exposed to more audiences you are going to get more downloads. But you are only going to get this exposure if people find your app interesting and relevant to their needs and share it. the app needs to be engaging, visually pleasing, easy to use, and exciting.

7. Inefficient Monetization Strategy

Most of the people who set out to develop an app have a process or a chain of events in their mind where they’d first design & develop the app, then market it, then get visitors and regular users, and then go on to make a fortune from it! however, it is unfortunate that most of them do not make past the first step.

So, you have a great app with awesome design and perfect marketing strategies in place, but if you do not monetize it in the right manner, you’d be in trouble. It is money that is going to make further developments possible and if your monetization strategy is not in place, you are not going to be able to go any further.

There are more ways than one to monetize your app and you can pick one or a combination of more than one ways to do so.

  • Premium App Sales
  • In-App Advertising
  • Freemium Model
  • Subscription Model
  • In-App Store
  • Vanity Products & Services
  • Newsletter Promotions


8. Poor Marketing Strategy

Even though you have built a great app you are only halfway there! If you do not market your app well and make it visible to the audience, your app will not get what it is due. It is only because of poor marketing strategies that most of the mobile apps are unable to make enough money to sustain themselves as a business. Some of the marketing tips that can help your app take flight are as follows:

  • Design a great pre-launch campaign
  • Motivate existing customers to download and use your app by offering deals or incentives in exchange
  • Market your app on your blog and website if they have a loyal audience
  • Create a social presence for the app and run promo offers
  • Collaborate with social influencers
  • Get your app reviewed by revered tech websites or reviewers who are popular
  • Collaborate with third party sites and offer relevant content to gain useful exposure
  • Offer a basic version for free and incorporate well structured in-app purchases

Ways To Avoid Making These Mistakes

So, now you know what is it that makes the mobile apps fail. Having this information lets you understand the pitfalls of the industry and tells you what not to do. Once you have gotten a deeper understanding of this, it is then time to move on to the ways in which you can avoid these mistakes and what you can do to make your app a success.

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1. Recognize A Feasible Need For Your App Before Beginning The Development

Conduct an intense market and target user study to understand the market needs and expectations of the user. Collate all kinds of data available, study the trends, choose the most popular design decisions and app features and develop your own MVP (minimum viable product) to test your app idea.

2. Make Sure That The UI/UX Is Perfect

The app should have top notch user experience. In addition to being aesthetically or visually pleasing, your app should have trend-focused design that looks and feels familiar to the users. The user experience should be stellar because any user is going to hate an app that is buggy, or crashes often. Bad UI/UX is the single-most common reason for most apps to fail.

3. Monetize It Well

Nothing is more unfortunate than having a fabulous app but bad monetization strategy.do not venture guesses about what you should do to monetize your app, the strategy must be developed with deep insights, and analysis of trends. While you may decide to offer the best part of your app for free, but you must also know when, where, and how to generate the much needed revenue.

4. Recapitulate & Analyze

Making mistakes is natural and normal and even the top mobile app developers have had a taste of failures now and then. However, to be successful, an app developer needs to gather as much data as possible, make the right decisions and the right changes to their apps. It is important that you are prepared at all times to change your strategy whenever the need be. Keep tweaking, keep recapitulating.

The competition is tough, the market is crowded and it is difficult to make money with it! but it is possible! Keep an eye on what is making others fail, and what makes them successful, to develop your unique strategies and you should be fine!

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