We’re in the mobile app development business. We’ve been doing this a long time, so please believe we know how much your app means to you; it’s your “dream”, your “child”, the idea that will finally give you the success you deserve after all your hard work. So, we also know how devastating it could feel if you learn that users are uninstalling your app at a steady rate. You worked through all the potential issues, beta tested for months, and practically lived with your QA/UX technicians. So why is this happening? We’re going to look at several reasons why users do and might give up on your app, from beginning to end, and what you can do before your launch to ensure that they don’t.
Mobile App Development: Let’s Start at the Beginning
So, you have a plan to develop an app and you may even have a team or programmer in place. Before you get passed the initial app development stages, it’s important to understand the end game and what would cause users to uninstall your app.
According to a stat from AppsFlyer, 3 out of 10 apps are uninstalled within 30 days of download. Whoa. Now, before you get despondent and give up, understand that there are lots of reasons why a user would delete an app, and lots of those might be beyond your control.
First of all, you need to understand just how enormous the mobile app download game is. Statista put out a report that 178 billion mobile apps were downloaded in 2017, and it’s projected that more than 258 billion will be downloaded in 2022. Assuming that prediction stays accurate, you have a good chance to reach a solid audience and stay with them. Just keep working hard and learning, and your chances get better.
Let’s talk bugs. These crashes and dead ends should typically be caught in the beta testing process, so exhaustive testing and software checks need to be done before any launch occurs. Yet even that may not be enough, so train yourself to be ultra-responsive to crash reports and user complaints. This wonderfully informative CleverTap survey says that 5.4% users uninstall because of technical issues, so be sure to stay on top of those early on.
You don’t get a second chance to make a good impression so your UX should be top notch. Nothing will turn a user off like a clunky or rudimentary UX. Whether you’re designing your app yourself or your working with a design team, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Don’t overwhelm your users with too much content
- Don’t over complicate your design and include too many features
- Tap into your buyer personas and create a design that meets their needs
- Explain costs up front so there aren’t any surprises later
- Don’t make users enter their details again after they initially filled out that information
While you’re going through your UX design, the main thing to keep in mind is that if something isn’t working like it should, your users will likely leave and not bother to contact support. So make it perfect from the beginning and don’t be tempted to launch an app that’s not fully finished!
Now, we’ll go to a few of the initial impressions that a user gets right after downloading your app. Forcing a user to go through a tedious registration process is often the quickest way to get yourself uninstalled. It may be too long, too personal for today’s privacy concerns, or ask you to register through your social network. These methods may help you in the long run to spread the word about your app and retain users, but asking too much right at the beginning will scare off more than it will attract. Save those tactics for after the user has experienced your app for a while.
Once users have entered your app, it needs to be a super intuitive and easy to navigate onboarding experience right off the bat. Even if you and your friends think it’s fairly elementary, you should continue to seek out possible confusing spots and address them, possibly with highlights and blinking arrows, to ensure the user gets the message. Remember, it only takes one confusing step to turn off the user.
Middle Stages: OK, What Now?
If you’ve managed to avoid those initial missteps so far, your users are satisfied to this point. That said, there’s plenty of more reasons they might bail out on your app. Here’s a quick list of potential annoyances that might turn them off.
- Pop-ups, Notifications, and In-App Messages: While these notifications are an effective way to communicate issues, too many turn out to be the kiss of death. This report from DCI claims a whopping 71% of consumers blame constant or irrelevant pop-ups cause them to uninstall. Use them judiciously and sparingly, and maybe even inject some humor or personality in to make them a bit more tolerable.
- Advertising: Look, monetizing your app is obviously important, and, if your app is free, most users know that ads come as part of the package. But, how and when you let these advertisers infringe on your user’s experience is crucial. The CleverTap report that we mentioned previously tells us that 28% of users uninstall the app due to advertising encroaching on their experience. That’s a big number, so you’ll have to learn to walk the line between user experience and how you manage your budget. Are the advertisers pushing a quality product? Are the ads themselves easy to watch, or are they aggressive or poorly done? There’s no shortage of advertising options for successful apps, so consider the brand and quality of ad view, and talk to the advertiser about what conversion rate they’re seeking. With some research and negotiations, you should be able to find a middle ground.
- Updates: No one knows how challenging it can be to scale your app for rapid success more than we do. However, if the back end technical work isn’t consistently churning out support for the app as it grows, you may find yourself asking the user to manually update their app a few too many times, which nobody wants to do. A solution might be to start with enough bandwidth to handle explosive growth for the foreseeable future; expensive, perhaps, but thinking progressively can help your retention rate. Another tactic is to assure your users how much better it will be once they update, and maybe even incentivize it with credits or a gift of some sort. These little gestures go a long way in the vast sea of mobile apps.
The Elephants in the Room
Finally, we’ll discuss the two big subjects that cause users to uninstall. Some of these things may be in your power to adjust, and some may not. There’s always a solution, though, so let’s take a look.
Storage space varies wildly from one user to another. Some folks have a few essential apps, and others have as many as their device can handle. This is one of the primary culprits in the uninstallation thought process, and one that may seem out of your control. Prior surveys we’ve referred to in this post estimate that somewhere around 20% of users cite storage space, battery usage, or long loading speeds as reasons they ditched the app. Yes, much of what these individual users do is personal, but know that according to this study, the average iOS and Android apps come in at about 34 MB and 1MB, respectively. Keeping this size in mind when you are developing your app, and taking account of various space-saving measures, is worth your while.
Last, we’ll talk about the leading reason people uninstall. CleverTap reports that 39%, almost half, of users uninstall because they just don’t use it enough. This is by far the most subjective category, and one that spans from initial ideation all the way through today’s retention reports. There are so many ways your app may not be as sticky as it should be, but focus on the basics. Is it a good value? Engaging and fun? Delivering quickly and easily? This fundamental question is the one you should be constantly talking with your mobile app development service about; while this issue can be somewhat esoteric in nature, agencies with experience and insight can deliver solutions by examining all these issues one at a time. If you want your app to stick, consult the experts. It’s well worth it.
Are you interested in creating an app that users don’t uninstall? Take a look at our work to see if Koombea is the right partner for you!