App stores have become oversaturated with applications performing the same functions and solving similar problems, and as more apps filter in, standing out from the competition becomes tougher and tougher. According to a Gartner prediction, fewer than .01% of mobile apps will be commercially successful by the end of 2018 and based on a SWRVE App Metrics Report, 34.1% of mobile app engagements last less than one minute.
In order to succeed with the release of your mobile app, it is vital to conduct research so that it can be valuable to consumers and target certain pain points. This post focuses on the main reasons why apps fail including a lack of marketing research, ignoring platform compatibility, poor app performance and user experience. Don’t let these errors alarm you, we are also going to be guiding you through how to avoid these common mistakes so that it will never happen to you.
Reasons Why Apps Fail and How To Avoid Them
1. Lack of Market and Audience Research:
Did you know that 42% of startups fail because of a lack of market need? Deciding to develop an app without first doing research about the market and your target audience shows that you assume you know what they want in an app. Test your idea and ask other people like family, friends and consumers in your target audience: would they want to use your app? Does it solve any problems? Is there a market for the type of app you want to develop? It’s not about making an app that you want, it’s about catering to audience demands and giving consumers what they are looking for. If it doesn’t solve a problem or target a specific market, then the app is useless and redundant. There must be a viable need for your app before you develop it.
You must be able to justify that your audience would love your app, gather data to prove that creating it won’t be a complete waste of time and test your idea with your target audience. It is important to do thorough market research and check up on your competitors to find out if your app is unique and solves a specific pain point. A good way to do this is by creating a minimum viable product (MVP) and then upgrade it with more functionalities as you receive feedback from the users in your targeted market. The app must exceed customer expectations and show that it is superior to your competitors.
You can read all about MVPs in a previous post here.
If you decide to test your idea with online surveys, check out this tool to help discover the viability of your app.
2. No originality and ignoring the competition:
As we mentioned in the introduction, there are a lot of similar types of apps in the app stores. It is clear that if you create an application nearly identical to that of your competition, it won’t do well with users. Your app will fail if it has a weak value proposition, so it must be unique to succeed. What competitive advantage does it have against competitors? What separates it from the rest? 19% of startup failures are due to ignoring the competition.
It is naive to think that you are the only one with an original idea. Researching the competition to find out about their strengths and weaknesses can help to figure out your competitive advantage. You can look at other successful apps similar to yours and figure out what they need to improve on, and then make sure to cover those weaknesses when developing your app.
3. Ignoring interface guidelines for different platforms:
This situation involves an app that is not compatible with multiple platforms, devices and operating systems like iOS and Android. It is important to note that different devices operate in unique ways. If you don’t account for platform-specific guidelines, users can become frustrated if the app works well on their iPhone but not on their iPad. Android and iOS platforms operate differently using distinct gestures, buttons and prompts. For example, Androids have a built-in back button whereas iOS does not have this function. Users decide quickly whether your app is worth keeping and so catering to one platform cuts down on the number of people that can use your app.
It is a good idea to make the app compatible across all devices and operating systems and to keep in mind the platform differences when developing. While some people may think it is time-consuming to consider all platforms, in the end, it is all about what the users want, and if the app isn’t compatible on all devices, then it becomes frustrating and disappointing for people to have an app that doesn’t work consistently from device to device.
4. Poor performance and user experience:
If your app has not been through the proper amount of extensive testing and quality assessments, it will be more prone to bugs, crashes, lags and delays which then reflects poorly on the user experience. Even if an app crashes once, that is enough reason for the user to give up and uninstall your app and then move on to another similar to yours in the market. App crashes inevitably lead to bad reviews in the app store, which means the number of users you acquire and retain will decrease significantly.
Proper testing on multiple platforms and devices prior to launching can eliminate serious issues. In fact, 44% of mobile app errors are detected by users. It is better for you to discover these issues than the user. Therefore, it is okay to invest the time and energy into thoroughly testing your app before launching it to users.
If users are struggling to do the most basic functions on your app, the usability will suffer. App performance issues like lagging, slow speed, bugs, long loading times, endless registration processes and complicated features that are difficult to access make for a poor user experience. Simple app designs are always the best way to go because this way people will be more comfortable using it. If the app is overloaded with too many complicated features, the interface becomes too messy and confusing for the users.
For more on how to perfect your user experience, check out one of our previous posts.
5. Poorly executed app launch and bad marketing:
Making a good first impression, highlighting the value of your app, and a proper marketing plan are essential steps to quickly impressing new users, failing to do so will result in them losing interest. It is important to show off your app’s core functions and how it will solve their problems. Apps should be updated and relaunched regularly to keep users engaged and hook them in with newer versions and features. Remember that there is always room for improvement. Having a preset time frame of when you want your launches and putting together a step by step execution plan will help you stay organized and increase the chances of customer engagement and retention.
Before downloading your app, it is important to show users what they are getting into and to convince them that your app is the solution they have been looking for. Proving its value can be done on your website, social media, promotional videos or in your app’s description in the app store. You have to market your app so people know it exists or else users won’t be able to find it.
Part of launching your app several times and releasing newer versions involves listening to customer feedback and how you can do better in future updates. 92% of consumers read online reviews and so ignoring customer feedback and bad ratings will make the number of app downloads suffer.
6. Lack of a monetization strategy:
It is naive to think you will immediately make a fortune off of your app, which is why a monetization strategy is essential in helping to generate revenue. Revenue comes from successfully marketing the app and getting regular users, creating a pleasant user experience and increasing downloads.
Different monetization strategies include:
- In-app advertising
- Freemium app models: free apps allowing users to pay to unlock in-app special features and items
- Subscription app models: people are required to pay bi-monthly for using your app (like news applications)
- Corporate sponsorships
- Email marketing: requiring users to provide their email addresses so you can send out newsletter promotions to bolster your business and send out exclusive offers
It is important to analyse the trends of existing apps and research which features app users are ready to pay for. To do so, you can download your competitors’ apps and see what you like, don’t like and which features they have monetized. It is okay to offer parts of your app for free, but then it is good to know where and how to generate your revenue.
For more in-depth research on monetization strategies, check out this post!
As you develop your incredible app idea, be sure to use these errors as a reference and a guide. We want you to have the best shot at success, therefore always keep in mind these most common reasons why apps fail.