For any app developer, a successful app launch and getting the first milestones on the install are reasons to celebrate. However, for many the dream run doesn’t last long as they find their apps being deleted by the users. App retention is a huge pain point for app developers: an average user has 36 apps installed on their phone but only 4 apps are used daily. Worse, 23% users abandon an app after initial install.
Many apps are deleted because of the low functionality and content that they offer to the user, or lose out in the face of existing competition in the market. For other apps, there can be a variety of reasons for app uninstall, which, surprisingly, can be easily fixed by app developers. Here are 5 common factors responsible for app uninstall, with suggestions on how it can be fixed to make sure you don’t hit the app graveyard:
1. App Not Optimized for Devices: Having an app is great, but if you adopt a one-size-fits-all approach, you are risking uninstallation. It is not uncommon for app developers to use the existing smartphone version of the app when porting to the tablet. Screen resolution is different for different devices (such as tablets and smartphones) and if you are not careful about optimizing your app, user experience will suffer.
Fix it: Porting may seem as the easy approach but it is rarely the best way to offer your apps on tablets and smartphones. Have a clear strategy on how to approach different devices, with careful attention to device-specific features (this is true for not just tablets vs smartphone, but also for Apple vs Android phones).
2. Poor Performance: Close on the heels of the first point, an app that’s low on performance can annoy users. An app that takes a long time to load, frequently crashes or becomes unresponsive is likely to be discarded very soon. According to Helpshift, 62% users are likely to uninstall an app if they experience app crashes or errors. Another study found that 7% users will write a bad review if they experience app crashes and other such performance-related issues. When talking about performance, also pay attention to the user experience itself, as a poorly-designed app that compromises the functionality will also drive users away.
Fix it: User experience should be a top priority for app developers if they really want to retain users. Test your apps at various levels before you bring it to the market, and even after launch take feedback and suggestions on how to make your app better. Implement the changes and offer regular checks to make your app bug-free in order to ensure app performance.
3. Complex Onboarding Process: Onboarding the user onto the app is important for them to feel comfortable about using your app. The onboarding process typically involves a tutorial (commonly in case of a gaming, educational, or a finance app) that helps the user to navigate between different pages within the app to understand the core functionality. Overwhelming a new user with too information about the app can be intrusive for the first-time users, especially if your app has a fairly simple functional use. Additionally, most apps ask users to register at the onboarding stage but asking them too many details while registering, or forcing them to register with a social media account, can put-off the users.
Fix it: Onboarding is a crucial stage for any app as this is a chance for the users to get familiar with what the app has to offer. Don’t spoil it by overloading the user with too much or too little information about the app, or having a complicated registration process. Keep a clean, simple tutorial, if you think that is necessary for the users to understand the app’s functionality. If your app doesn’t necessarily need users to register, allow them the flexibility to choose to first explore the app and then take them to the registration page when an action needs to be made (for eg: making a purchase, creating a premium account etc).
4. Privacy Concerns: Closely associated with the onboarding process, if the app seeks too many levels of permission of what it accesses (photos, contacts, location), it can make the users feel uneasy, especially if such requests are made even before the user is familiarized with the app. Some apps categories due to their nature of functionality ask too many personal details about the user, but don’t explain how the data will be used, causing a lack of transparency that raises red flags about privacy concerns.
Fix it: Be clear on what level of access you need from the user — don’t ask for permissions to details that you don’t need for the app’s functionality. Build a transparent policy that is easy to read and understand on what data you collect from the user and how you will share it.
5. Intrusive In-App Messaging: Most apps try and engage with the users either via push notifications or in-app messaging. While push notifications engage with the users to bring them back to interact with the app, in-app messaging are displayed within the app itself when the user is active. Most push notifications are controlled by the users such that they can choose how they want to receive notifications or even turn it off. But in-app messaging are part of the app’s experience and don’t need the users to opt-in. If not built carefully, in-app messaging can hamper the user’s experience and be perceived as intrusive.
Fix it: In-app messaging can prove to be beneficial in engaging users and is shown to have higher conversion rates if done right. Make your in-app messaging relevant to the user by thinking about the placement and timing. For instance, rather than interrupting the user while they are in the middle of an action (say, adding a product to cart) to leave a feedback for the app, place a message at a time when it is non-disruptive. In-app messaging should feel like a natural extension of the app itself rather than an intrusive experience.