New mobile apps are being released every day on the App Store and the Google Play Store but most of them don’t make it big. What makes an app launch a success or failure?  

If you’re in the process of developing an app for your business, or simply entertaining the idea of doing so, you’re probably wondering what makes an app successful?

While I cannot give you an exact recipe for a successful app, what I can give you is an extensive list of well known mistakes to avoid while developing and launching your app. Here are the 5 most common reasons why mobile apps fail in the modern marketplace.

How many apps do you have installed on your mobile phone? And how many of them do you really utilize often?

As you might have realized by now, the Google Play store and the App Store both contain millions of different apps, but how many of them are actually successful and being used daily by their targeted clientele?  In my experience, many of the mobile apps I’ve downloaded over the years do not function as expected, a lot of them are too slow, too complicated, sometimes even outdated.

Let’s explore the 5 most prominent reasons why mobile apps fail to launch successfully.

While it is true that the app market is highly competitive, a failed app launch isn’t generally a consequence of bad luck. In most unsuccessful app laucnhes, there are clear contributing components. Let’s learn from the mistakes of others so you don’t repeat the same mistakes when it comes to your app’s launch!

1. Not clearly defining & analyzing your target audience and market

An app idea can’t simply be thought out. While most successful apps seem simple on the surface, there is always a lot of research and planning behind them.

  • Is there a business opportunity for the type of app you want to develop? 
  • What problem are you solving? 
  • What’s your competition like? 
  • How many people could benefit by using your app?
  • Are you making someone’s life easier?
  • How will you solve their pain points and exceed their expectations far beyond what the competition offers? 
  • Are you providing a unique experience? 
  • Is the idea defined well enough to be executed?

During the early planning and discovery stage of a mobile app development project, you must identify the product’s key demographics and create ‘’app user personas’’. A user persona is a marketing strategy in which we imagine a semi-fictional representation of the product’s ideal user. The more detailed user personas are, the better. Demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals are just a few aspects to include in a user persona. 

Building an app without doing the proper research, defining the audience, and strategizing use cases and features that will appeal to that audience, you may find that you build a product you assume people will need when in reality they don’t.

2. Ignoring Platforms & Their Particularities

Android and iOS (as well as other platforms) both have well designed and intuitive interface guidelines, but they operate in different ways and offer slightly different features which appeal to different user groups.

By looking at your users’ device choice can already give you some useful knowledge from statistical data alone. It is well known that iOS users usually have a higher income and more education than Android users. Knowing this fact should influence your decisions about the product’s monetization strategy. If your monetization strategy relies mostly on in-app purchases, then iOS may be the wise choice; however, if you plan to monetize through ad clicks, an Android version might make more sense.

Failing to account for platform-specific nuances like this can severely affect user experience and satisfaction.

When clients are puzzled about what platform or device they think their app should be designed for I ask them one simpe question : what is the goal and purpose of your mobile app? Choosing the right platform for your app depends on the content you intend to create, the way users consume this type of content and your overall business goals. It comes down to analyzing your target market, and core user demographics to choose the option that best suits both your business interest and your customers interest..

When developing for multiple platforms, it’s vital to build with platform differences in mind. Apps that don’t do this accurately will result in frustrated users. According to the latest statistics : the average user will decide in less than a minute whether or not your app is worth using.

3. Improper Testing Before Launch

While it’s very rare for an app or any software to be launched without minor bugs, making sure you invest in Quality Assurance Testing (QA) before shipping can ensure there are no major issues and make a world of difference in terms of customer retention and bounce rate.

If an app isn’t tested properly, bugs and frustrating errors will disminish the user experience. A single crash is more than enough to stop most users from ever using an app again. In fact, some of the most common negative reviews on app stores are related to apps crashing and bugging for no apparent reason. In today’s modern and ever growing mobile app market, users have incredibly high expectations for mobile app functionality and performance. It doesn’t take long for users to leave reviews and pass judgment on the products they download.

UX Design Mobile Apps

4. Not Optimizing The User Experience

At a basic level, your app needs to be intuitive and easy to learn and use. If a user struggles to perform  or understand the basic functions on your app and can’t figure out core functionalities easily, there’s no chance your app will gain traction amongst new customers.

Here are some common examples of poor user experience in an app:

  • Long registration time
  • App performance issues (lags or bugs)
  • Long load times
  • Too many ads 
  • Features that are difficult to access

Successful mobile apps all have one thing in common: they benefit users and keep finding new and entertaining ways to do so. If a user is going to use an app repeatedly, the product needs to be useful and offer much value. Creating a great user experience involves practicing design thinking and establishing an detailed understanding of your target demographic’s’ lives, interests and needs. 

UX  seems simple at first glance, but it encompasses much more than to know how a user feels about a product or service. 

It consists of understanding the broader context in which users interact and engage with a business. A successful UX design creates solutions that meet the needs of the client, users and ultimately works within the bounds of the chosen platforms.

5. A Poorly Executed Mobile App Launch

The strategy you deploy when launching your mobile app will have a major impact on acquiring and retaining new users; You can’t simply upload an app on the app store and expect overnight success. Behind every successful launch there is extensive research, marketing strategies and advertising efforts. To improve your chances of success, we recommend partnering or consulting with a well known marketing agency to ensure that every step is made and executed properly in a timely manner.

Making a good first impression within the first few days prior to launch is key to having a high download and user retention rate. This is a critical period of time during which you must focus on highlighting the value of the app for potential customers, in order to optimize the onboarding process. If you don’t impress your new users quickly, they may lose interest altogether.

While the launch moment may seem like a once in a lifetime chance/event, remember it isn’t really a one-time event. There is always much room for improvement which makes the mobile app launch a cyclical process that requires reassessment as the market evolves and the users demands change. Recently launched mobile apps should be updated and relaunched and marketed regularly to keep users engaged through new updates and features.

6. Lack of Proper Monetization Strategy

The best and most well known mobile apps are not only popular among users but also financially successful. To achieve this goal, it is necessary to think and plan a monetization strategy at the early stages planning the app idea.

Quite often, monetization is not taken into account when developing an application. However, the chosen method of making money can determine the functionality of the application, the methods of its distribution and further development. Several strategies can be used: Making a free and a paid version of the app, making money on subscriptions or on purchases within the app, charging fees for accessing additional functions, placing ads, etc. Another strategy becoming more and more popular amongst small businesses is selling within the application when your business is not the application itself, but the goods that you distribute.

We usually recommend businesses who want to develop their own app to select one or two of these monetization models and follow it thoroughly after launch. Complement the final product with new features, and constant updates so you can maintain your customer’s interest and constantly attract new users.

Final thoughts:

Developing a mobile app might seem like an huge or almost impossible task when taking into account all of the factors that need to be in check for it to be successful. But keep in mind there are thousands of app success stories every year that come from all corners of the globe. 

As someone who’s been in the software business for years, I’ve seen many projects succeed and many projects fail due to the many factors I’ve listed in this article. To end on a good note, here is a list of 5 simple tips for a successful mobile app:

  • Prioritize security.
    Even gaming applications request access to the contacts and camera of a user’s mobile device. This is enough for scammers to hack and obtain personal data. Make sure that your application is well developed and that your customer’s sensitive info is always safe & secure.
  • Focus on user experience and personalization.
    User-centered applications are especially attractive to consumers. Give them the opportunity to customize the application to their needs: choose a theme, wallpaper or font size etc. This is a great way to keep users active and coming back to your mobile app.
  • Keep the app simple.
    Every successful mobile app on the market has one point in common: ease of use and an intuitive interface. To use your application, special training courses should not be required : your clientele should be able to pick it up and find what they need with only a few clicks. 
  • Test, and test again.
    You’d rather spend some extra time testing for bugs rather than having a critical error appear after the app is launched. 
  • Ask for feedback & provide proper customer support. It is one of the best ways to keep your customers engaged. Enter beta testing for the product or its add-ons, implement the option to leave a comment in the final version. This will help you and your team understand where your app meets user needs and what can be improved over time.

These tips will hopefully help you clarify your app development process and decision-making going forward. Need help developing your idea into an app? Our experts at Yamm Software can help you develop your idea and build a clear road-map to launching a successful, fully functional mobile app for your business. We offer solutions customized to your needs, your budgets, and your goals!

Sign up now for a free 30min consultation call with one of our project managers and get started developing your mobile app idea!

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