App Development, Thought Leaders

7 Reasons Why Apps Fail

August 3, 2018

by Mehul Rajput

CEO, Mindinventory

This article looks at several reasons why mobile apps fail to survive the competition as well as how to succeed in making and promoting a mobile app.


About 100,000 apps are added to the Google Play Store every month. That’s a large number of mobile apps, but how many become successful?

Fewer than .01% of mobile apps will be commercially successful by the end of 2018. That number sounds alarming for the mobile app development industry.

The struggle to get an app noticed doesn’t stop in the app store. In fact, the competition level is so steep that nearly one-third of app engagements (about 35%) last for less than a minute.

Let’s look at the reasons why mobile apps don’t survive for long.

1. The Business Plan Doesn't Stay Constant 

Planning is one of the most crucial elements of every business. When you first decide to build a mobile app, come up with a business plan.

First, write a summary that includes:

  • A description of your business
  • Your target audience
  • Your financial resources and funding sources

Then, detail what you want in a mobile app. Include information such as:

  • The app’s purpose
  • A market analysis
  • Estimated revenue generation from the app

If you don’t make a business plan, you may not realize it when you start implementing the wrong strategies.

Your project manager will use this plan as a guideline, so don’t change it unless you need to. Shifting your plan creates a lot of confusion and makes the task even more complex.

2. Decisionmakers Choose the Wrong Platform

The choice between the two most popular mobile app platforms, iOS and Android, depends on your target audience, as well as the features you want your app to have.

Developing an app for Android is different than developing one for iOS, so make sure you think through the decision.

Let’s analyze how the audience in a certain region might impact your choice of app platform.

Maybe your target audience is U.S. users. You might want to choose an Android app, then: 53.3% of U.S. smartphone users have an Android device, while 44.9% have an Apple device.

But then again, an Android app might be too expensive to develop. Android apps are about 30% more expensive to develop than iOS.

Also consider the size of the app store, which represents your competition. Android’s Google Play Store has the largest numbers of apps with 3.8 million, followed by the Apple App Store at 2 million.

These are just a few of the factors that might determine which mobile app platform you pick.

3. The User Experience Doesn’t Work Well

Good user experience (UX) is one of the major parts of a mobile app’s success. The UX designer should make your app intuitive and easy to use.

You can analyze the success of UX by looking at the following elements:

  • Loading speed, which shouldn't be longer than 2 seconds
  • User onboarding, or showing new users around the app, which should ask for minimal information
  • Login process, which should be quick
  • Whether the app features actually support the tasks users want to accomplish

Also, take platform-based UI/UX designs into account. The UI and UX of both Android and iOS platforms are different, which means you have to design accordingly.

For instance, Android app designers use multi-dimensional designs by implementing various shades and tones in comparison to iOS designers.

4. The App Isn’t Technologically Relevant

Mobile app development is an evolving industry where trends change at a rapid pace.

Developers and designers must follow current trends and employ them tactfully in their respective projects to maximize the gains.

For example, you can make use of augmented reality (AR). AR is popular at the moment because of the massive success of games such as Pokémon Go.

Pokemon Go AR app

However, AR is also handy for other industries such as education and healthcare.

If you decide to incorporate a new trend into your app, first make sure you understand it. Using AR in an app for no reason won’t make your users happy.

5. The App Doesn’t Follow Guidelines

Make sure you abide by the rules of the app store you're using when releasing your app.

Your app can lose value in the app store if you don’t follow Apple's guidelines for iOS developers or Google's launch checklist for Android developers before publishing.

6. Not Enough Ratings and Reviews

Apps are developed for potential end users. If you’re not listening to users’ ratings and feedback, you can’t expect your app to succeed.

Users have many apps to choose from in the app store, so don’t make a bad impression. Ninety-two percent (92%) of consumers read online reviews, so creating an app that receives positive reviews is essential.

If you notice that your app rating is falling, take action to improve it. Ask users for reviews by creating a pop-up that’s as unobtrusive as possible.

emoji blitz ratings pop up

Also, consider responding to negative reviews, but only do so politely.

7. App Testing Isn’t Extensive Enough

According to a study by Blancco, 58% of iOS apps that crash do so because they were not tested properly. 

Creating a bug-free app is difficult, but it’s the responsibility of the developers to test the app before finally launching it.

Before testing, develop a comprehensive test plan.

Here are some types of testing you’ll want to perform:

  • Performance testing
  • Usability testing
  • Security testing
  • Function/feature testing

There are app-testing tools you can use, too, such as Appium, Frank iOS, and MonkeyTalk.

During testing, document results so that you know your app’s weak points. Note the results of each test you perform.

That way, if you have problems later, you can consult your testing logs to see if you’ve tackled the issue before.

Making Successful Mobile Apps Is Possible

The mobile app industry is a competitive market, but if you are prepared and know why apps fail, you’re better equipped to face the competition.

That’s why you should conduct extensive research, execute the plan you’ve set out for your developers, and choose the right platform.

Making a successful app is an uphill task, but if you plan and strategize, you can get the job done. 

About the Author

Mehul Rajput Mindinventory headshotMehul Rajput is CEO and co-founder of Mindinventory, which specializes in Android and iOS app development. He blogs as a hobby and has written articles related to mobile technologies, startups, entrepreneurship, and app development.

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