5 Reasons Apps Fail

November 21, 2019

Apps fail for many reasons, and making sure your app succeeds is challenging. By avoiding these 5 common mistakes, companies can put their app in a better position to thrive.

Brands understand that their audiences are becoming more mobile by the minute. That’s why they are focused on developing mobile-first strategies that could address the needs and wants of their customers.

As of today, there are more than 4.27 million apps combined on the Google Play and Apple App Store. That’s an insane number of apps.

And considering that companies are still collaborating with mobile development teams and South American software outsourcing companies, that number will grow even more. However, a lot of apps (both ones that are already available and ones that will be out in the future) will fail to succeed with their target audiences.

There are several reasons why this could happen, from poor research to weak marketing. Of course, if you are working on your app, those are the things you’ll try to avoid. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the most common reasons why mobile apps fail and what can you do to reduce the possibilities of that happening to your product.

Top 5 Reasons Why Mobile Apps Fail

  • The app lacks originality
  • The app isn’t properly tested
  • The app offers a poor user experience
  • The app fails to understand its base operating system
  • The app is marketed poorly

1. The App Lacks Originality

The high number of apps available makes it hard for developers, coding teams, and Latin American software outsourcing companies to find a novel approach for certain types of apps.

In fact, there are countless apps out there that are way too similar for their own good. The market is oversaturated with applications that look and feel all the same and that target the same audiences.

So, before launching the development of your mobile app, you have to do due diligence and conduct comprehensive research about your field. You’ll need to understand where you stand when compared to your competition and when in front of your customers. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses can help you identify what makes you unique.

Once you find that about your brand, you’ll know which things you’ll need to stress in your app. You might even find some specific needs of your audience that you can cover with your app. Even if you aren’t offering something entirely new or revolutionary, doing it in an original way is paramount for success.

For example, you might feel like developing a music player app. Because there are hundreds of those already, what will you do to make yours special? It certainly has to be more than just the basics everyone is expecting, something that combines that core functionality with your unique value. Maybe you display lyrics when a song is playing, maybe you have a strong integration with other apps, or perhaps you embed some little game inside. It’s up to you, but your app must be different to stand out.

Most of the time, an original approach to an old app might give you a competitive edge. But you’ll only get that by knowing who you are and where that leaves you in front of your competitors and your customers.

2. The App Isn’t Properly Tested

Whenever someone hears the word “testing” in development, they immediately think of bugs and errors in the code. Well, that’s a big issue that needs to be addressed during the app’s creation, as a buggy or bloated app ruins a good performance.

This, in turn, makes the user experience a nightmare. The results are obvious — no one likes malfunctioning apps, which end up being uninstalled and mocked.

All of the above shows the importance of mobile testing during your app’s development. Failing to test the app numerous times before launch can be highly damaging to its success. A simple but noticeable crash can end up alienating an audience who might never use it again. Additionally, successive testing processes need to be in place for you to detect other issues that may have slipped under your control.

Testing, however, doesn’t just end with the app’s performance. There’s another, “softer” type of testing that you need to tackle as well: user testing.

You need real users to play around with your app before it launches. By doing that, you’ll get precious feedback about design and functionality as well as a general sense of how they feel about it. That can lead you to add or remove features, rearrange elements, or even split the app into two different tools.

All in all, testing is a needed process for all apps. From testing the performance and how it works to seeing how your target audience reacts to it, you can’t launch an app without properly testing it first.

3. The App Offers a Poor User Experience

This is an issue that will certainly pop up if you conduct user tests, but user experience needs a separate section for you to consider it properly. That’s because we’re living in a time where people expect more than just functionality. They expect the products they use to provide a satisfactory experience. In other words, using an app should be enjoyable to users, not a frustrating experience.

Unfortunately, a lot of app developers still don’t get that, and it shows. Numerous apps have intrusive ads, counterintuitive options, and unnecessary features that bloat the app. There are some that even ask permissions that have nothing to do with their basic functionality. All of that creates frustration for the users, who end up looking for one of the many competitors available.

For your app to succeed in this aspect, you need to think like a user. If you do that, you’ll understand that users want to enjoy using your app. This translates to useful features, an easy-to-use interface, smooth performance, and a great overall value. Of course, all of those things are easier said than done. For you to get there, you need to hire UX experts, practice design thinking, and understand your target audience intimately.

User experience is a concept that’s somewhat hard to grasp, as it combines psychological aspects with design, programming, marketing, and technology. However, understanding this is a must for your app to succeed.

If you put in the effort and truly make your user experience shine, you’ll be rewarded: Some research says that a good UX can increase conversions by up to 400%.

4. The App Fails to Understand Its Base Operating System

Most people use one of the two most popular mobile operating systems: Android or iOS. It’s only natural, then, that brands mostly develop their apps for those operating systems.

Businesses are split between Android (69%) and iOS apps (66%).

Do small businesses have Android or iOS apps?

Whether you choose one operating sysyem or both will depend on your audience research. However, there’s something you should keep in mind after picking the platform: the common elements associated with the OS of your choice.

Both Android and iOS have gestures, buttons, prompts, and commands that are somewhat unique to them. Most users won’t notice them, as they are considered basic for their own respective environments. Yet, users will immediately notice something is wrong if an app decides to play around with those items (changing the location of a button that typically goes in the bottom left, using a pinch gesture to close, etc.).

Believing that the same interface, layout, and design will work in both apps is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Be sure to know the (sometimes subtle) differences between the operating systems and work them into your app or risk losing your users.

5. The App Is Marketed Poorly

Let’s say you followed all of the suggestions above and you’ve reached the launch day for your app. How exciting! But as oh-so-many app developers have learned before you, there’s something not related to app development you should have been doing before this day: marketing the app.

Getting the word out there about your app feels like a task you might want to do after the launch. Yet, it’s better if you create anticipation surrounding your app so you don’t have to struggle to motivate people to download it once it’s live. Of course, your marketing efforts should go way beyond the launch date and well into your everyday tasks around the app.

This means creating digital ads, shooting videos, getting people to review and share the app, and all the other things you can think of to gain momentum.

Some of most common ways businesses market their app are with social media (37%), paid advertising (28%), and app store optimization (21%).

Most recommended app marketing strategies

Other ways to market your app include app review websites (9%) and coupons or incentives (5%).

Additionally, remember that app marketing isn’t just about brand awareness — it’s about creating brand loyalty. This means that your marketing has to help new users with the onboarding, provide support and feedback, and refine your communication around the app accordingly.

Marketing is an all-encompassing endeavor that will need the best from you throughout all of stages of development and launch, from the user experience you create in development to how you distribute it and how you help your users.

Make Your App Succeed

Creating an app isn’t an easy feat. It takes a lot of time, money, and effort. It involves a lot of research to truly understand your industry, your audience and their needs, and even yourself compared to your competitors. A lot of brands don’t understand this, which shows in their quality: They are redundant, lack essential features, are bloated, or perform poorly.

Your success isn’t guaranteed even if your app doesn’t fall in these pitfalls. There are millions of apps out there trying to get people’s attention. So, there may be other reasons why your app might fail that don’t have anything to do with the reasons listed here.

However, if you keep these tips in mind, your shot at success has higher chances than if you ignore them.

Need Help Finding an App Development Company?


Based on your budget, timeline, and specifications we can help you build a shortlist of companies
that perfectly matches your project needs.