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In case you are wondering, that’s a mayfly. It usually gets to live for only one day.
Quite a number of mobile apps are like mayflies. According to a study by analytics firm Localytics in 2011, 26 percent of apps downloaded were used only once.
I know it’s a sinking feeling. An awful experience shared by most newbie developers.
You spend hundreds of dollars on app store optimization. Get a user to download your app.
… and BAM!
You are NO longer on his phone.
We wanted to find out the reasons that compel a user to uninstall an app. So, we asked mobile users to give us 3 reasons why they uninstall apps. The top 7 reasons that came out were:
#7. Forced social logins
Okay, social logins were a good alternative to registration pages. But, somewhere along the line, app makers discovered social logins to be a great way to fish for personal information. Now, the result is that some apps have social logins as the only way of authentication. This obviously is a double edged sword – some might prefer social logins as they bypass long registration forms. But, posting on walls and forcing users to share/like something to keep the app free does piss off people. The next step for them is an obvious uninstall.
#6. Privacy concerns
It is not just the NSA. Developers have also been blamed for snooping around for personal information. Add to this the excessive permissions apps ask for. Sometimes more than is what is needed for the app to function. Seriously, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that a torch utility app does not need any access to your phone book!
#5. Intrusive ads
Full-screen and video ads on a mobile device is one of the seven sins of mobile app development. Now if only you add a forced delay on it, you surely get your picture on a dart board! More crazy the graphics, the more resources it would hog. All these make an instant deletion the perfect answer to all the mobile user’s troubles.
Ads are necessary for free app developers to sustain their livelihoods. But, you should never forget that well-designed, non-intrusive ads are rarely frowned upon. Test when maximum Click Through Rates (CTR) happen on an app. Is it a certain size, layout, format, on-screen position of an ad? Or is it the text size or a different way in which the ad was worded? All this makes your ad less likely to be the reason of uninstall.
#4. Bad UI/UX
You think this is not quite a good reason to delete your app? It is in fact. As many as 42% of people said they remove an app because the user interface (UI) was badly designed or the user experience (UX) was crap. While it is tough for a developer to have rock-star designer skills, it actually does not take that much effort to ensure minimum standards for layout and functionality. Crappy fonts, colors, unreadable icons make a mobile user look for alternatives and subsequently uninstall the app.
Again, it is a good practice to optimize your user interface using real-user data for maximum engagement and conversion numbers.
#3. App takes too long to load/freezes
Mobile users have a very low threshold for apps that freeze at the drop of a hat. Nothing is as repulsive as crashes and error-prone apps. There is rarely a worse user experience than an app that has to be restarted regularly to do its job.
Similarly, apps that use too much device memory slow down other apps as well, prompting the user to hit delete. Add to this the fact that this reason is more likely to be shared via word of mouth than the other 6 reasons listed here. Be it by writing a bad review or by sharing his/her frustration on social networks.
#2. Complex registration/log-in experience
68% of users said they hit delete because they found the registration process too cumbersome. What’s more dangerous is that a very high majority of these uninstalls would be instant – before the good points of your app are even discovered. Remember, mobile users want to try your app when they download. An exceedingly complex registration process is an obvious hurdle.
User profiles do offer a method to hold user information and send behavioral data back to your servers. But, make sure you do not present a excessively lengthy, badly designed form after you have done the hard job of getting a download.
#1. Annoying/too-many notifications
Notifications, be it well-intentioned or gazillions a day, are annoying. Even if you make it easy for people to turn it off, most are just not bothered to find a tiny check-box after browsing through three menu screens.
The good practice here would be to make the notifications absolutely useful for the user. In-app messaging is a powerful medium of cross selling other apps in your kitty or refer other people in an app. An easy way to better your in-app notifications would be to test when/what/where/to whom is the best to send such a notification.
Finally, the numbers:
What helps in the survival of your app is not to do stuff that irritates the mobile user. A good user experience and a light-weight application are add-ons that ensure that your app stays on a phone for a longer time period. Obviously, it always helps to learn what makes you tick. Use analytics and target specific content/features to behavioral segments that like those specific features. The key is to always experiment and keep optimizing your mobile apps.
Don’t be a mayfly. Be an ocean quahog.