App developers are constantly struggling to keep their audience away from competitor apps and retention rates high.
They’re thinking about their users’ needs and wants on a daily basis, but it just isn’t enough to keep them using their app.
According to Localytics, 36% of users are still using an individual app after a month, but 23% of apps are used once before either never being opened again or being uninstalled.
With such a stark number of apps losing user retention, it begs the question: what’s going on? What are these apps doing that’s causing them to lose out to competitor apps?
1. Under-utilized push and local-based notifications
Notifications are helpful reminders that encourage users to actively come back to the app, even if it’s every so often. Roughly 50% of users opt-in for push notifications and about 65% of users tend to return to the app within 60 days.
However, if too many push and local-based notifications are sent, there’s a possibility that users will become irritated and go with a competitor app that features supportive notifications that aren’t too pushy. Users may disable them or uninstall the app completely depending on frequency. Notifications can make or break user retention, possibly even driving them to the competition.
2. Time-consuming onboarding process
Onboarding processes are a necessary part for many apps, especially ones that require users to create accounts. However, apps fail by making a poor impression because their onboarding process is time-consuming and provides little information. According to stats, nearly 75% of users uninstall within the first 90 days. This number can often be attributed to a poor onboarding process.
During the onboarding phase, it’s important that just enough information is given to users, so they understand how the app functions and why they’re going through these steps.
Some of the pages can provide more details on features but should be organized in neat, short sentences to keep the flow moving. If there are dense blocks of text, users will likely uninstall because it’s seen as a waste of time.
If there are two apps that do the exact same thing, but one has a quick, efficient onboarding process, users will likely go with that one. A competitor app that recognizes a user’s time is precious and creates an onboarding process with them in mind will be successfully installed over one that has a lengthy process.
3. Unstable app performance
App stability and bugs are typical stress points that developers have to worry about, especially when users can always uninstall a competitor app. Some studies even suggest that over 50% of users will uninstall due to performance. Google has even stepped up their efforts by removing glitchy apps from the Google Play store.
Even though some apps suffered, the goal was to encourage developers to more closely monitor crash reports and user reviews. Without checking these types of reports or user feedback, developers fail to recognize that a problem exists. This can result in a shaky performance for days or an even longer extended period of time, which causes users to seek a competitor app that won’t disappoint them.
4. Ignoring user reviews
User reviews are an integral part of any App Store Optimization (ASO) strategy to ensure that users aren’t experiencing any difficulties with the app and to let them know their feedback is appreciated. If performance is lacking, there’s a feature that’s causing the app to crash, or an update hasn’t been well-received, users will speak their minds in the reviews section.
If a competitor is engaging with their audience more than another developer, users will take notice. Developers need to continually engage with their users to show that they care about what they have to say. If a competitor app has created a solid user-developer relationship, they’re more likely to turn a negative review into a positive one. All developers need to pay attention to what their users are saying, especially if a review threatens going to a competitor app.
5. App consumes too much battery or space
If an app is draining a device’s battery more than others or taking up too much space, users will find another app that benefits them just the same. Roughly 50.6% of users tend to uninstall if the app takes up too much space on the device to save storage.
Since so many devices are limited on space, users will likely uninstall in order to save space on other apps, documents, etc. For example, if there are two RPG mobile games, one is 1 GB while the other is 500 MB, users will uninstall the larger app because it’s taking up too much storage. Despite the stories, mechanics, and features being completely different, the competitor app takes up less space, so is more likely to be installed.
Don’t suffer from poor retention rates
Developers need to do everything they can to ensure that their retention is up and their userbase doesn’t go with a competitor app. Declining retention rates due to users installing a competitor’s app can be the silent killer for any app’s success.
It’s important that developers prevent the following from happening:
- Underutilized notifications
- Time-consuming onboarding processes
- Shaky app performance
- Ignoring user reviews
- Unnoticed battery and storage space consumption
If any of the above five points occur, there’s a high probability that the app will suffer while competitors prosper. When one app fails another can find success. Developers need to stay ahead of these issues to keep their retention rates high. If these points do occur, users are sure to install a different app, boosting a competitor’s success.
Guest author: Dave Bell is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gummicube. In this role, Dave is responsible for overseeing the business strategy for Gummicube, driving growth and market development. Dave is a pioneer of the mobile entertainment industry with more than 15 years of experience in publishing, marketing and distributing mobile apps and games across carrier, direct-to-consumer and app store channels.