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Why your app is getting uninstalled and how to prevent it

How mobile app developers can decrease their mobile app turn over rate and improve their overall user experience.

Marketing & Promotion 15,641 VIEWS
11/22/2017 8:27:59 AM
Why your app is getting uninstalled and how to prevent it
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Posted Wednesday, November 22, 2017 by Simon Spaull


Why your app is getting uninstalled and how to prevent it
App developers have a tough job managing the marketing life cycle. Before an app is released, app developers must have plans for user acquisition and they must be agile enough to adapt in those first hectic weeks. But as you gain traction and grow comfortable with how your app is doing, there is a huge worry that looms over you: what if users stop using your app and uninstall it?

According to Business Insider, over 30% of apps installed across both Android and iOS devices will be uninstalled. Further, Localytics reports that 23% of users abandon an app after only one use.

In order to prevent users from uninstalling your app, we first have to understand what makes them want to uninstall an app in the first place. Only then can we understand how to combat these reasons. Here are the most common factors that drive people to uninstall apps.

Bad onboarding experience


If your app has a bad onboarding experience, users are going to uninstall it immediately. There are a lot of things that can go wrong during an onboarding experience, like forcing users to use a social login, asking for too much access to data without explaining why that data is needed, or having poorly localised content. And if your UI needs a full-blown tutorial about how to use the app, you should probably make it easier to use.

If your app requires elevated privileges or data usage on a user’s phone, you should clearly explain why those privileges are necessary in order to reassure them that something nefarious isn’t going on.

Badgering users for ratings or having too many push notifications


It’s OK to ask users to rate your apps, but don’t badger them for it, and allow them the option to opt out of future review requests. Constantly bugging users to review your app will sour the experience and may even lead to negative reviews.

Over-utilising push notifications can also have the same effect. If you try to boost your app’s retention via too many push notifications, users will be inclined to uninstall your app. No one wants to be interrupted constantly. Push notifications are still a great way to encourage retention, but messages should be personalised, timely, and relevant. You should always be running A/B tests for which push notifications work the best. 

App monetization friction


One of the most common reasons for app uninstalls is also the trickiest to overcome. If your monetization strategy is too aggressive, users will be turned off from the experience. Ads are a great way to monetise your app, but they must be used appropriately in terms of format, placing, and frequency. If you overload your users with ads, they’ll be frustrated and abandon - or worse, uninstall - your app.

You can also have too many tiers of in-app purchases. For games, this may turn off players who feel like they have to pay in order to be successful in your game. Instead of punishing your players with in-app purchases like with a pay-to-win model, you should offer something valuable that makes a player feel good for spending.

Lack of updates and bugs


Depending on the type of app, lack of updates and new content can make or break a user’s experience. Mobile games especially require new content to keep users interested in coming back. While utility, messaging, and media apps may require fewer updates, developers should still have an update cycle to address user feedback and to squash bugs.

If your app has bugs or performance issues, users will be frustrated and uninstall your app. Crashes, lag, and bugs all contribute to a negative user experience, and in the saturated market of mobile apps, users can (and will) quickly find an alternative.

In the past, we’ve gone over the must-know KPIs for measuring your mobile game’s success, and a lot of it still applies when thinking about why people uninstall apps in general and how to prevent it. For mobile games, once you’re up and rolling, you should keep an eye on engagement metrics like sessions started, length of sessions, daily active users (DAU), and monthly active users (MAU). These metrics will let you know if users are enjoying the app and what changes may be needed to keep them around. By defining and tracking the most relevant KPIs for your app, you can set goals to meet and understand better where users drop off and uninstall or let your app stay dormant.

If your users do drop off, it’s not too late to get them back. By re-engaging users across channels like email, push, and social, you can get users interested in your app again. Targeting different channels is important as you can catch your users at the right time and in the relevant context outside of your app. According to AdRoll, marketers are taking retargeting seriously, as push notifications double retention rates and reduce the likelihood of uninstalls by 15% but keep in mind that over-utilization of push notifications will also annoy users and may result in uninstalls.

In short, your app must have a good user experience and offer users clear value with every use. In a saturated mobile app market, users will remain loyal to apps that provide the least friction, and they won’t think twice to uninstall and try another app. While it feels good to see the initial success of your app, the hard part comes in retaining your users and growing your business. If you follow the data (user retention, app load times, how users interact with ads), you’ll have a holistic picture of user behavior and will let you chart a clear path for continued success.





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