It’s a discouraging fact that millions of apps are launched in the App store every year, however, only a handful of them become popular enough to generate revenue. Furthermore, some of the apps don’t have a single download. Alternatively, from the lucky apps that do get installed, only a few of them are successful in becoming users favorite, the remaining are forgotten or uninstalled. Recent studies related to app abandonment are causing businesses to wonder “what is causing the drastic increase in app abandonment?”
The simple answer is ‘lack of user engagement’. So what exactly are the factors affecting user engagement? What can be done to improve user retention and increase revenue?
A recent survey reveals that nearly 25% of users abandon apps after just one interaction. Businesses had started creating apps to improve how they connect with their customers and to boost their productivity. Conversely, product failure is a very painful experience for businesses that invest their time, their hard work, and of course, their money. Take the example of Hailo, a taxi service app in NYC; it started out with around a $100 million being invested in its app and even Uber was fiercely competing to conquer the market. Sadly, Hailo didn’t do enough research before it launched the app. It turned out that most taxi drivers in NYC didn’t own smartphones and the Hailo App faced an epic fail.
We are only human, and as much as we try, errors cannot be avoided 100% of the time. Once you realize that your app is facing a hard time in the market, it’s up to you to figure out the root cause of your problem. Below I’ve highlighted some factors that are affecting user engagement and consequently increasing the app abandonment rate.
1) Poor Onboarding Experience
The app onboarding step is the number one most important step of a user’s journey in your mobile app. It is the initial contact point of users and therefore, it’s an important step that will allow you to make a first good impression.
The onboarding process serves the following purposes:
- Educate users about the functionality and purpose of the app
- Allow users to register and create their accounts
- Collect user information to deliver a personalized user experience.
Some of the best mobile apps in the app store/ play store try to make a good impression on their users in the very first interaction. The earliest moments of user interaction are crucial for forming bonds and making sure that your apps remain embedded in the user’s memory.
So what exactly could go wrong in the onboarding process that can lead users to permanently abandon your mobile application? Take a quick look at some common onboarding mistakes:
- Instead of directing users by using tutorials, videos, and resourceful pages; most app developers are starting to use ‘tooltips’. Tooltips are brief helper steps that are activated whenever a user moves the cursor on an element. If tooltips are designed poorly and cover important content, then they will only be a source of annoyance.
- The sign-up process is too lengthy and boring.
- The confirmation email that users receive feels robotic and lacks personality.
- After users have signed up they are lead to a dashboard. Most of the time, the dashboard is empty. You excite your users in the onboarding process but as soon as they enter the dashboard and see an empty screen without any further directions; they feel pretty disappointed.
How to Improve the Onboarding Process:
There are some effective strategies that you can adopt to lower the chances of app abandonment, but before we move on, I want to give you an insight into some very common onboarding mistakes. Not providing a ‘skip’ button or showing a sign-up screen as soon as users open the app, asking too much user information, and adding all the guidelines and tutorials in one screen. Making these mistakes will make your users delete your app as fast you can say the word “delete”. Here are some tips for the next time you need to onboard your users in your app:
Focus on The Benefits:
As soon as your users enter your app, highlight how your app will add value and benefit the user, show them why they should continue to use your mobile app. Evernote does this flawlessly.
User Guides and Tutorials:
If users can’t understand how to use your app, they won’t waste their time trying to figure it out. Make sure you provide actionable guides and tutorials.
Technology has no doubt, spoiled customers, people expect to use simple swipe and one-click methods to accomplish certain tasks. Instead of manual sign-up, you can provide users a one-click approach as well; such as sign up using Facebook.
Even though you’ve probably created email campaigns to keep users engaged, you don’t have to make it seem robotic, add some personality.
2) Excessive Loading Time a result of app abandonment
Have you ever visited a website that took too long to load? There is an 80% chance that you abandoned the website and started looking for another site. A slow loading site leaves a very bad first impression, users question your technical skill, they question the quality of your app, and they doubt that your product would be of any value at all.
Similar is the case with mobile apps. If an app takes too long to download and when it’s finally downloaded, you have to wait a millennium for the app to load all its elements; you probably won’t take a second to uninstall the app. In a world of 5G technology, slow speed is just plain annoying. Quick loading apps have a greater chance at increasing the user’s interaction rate and ultimately improve user engagement.
If you want your users to continue using your app, you want to make sure that you deliver flawless navigation. If users are unable to find their way around your app, they won’t be able to complete their goals. This will eventually lead to a bad user experience and app abandonment. Take a quick look at some app navigation mistakes and how you can fix them:
When users are given too many options on the menu, users start feeling confused and overwhelmed. If users open your app and the first thing they come across when trying to navigate your app is ‘a long list of option’, they will feel that it will be too time-consuming and probably not worth their effort. After all, there are thousands of other apps in the app store. The best practice is to keep the menu concise yet informative.
Menu Doesn’t have Enough Options:
Some developers start taking minimalism a little too seriously, they create apps that are too small to show users where certain features can be found. Remember that you need enough information to easily guide the users to their destination.
Using Unfamiliar Icons:
The universal approach to allow users to search through an app is using the ‘magnifying glass icon’. Instead of the magnifying glass, if you decide to use eyeglasses or maybe binoculars, users will have a hard time figuring out what lies where and which element performs which function. So try to use icons that people are already accustomed to.
Bad Content Formatting:
When writing and structuring the content, you need to make sure that the information you provide is concise, easy to understand, effortlessly guides the users, and doesn’t cover other elements of the mobile app.
4) Security Concerns
People have become very conscious when using their personal information on social media and other platforms. Especially after Facebooks massive data breach. In fact, privacy is one of the major concerns of mobile app users, our mobile devices contain our banking information, social media login information, pictures, contacts, and so much more. Users fear that everyone is trying to steal and abuse their personal information.
When you ask users for in-app permissions, advertising, and registration you have to be very careful. Make sure that you effectively communicate what you need the information for and how you will be handling their information. You can gain user’s trust by using a ‘terms and conditions’ policy, you can make ‘registration an option, not a requirement’. The most important thing to remember is ‘to not share user’s information on social media without their consent’. Users will obviously feel embarrassed and lose trust in you and your app. Expert mobile application development companies understand user security concerns, that is why they make sure to earn their user’s trust right from the beginning.
5) Excessive Advertisements
Remember visiting a website that took a long time to load, and once you miraculously made it inside, you felt like you had wasted half of your life trying to open the website, and all for nothing. There were excessive advertisements, flashy content, and ads covered up all the useful information. You probably clicked the exit button feeling extremely annoyed. The same is the case with mobile apps. A recent report published by Tune shows that around 25% of users use ad blockers on their mobile devices. Advertisements, cover the content, apps feel cluttered, unprofessional, and really annoying. Furthermore, in-app advertisements are not effective for generating revenue, they will only kill your mobile app.
6) Technical Flaws result in app abandonment
It’s impossible to make an app absolutely error-free and free of any technical flaws. App freezes and sudden mobile app crashes are the most common technical flaw that immediately creates annoyance among users. Consequently, due to these flaws users end up uninstalling your app. They might even leave a one-star rating followed by an enraged comment.
The best way to make sure that your app is error-free is by starting its manual and automated testing from the moment you start developing the app. If you’ve already created and launched your app, you can remove the technical errors by examining user sessions and figuring out the root cause of those flaws.
Useful Tips to Retain Your Users
Up till now, we’ve discussed the top factors that result in app abandonment. So before I wrap up, I want to provide you some additional tips for retaining your users and generating revenue.
- In-app messaging to engage users
- Providing personalized push notifications
- Building customer trust with effective onboarding and limiting user’s data requirements.
- Make the performance and functionality flawless
- Offer special discounts and offers
- Engage with your users on social media
App abandonment rate has shown a sudden increase in 2019, businesses are doubting the success of their mobile apps, however, following the right tips and tricks you can make sure that you successfully retain your previous and upcoming users. If you feel that your app could be facing any of the issues that I’ve listed above, take your time to test your app and analyze its performance. If you’d like to add anything, we would love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment below.