10 Reasons Why Mobile Apps Fail

mobile apps fail

The abundance of mobile apps in the app stores is a great advantage that users have today, but the sheer volume creates fierce competition which makes it a big challenge for businesses who want to create mobile apps to drive their business.

You will be amazed to know that as many as 80%-90% mobile apps are abandoned after just one use. In fact, an average app is likely to lose around 77% of its DAUs (daily active users) within just three days after it has been installed. Source: CleverTap

So, often, businesses will be left wondering, “what is it that makes for a successful mobile app?” The answer may often lie in finding out what mistakes lie behind unsuccessful apps, be it in the mobile app development process, design, or marketing.

Let’s start with circling out the causes that lie behind unsuccessful mobile apps.

1. Failure to Solve Any Real-World Problem

Real World Problem

Most Mobile apps as we see them today are replicas of a few popular ones. The users are looking for innovation and the failure to come up with something inventive causes, disappointment and loss of trust.

For instance, if all the fashion designers are making the same style of apparel, the competition will be high while the buyers less interested; hence only the original concepts and designs make an impact on the customers’ mind. All the replicas, whether iPhone or Android, are doomed to be classified as failures.

If you are creating an app with the sole purpose of earning money out of it, you have already committed the first gaffe. Your main motive should always be solving a problem that exists amongst the users.

The marketers have an important role to play in this scenario; their survey results of the market will exhibit the user pain points, which in turn will be your model of app creation.

2. Inability to Understand the Target Audience

Mobile app fail

Not being able to understand your target audience is a faux pas that can doom you quicker than you think.

One of our clients approached us with this innovative idea of an iPhone app for kids, which would be all about interesting games and activities that would keep them occupied and enhance their cognitive skills.

However, thinking only like kids wouldn’t be enough. We also had to consider nannies, mommies and even elder siblings who will be interfacing with the app more than the little ones will.

If you are not able to focus on your target audience properly; it will certainly paint a very blurry picture about your ideas, your application will never reach the right, thus spelling failure for your app.

3. Not Being Sure about the Mobile Apps Platform

Mobile Platform

Whether your application is going to be an iPhone app or Android app or for the Windows phone, if you have not been able to make up your mind about it, you are certainly calling for some trouble. Although, in most cases, people are certain about the mobile platform for their app, yet their decision is not based on mindful deliberations.

You cannot go with a certain platform just because it suits your predisposition. The mobile platform that you select must be the preference of your target audience.

Whether it is iPhone development or Android app development, unsuccessful apps are not just a result of the issues with app’s performance, quality or lack of user experience., but also because the platform hasn’t been carefully studied.

In the mobile-first world, getting apps developed for both iPhone and Android platforms is fast becoming the norm. And it’s great if your audience is available on both the platforms.

4. Too Many or Too Few Features

too many or too few features

A remarkable number of apps that get abandoned after the first use, are unable to get the balance right. They either present the users with too few or too many features to be of use to them.

If you are under the impression that a feature-loaded application will lure the users, it might turn to be an exact opposite scenario. Excessive features might confuse them and push them to opt for something more specific to their needs.

While if you have been too selective about adding features in your application, it too might also have an adverse effect; that of making your app inadequate.

The number of features should be decided after properly scrutinizing the usability of your application along with the devices in which it will be used.

5. Making It Too Complex for the Users

Too complex mobile apps fail

In the process of enhancing the user experience, app creators often make it a complex affair for the users.

The biggest reason for Apple to be able to gather so much attention so easily was its simplicity of usage. If a user is not able to locate the right buttons in your app in one go, certainly it is not serving the purpose it was created for.

The truth is that the users do not have the time to sit back and learn how to use your application, especially when there are easy-to-operate options available around them. And if you expect them to put in so much effort, you are certainly investing in an unsuccessful app.

In this case, one might also need to consider the localization or locational factors that vary according to the technological development of the place as well as the age of the users.

Make sure that the design of your mobile app justifies its business value. For an app, to be compatible with the user you need to analyze your target audience’s intellectual understanding and their compliance towards changing trends. Design intricacies cause the app to fail.

6. Incompatible User Experience

Imagine an app designed for helping the blind without any alarm feature when the user is in trouble; or a home automation application that can be linked with only one phone.

These apps limit your user experience instead of enhancing it. The main criteria for an app creation are starting an interaction with the user. If you have an app that does not provide any interaction with or feedback to the user he will certainly be less interested in using it. It will be like clearing the highest level of a game still not getting any score. Where’s the fun in that?

User experience is important for both iOS and Android apps, especially when it comes to appealing to your target audience.

7. Neglecting the Backend Support

Neglecting backend support

This especially applies to the apps for the eCommerce market or even gaming applications. For your app to be stable, you will need robust backend support.

With cloud technology at your disposal, it is time to embrace faster and better means of support and storage. There have been several instances when apps have not been handling the traffic inflow as a result of affecting the business value for a longer period.

Another aspect to consider when looking for a robust backend is scalability. A scalable backend service will adjust according to the traffic influx over a period of time. Twitter is amongst the finest example of a scalable and strong backend. If you are looking to dodge mobile app startup failure, go for a product that is scalable.

8. Not Allowing Enough Marketing Time

Allow enough marketing time

Most marketers make this mistake – marketing your app after it has been created and launched.

A little hype never hurt any app. You can, in fact, make effective use of social media and even ask your prospects to share responses and ideas about what they would like to include in the application.

Build up a little excitement before the launch of the application like Apple does. It will aid in creating a ready market for your application, so you will not need to toil later to make it visible to your target audience. Launch events are also a good idea if you want the media to talk about your app.

But then, make sure that your app meets the claims that you make.

9. Not Optimizing App Performance

Not optimizing performance

Unoptimized apps are always a lost scenario and there’s hardly any chance of them winning with the newer waves of applications flooding the coast every minute, and eventually, they add to the list of reasons why some apps don’t succeed at all.

App performance optimization is a methodological approach and must be carried out cautiously lest it should backfire.

10. Failure to Update the App, Based on Users’ Feedback


Your application is for your users. Failing to recognize what they think about your app can be suicidal.

As your app is released, you constantly try to sell it to your customers without realizing that you also need to pay attention to the issues that they are facing. Fixing these issues for them is important to keep the customers coming back to you.

The best example is Apple’s taking back its iOS 8 update and quickly coming back with 8.0.2. This was proof for the customers that their problems are being heeded to and the company is keen on preserving its reputation by providing a quick solution.


Having listed some of these most common yet devastating mistakes, it’s plain to see why so many millions of apps fail.

Apart from striving to make an app that stands out, it is also important to make planned moves and to be cautious about the strategies you deploy when deciding the market for your app.

The strategy applied for marketing your app is an equally critical step, especially when it comes to the timing and the target audience. Also, as important is to is create a rich user experience to make sure that your app doesn’t go down the drain like those 80%-90% apps that are never used twice.

Create Mobile Apps

Amit Manchanda

About the Author

Amit Manchanda is working at Net Solutions as Project Lead and has over 9 years of experience in technologies like ASP, Adobe Flex, and Android. He has been part of SME (Subject Matter Expert) Group for RIA applications. He possesses a sound understanding of technical requirement/problem analysis and resolution for providing the best solutions to clients. He is passionate about his work and enjoys interacting with his team. In his leisure time, he loves to listen to music, watch cricket, and play with his daughter.

Leave a Comment

contact us

Pin It on Pinterest