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Why Apps Don’t Always Stick

It appears that at least one in four mobile apps that are installed are not used more than once. Even though owners of smartphones and other mobile devices tend to download mobile apps frequently, they are very likely to ignore or uninstall them after only a single use.

According to app marketer Localytics, a quarter of all apps downloaded so far in 2015 are abandoned after just a single or couple of uses. This is a significant increase over 2014 numbers. Not surprisingly, abandonment of apps by games players tends to be especially high. When a game is popular it is really, really popular, and when it goes out of favor, it falls fast.

Mobile app users in the United States and Canada tend to be more loyal to their apps than those in other countries, with the concerted effort by marketers to remain engaged the most likely reason. Mobile app users in the USA appear to be more loyal than those outside the country. In the US, the percentage of frequently-opened apps is increasing, while the number of apps opened just once is stagnant.

There are so, so many apps being released every year. According to some observers, Android users are currently able to choose between 1.5 million apps, and Apple’s App Store remains the second-largest with 1.4 million available apps. It’s obvious that with so many apps out there, many of them fall well below acceptable standards, and many have duplicated offerings already available. The failure rate of mobile apps is large and they share some common reasons for failure.

A very common mistake made by app developers is not engaging or taking into account the end user’s needs and behavior. Just because someone in an organization has a vision for a service or product does not mean that it is what their target audience wants. Pre-launch testing is very important to identifying at the earliest stages what will work and what won’t work. Understanding user experience is an important factor in ensuring rapid user engagement.

App designers must understand the requirements of the company that they are creating for, but they must also understand in a real way the user habits and associated emotions of the target audience, while at the same time remaining on target with the original purpose of the app.

The path to success for a mobile app goes in many directions. The launch and marketing is only the beginning of the journey. The real work begins after an app is starting to build a following. At this point it’s very important for brands to interact with the individuals purchasing and using the application.

Social media plays a very important and influential role in the adoption of mobile apps, and is one of the biggest resources available to digital marketers. Brands typically spend billions annually to generate followings on social networks for good reason. It’s not merely courting an audience that matters. A brand or organizations ability to respond in real-time to consumer feedback can mean the difference between a successful app and a failure.

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