Launching A Mobile App Startup? Learn Why So Many Apps Go Bust

Mobile app success starts with analyzing why apps fail, not why a single app (out of thousands) succeeds.

Photo: Ashish Sharma; Source: Courtesy Photo
Photo: Ashish Sharma; Source: Courtesy Photo

Thousands of mobile apps launch every month with high quality functions and features … and many of them fail. But as Denis Waitley, author and productivity consultant, once said, 
“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker.”

Every appreneur wants their mobile app to become successful, popular, and lucrative. It’s all too common to stumble upon articles that read: “How to Make More Money With Your Mobile App”. You then visualize your own app success story.

Unfortunately, this approach is incomplete and paves the road to failure. As a mobile app marketing evangelist I always start app development by researching existing apps that have failed and the reasons why they missed the mark. This approach increases my chances of a successful app launch by avoiding all that tactics that caused my predecessors to fail.

Let me tell you a secret: Mobile app success starts with analyzing why apps fail, not why a single app (out of thousands) succeeds.

Find out why others didn’t make it. Learn from their mistakes and ensure you don’t repeat them. If you’ve done this, you’ll at least stand a chance in noisy and overcrowded app stores.

So, let’s start our journey.

Here’s an inside look at the top 6 reasons why mobile apps fail (and no, they can’t all be chalked up to “high competition”).


1. Poor user experience and poor design.

When mobile app user complain about apps, those complaints mostly have to do with a poor user experience—poor design, poor responsiveness and workflow design, or user interface (UI).
 If you want to attain mobile app success a well-designed app will consider a proper user interface, careful placement of buttons, high resolution images and a supreme user experience.



But keep in mind: “Beauty is wasted when our products don’t address real user needs in a usable manner. Again, perception is subjective: The product gets uglier if it fails to meet user needs or becomes confusing. It’s like falling in love at first sight, then falling back out after a brief conversation. Your crush looks less attractive now; you can’t even recall why you were so captivated in the first place.”


2. Wrong app idea and poor execution.

Most mobile app developers think their app ideas are outstanding, but they often forget great ideas in theory don’t make an app successful in practice. 
It’s natural to assume that something is unique and original only because we have come up with the idea.

The decision to launch an app should start with a research. Is there a market and audience for the app you plan to develop? Who are your competitors? Would people want to use the type of app you plan to build? And is the app idea defined well enough to be executed?

If you are thinking to build an app without proper planning and research, defining the audience, and strategizing use cases and features that will appeal to that audience, you may build an app you think people want, when (in reality) they don’t. Most apps are poorly researched and badly executed. It’s easy to think customers will love your app, but can you justify it?


3. Premature and improper monetization strategy.

Most appreneurs think they will design and develop a mobile app, market it get visitors, downloads, and subscription customers and make a fortune. But the important truth is that a large number of app developers never get beyond app marketing.

Even if you offer great design, development, and marketing you still need a well-planned monetization strategy. 
According to a Gartner report, only 0.01% of mobile applications will be considered financially successful by 2018. Yet, the most common reason why most mobile apps fail financially is that their owners can’t monetize them properly.

What’s the best way to make money on an app apart from making it a paid app? 
Consider two things: Freemium revenue model and Ads.


Photo: © GaudiLab, YFS Magazine
Photo: © GaudiLab, YFS Magazine

We all know people won’t pay for your app if they have no idea what it’s about or can easily find one with similar features for free. Build your monetization strategy around providing maximum value and the best user experience. Never guess at any strategy. Do your own research, download top competitive apps, and reverse engineer their idea.

From a user point of view figure out what you like and what you hate, which features you like most (and are ready to pay for), and which you’re not. And offer the best part of your mobile app for free to gain loyal customers. When your app gains traction with increased downloads, that’s when you should fire up your monetization plan.


4. Poor app marketing strategy.

You develop an app and you’re excited to launch it, but who do you tell? You have to reach your ideal customer to let them know it’s available. You can’t rely on the app store or the notion that your app will sell itself.



Mobile app marketing plays a very important role for small businesses and large multinational brands. Without a strong app marketing strategy even the best app will fail in a crowded market.

Most apps are fail at app marketing because the developer spent all of their money and effort on development. And in most cases, mobile app startups that completely miss the marketing process fail in a short time.


5. Improper mobile app testing.

Testing seems pretty easy, but it is very rare that an app will be built without some sort of technical bug. It’s estimated that 44% of bugs are found by end users, 24% from direct feedback, and 20% from reviews in the app store. 
To avoid this, test your app properly before shipping it. “At the heart of testing is the capability to ask challenging and relevant questions.”


6. Lack of compatibility.

If an app does not work well across devices and operating systems users become frustrated and will delete your app. This is biggest cause of app failure. When an app works on a user’s iPhone, but not on their iPad, for example. Update and test your mobile app regularly and ensure that the app works on the devices and operating systems you’ve specified.


This article has been edited and condensed.

Ashish Sharma is a Key Account Manager at WeDigTech, a hub of skilled Indian app developers skilled in iPhone app development and android app development. WeDigTech helps enterprises and startups with web and mobile application consulting and development from domestic to MNCs.
 Ashish has 10+ years of experience in app marketing strategies and building new businesses. Connect with @wedigtech
 on Twitter.



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