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The Problem Of App Abandonment And How To Fix It

App abandonment

Introduction To App Abandonment

When it comes to mobile app marketing, a vicious cycle sometimes stalls the most ardent of efforts. The cycle begins with organizations focusing on new user acquisition rather than on retaining existing users. New user acquisition is an expensive proposition and it consumes most of the time and resources at an organization’s disposal. Therefore, engagement of existing users takes a backseat leading to high app abandonment and the cycle continues. Forrester’s report found that only 70% of CMOs considered retention to be a top priority.

Before going on to the reasons why users abandon your app, let’s first understand what app abandonment exactly means.

App abandonment is simply the act of your users abandoning your app at various points of using it such as before signing up, making a purchase, or sometimes even before using it. It is important to analyze which aspects of your app are not going well with your users. 

Why Users Abandon Your Mobile App?

A common statistic that most mobile app marketers must be aware of is that one in four mobile users abandon apps after using it just once. This can be a discouraging statistic to deal with. However, it’s a starting point to understand what’s making users abandon your app. For example, Google released a survey conducted by IPSOS of around 1,000 smartphone users in the US in an attempt to figure out the reasons why users abandoned apps. As per the report, some of the primary reasons for app abandonment were changing needs, phone memory issues, and app glitches.

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Let’s look at some of the essential reasons why users decide to abandon mobile apps:

Poor Onboarding Experience

As they say, the first impression is the last impression. It’s true as far as your app is concerned. User onboarding is generally the first point of contact of your users with your app and your opportunity to create a lasting impression. These first few interactions help you create bonds and build habits for your user. If they’re not satisfied with the onboarding experience, they’re likely to abandon your app. So it’s important to pay attention to small details such as the tutorial, user guide, sign-up process, etc. For example, Weathercube’s simple, three-slide onboarding creates a satisfying experience for the user.

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Privacy Concerns

Another issue that triggers app abandonment among users is privacy. Most users are suspicious of apps that request personal details, collect and sell data, track locations and post to social media accounts on the user’s behalf. So whenever your users feel the slightest discomfort or intrusion from your app, they are likely to abandon it. The best approach is to be completely transparent about what permissions you’re requesting from the users and why.

App Relevancy

One reason which may be difficult to digest is that your app might not be any different from others in the market. If your app doesn’t have a competitive advantage such as a clear brand proposition, a good app store ranking, or a huge social media fan following, then your users may go for a better option in the market.

Intrusive Ads

Most users are aware of the fact that free apps are free because of ads. That’s why they’re ready to accept ads as a part of apps as long as they’re not intrusive. However, a cluttered advertising UX can put users off and drive them away. As long as the content, placement, and frequency of the ads are unobtrusive, the users will feel more engaged.

Technical Issues

Technical flaws are one of the primary reasons why users abandon your app. The most common type of problem that annoy users is crashes and freezes. They can induce your users to uninstall your app or leave negative reviews. Fixing the technical flaws can help you to improve your ratings on the store and reach better retention.

Too Many Notifications

One thing that annoys users a lot is push notifications. Although push notifications can act as great communication tools, however, when overdone, they can really hamper your brand. Make sure you customize the content, select the right frequency, and the right time so as not to make users abandon your app. 

How To Fix The Problem of App Abandonment

#1. Start With Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

The greatest advantage that your app can have over others is your unique selling proposition (USP). It’s nothing but a factor that sets your app apart from your competitors. The USP is not necessarily a feature but rather a user benefit that’s unique to your app. The diagram below gives a better insight into what USP refers to.

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Figuring out your USP isn’t that difficult. You can do it in 3 easy steps:

  • List down the benefits that your app provides that differentiates you from your competitors.
  • Understand exactly what type of users/audience will your app benefit.
  • Come up with a short and catchy slogan or title.

#2. Create An Appealing UX

Creating a better user experience during the design or development process will help you to attract users right from the start. A product that is intuitive to the needs of the user is one that users don’t need to abandon minutes after installing. The idea is to give users full control over all the features of the app so that they can use it to their advantage. The UX should also match your USP and let users experience the unique aspects of your app. Simplicity is the key. Making the UX too cluttered or complicated can create an adverse impact on the user experience. Too many notifications, authorizations, or options can make users feel annoyed and abandon the app.

#3. Track And Analyze Your Data

Getting all the details of your app correct is not enough. You’ve to keep on measuring how it’s being used and how engaging users are finding your app. You’ll also have to analyze whether your app is reaching the right audience. All of these will help you find more information on your abandonment rate and the reasons for it. For all of this, you’ll have to delve into your analytics and find the results that matter to you. The metric or Key Performance Indicator (KPI) to track here is the app abandonment rate. Calculating your app abandonment rate is easy. Here’s a formula for it:

App Abandonment Rate = (Users at the beginning of a period – Users at the end of the period) / Users at the beginning of a period

#4. Create Exclusive Offers

The simplest way to prevent users from abandoning your app is to show them that you like them and have given a lot of thought to their needs. A good way to do that is by showering them with exclusive offers. As per stats, 25-60% percent of your inactive customers will make a transaction if approached in the right way and at the right time. If you have got a loyalty program for your app users, then it’s one of the best strategies for retention. Offering them special coupons on special days such as their birthdays or anniversaries is another option. Coinciding discounts or offers with specific seasons can also help in effective retention.

#5. Communicate Effectively

Finally, communication is the key to engagement for your mobile app. With the right communication, you can sway your users to stick to your app and not abandon it. One of the primary forms of communication is push notifications. They will help you to reach your users even when they aren’t active on your app from a desktop or from their mobiles. With proper segmentation, you can also send the right messages to the right people at the right time. Moreover, by analyzing the engagement to your notifications, you can tweak your messaging to meet the user’s preferences. This will keep users engaged and not abandon your app.

To effectively lower your abandonment rate, you may also use a user engagement and retention platform for your app. With features such as user segmentation, user surveys, referral options, and feedback scores, it’ll help you to engage your users more and, consequently, retain them better.

Do you have any other tips to fix app abandonment to add?

Responses

  1. Avatar
    Gregory L.

    Interesting statistics, I’m very surprised to see more than 50% remove an app to free up space. Your ideas on how to fix abandonment are good and some I use myself including exclusive offers. I also believe the user experience of my app is good, too. I find that clear colors and flat icons work well, too many apps try to cram lots of information on one screen, it just doesn’t work.

  2. Avatar
    Kevin Watts

    The onboarding experience is very important as you say, and I found this out the bad way when I first launched my app. I didn’t think any explanation was needed on how to use it, but of course I would think that, it’s my app! Since implementing a virtual tour of the app, abandonment has dropped big time. People know how to use it, so, they use it! Kudos SmartKarrot for pointing this out.

  3. Avatar
    Harry Vernon

    I was having issue with app abandonment for a long time. I wasn’t sure of the cause until I realized that the app was so feature-packed, it took up far too much space on people’s devices. After splitting it up into several apps and marketing them all separately, abandonment has dropped massively and all apps are doing rather well. Lesson learned for me, don’t assume everyone has high-end devices with huge amounts of storage!

  4. Avatar
    Heather Whitman

    My app has experienced issues with abandonment in the past, only I wasn’t aware of it for quite some time because I rarely checked analytics. I had been losing users to a new app which seemed to offer my service, but better. After overhauling the app and notifying everyone, many returned. Lesson learned, check your analytics often!

  5. Avatar
    Vic Thornton

    I’ve managed to keep abandonment of my app decently low thanks to a few things you mention here. I don’t place too many ads and none of them are obtrusive or timer-based. I also don’t use push notifications at all but there is a potential need for them so I might reconsider. These other tips are sure to help with abandonment as well.

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    James Edwards

    I’ve had trouble with abandonment many times in the past. For me, you have to sell the people on the app before it’s even downloaded. This means creating appealing images for an icon and app previews, and explaining in the description why they need the app and what they will get from it. If it gets downloaded, well, that’s when the real work begins!

  7. Avatar
    Jerry Foster

    User experience and UI is what I handle for our mobile app so abandonment is something I look at very closely. Onboarding is the first hurdle and I really like the example you’re showing here, Weathercube handles it very well and in a similar way to us. The hint boxes are a great way to show new users around and ensure they don’t immediately leave due to frustration.

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