The mobile industry is rapidly growing to an endless scope. Every day, new apps are added to app stores where they compete for user attention. On one side, this competition has enticed newcomers to join the market. However, increased competition also lead to increased chances of failure.

Mobile app development is obviously not inexpensive. Enormous amounts of time, effort, and money are invested into the process. As such, businesses cannot afford an app failure.

The best way to develop a mobile app is to take all those factors into consideration. While there isn’t a magic pill for success, there are definite pitfalls that can prevent it. From bad business practices to weak development processes to negative user perspective, avoid the following factors that hinder the path to prosperity.  

Business issues

Creating a mobile app is a strategic decision. Not only does it have implications for the image of your brand, but it also has a direct relation with the way customers interact with your other products and services. Naturally adequate planning at the highest level of the organization is required.

1. A poorly developed mobile app strategy

When an app fails, it’s usually due to a lack of a solid strategy. Without a strong foundation, you could either delay your development process or build a low-quality product.

Strategies that don’t take end users into account can also harm your endeavors. User experiences differ in almost every scenario and each contributes to an endless possibility of use-case issues.

Solution: Don’t think in terms of hard sales, but rather in providing value to your users in terms of information, a service, or entertainment.

2. Incompatible with existing business strategy

Building customer engagement begins and ends with your brand. This is especially important when creating a mobile app. If your app is disconnected from your brand or brand promise, you’ll not only miss out on possible downloads, you also could alienate customers from making future purchases of your other products.

Solution: Build your brand well and make sure every product created fits into your vision.

3. Blowing the budget

Developing an app can cost anything from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands of dollars. There’s no average price so it’s always better to go in with a budget or price range and the project can be scoped to the budget.

Sadly, mobile app budgeting is a task not many companies are adequately equipped for. Many underestimate – often significantly – the time, resources, and budget they require in order to build a useful product.

Solution: You need to know your limitations and keep it within these and keep it concise.

Development issues

Negative reviews can kill an app. Slow performance, errors, or crashes can lead to negative reviews. However, these technical issues go far beyond bad network or battery management.

4. Device compatibility

From varying operating systems to carrier networks to devices, ignoring platforms while developing a mobile app is a major issue.

Each mobile platform has their individual interface guidelines. As such, they operate in unique ways, with specific guidelines, and buttons in completely different places. While it’s very time consuming to plan for every instance and use-case, it’s more frustrating for users when an app doesn’t work consistently from device to device.

Solution: Plan for every possibility in such a fragmented market.

5. Poor quality assurance

Overlooking QA and testing practices is yet another factor why mobile apps fail. If an app is not tested properly, bugs will surely ruin the user experience. According to a 2015 mobile app performance study, 80 percent of users stated they only try to use a problematic app three or less times before deleting the app. Thankfully, many app errors can easily be avoided with a well-structured testing process.

Solution: Invest in a reliable quality assurance process.

User issues

There’s nothing more frustrating than a mobile app that continually crashes or freezes. Slow performance – or no performance – is the number one reason why users abandon an app.

6. Bad user experience

Offering a compelling user experience is crucial for the success of your mobile app. While load time and available features are key, user design is a major factor. A lack of consistency makes apps difficult to use and causes performance issues.

Solution: Designate enough attention to UX/UI best practices.

7. Overly complicated

Simplicity is the secret to app success. The simpler and elegant your application design is, the more comfortable users are with it. Unfortunately, businesses try to create an all-in-one app that fits almost every need. In the process, they overcomplicate things and suffocate their interface with features.

This leads to such complex and time-consuming design that users get confused, frustrated and leave.

Solution: Build the smallest possible design for the first iteration and build upon it as needed.

Marketing issues

In the current app economy, it’s imperative mobile app marketing focuses on the correct strategies in an age of unlimited apps.

Demand in the app marketplace and the evolution of user behavior over the years means marketers need to align themselves with present marketing trends and a sound mobile app marketing strategy that aids its success in the coming months.

8. Weak or no marketing

There are over six million apps available today. If you do not publicize your application, no one will come to know about it. If you don’t market your product correctly, it’s nearly impossible for potential users to find your app.

But this shouldn’t stop at your launch. Ensure your marketing team continues their efforts well after your app hits the market.

Solution: Make sure users know your app exists and exactly why they need it.

9. Poor audience and market research

Market research takes a lot of time and effort. That said, having a thorough understanding of your audience is a huge advantage when marketing your app. Individuals have completely different preferences. An app built for teenagers won’t fit the criteria for one built for adults.

Additionally, many developers are often overly excited with their idea they forget to confirm if that app already exists or if the market even needs it.

Solution: Validate your idea and then perform a competitive analysis to see who they target.

10. Neglecting the Competition

Most mobile apps tend to focus solely on their own thing rather than being bothered by the competition. However, this can only get you so far. According to a study conducted by Arctic Startup, 19 percent of failures were due to ignoring competition.

Not only should you pay attention to your competitors, but you should also know what they’re doing or not.

Solution: Use analytics to help understand what your competition is marketing their app.  

11. Ignoring customer engagement and feedback

Despite market research and quality control measures, sometimes apps have errors or users have different expectations. By referring to customer feedback on a regular basis, companies have an opportunity to learn and improve on future iterations of a mobile app.

Unfortunately, one in three businesses said they never ask customers for feedback. Additionally, 43 percent of companies surveyed don’t consider feedback a priority.

Not only is proactively asking users for information important, it’s also critical to timely respond to any user reviews or questions. After all, when customers feel heard, they are more likely to be loyal and brand ambassadors.

Solution: Broaden your communication channels with customers and increase the amount of feedback you ask for.

There are common factors that help you create a successful application. While knowing them won’t necessarily make your app immune to failure, it will help you remedy any on-going mistakes that lead to the loss of both time and money.

Dog owner, expat, gin lover. Allegedly wise to the ways of digital marketing, PR, and social media. Currently waging a war on mediocrity in communication and storytelling.