Make Your Apps Stick – How to Battle Uninstalls

You’ve done it. You’ve done the seemingly insurmountable task of beating out thousands of other apps and grabbing a consumer’s attention – they’ve downloaded your app.

But the battle has only just begun. Not only must your app be appealing enough to win a user’s download, but it also must survive being uninstalled. According to a recent study by AppsFlyer, the app uninstalls rate is 28% after the first 30 days. That’s almost 3 in 10 users uninstalling an app within an incredibly limited amount of time – time to battle uninstalls.

So after spending the money, and allocating the resources to obtain new downloads, what’s the key to making your app stick? We’ve compiled a list of our top tips on how to make sure your app lasts.

Reasons Why People Uninstall Apps

The first step in reducing your uninstall rate is asking why users are uninstalling apps to begin with. A user’s satisfaction or dissatisfaction with an app can usually be attributed to one, or all of, three main categories: Functionality of the app, reliance on the app, and performance of the app.

Some commonly cited uninstall reasons within these categories:

  • Lack of competitive advantage
    • With billions of apps in the marketplace, if your app’s content isn’t quickly fulfilling the user’s expectations, there are likely dozens of other apps they can resort to instead. If your competitor’s app has a similar function and better value, why should the user keep yours?
  • App has glitches and technical problems
    • One of the most frustrating issues is wanting to use an app, but not being able to because of constant glitches, freezing and shut downs.
  • Battery drain
    • Putting apps aside, rapid battery drain is a common complaint of most smartphone users. So if your app is significantly adding to the problem, the chance of uninstall is virtually guaranteed.
  • Poor onboarding process
    • The lengthier your sign-up process, the more users you’re apt to lose. If your installation phase has too many components, users will drop off throughout the sign-up process. Here’s where offering log in through Google, or social accounts can really come in handy.
  • Privacy concerns
    • Privacy is a major concern for most app users, and apps that ask for too many permissions often get discarded before their set up is even completed. This is especially true if your app asks for permissions that don’t align with the app’s purpose. (i.e. a ride service app asking permission to access your photos, or a banking app asking for microphone access).
  • Too many push notifications
    • Too many push notifications are a great source of annoyance for your app users, especially when those push notifications are deemed irrelevant.
  • Unused app
    • Often times, once a user notices they’re no longer using your app, they choose to delete your app to free up space.

Track Everything

Our first piece of advice? Start tracking. If you know users are uninstalling your app, but can’t pinpoint when they’re doing so, you’ll never know how to improve! A popular solution is to use a third party tracking tool that records data on the entire customer journey. There are even services that specifically focus their algorithms on determining exactly what’s causing a user to uninstall and the information you need to measure your problematic metric.

Take Your Reviews Seriously

Another way to find out exactly where users are dropping off? Listen to their reviews. The review section of the app store can provide a plethora of insightful data on what users are saying about your app – both good and bad.

If you see a common positive review, focus on making the loved features even better. If there are negative reviews, take the feedback and work quickly to resolve the issues.

To help mitigate the number of negative public reviews your app receives, you can also look into in-app messaging that will provide a private channel for users to voice their frustrations through. Ultimately, a user would rather have their issue handled quickly and privately vs. resorting to a public complaint where they may never see a direct response to their problem. You win because you see how to make useful updates to your app, the customer wins because their issue is solved quickly, and your app remains safely downloaded to their phone!  

Keep Notifications Valuable

When used correctly, push notifications can help keep your app top-of-mind, and add value for your users. When used poorly, they’re an annoyance at best.

Some keys to success in your notifications: keep them short, keep them relevant to the user, and make sure they add value to your app. Notifications with 24 characters or less are far more likely to be read and clicked than longer updates. A good way to keep your notifications relevant to the user? Utilize the data you track to offer your users highly personalized notifications based on their usage in the app. Think offering a deal on an item that was left in the users cart, vs. simply advertising a popular item in general.

Deliver Regular Updates

With over 2.1 million apps available for Android users, and almost 2 million apps in Apple’s app store*, if your app doesn’t stay up-to-date with what users want, there are probably a dozen other apps that will.

Delivering regular, useful updates can be the one reason your user stays loyal to your app. From small bug fixes, to updating the user interface, to adding entirely new features to the app – you’re catering to the needs of a society that wants the new and improved, and they’ll show their appreciation by keeping your app.

Offer a Quality User Experience

At this point, we sound like a broken record, but we can’t stress enough – the app market is absolutely saturated. If you’re not doing something well, there are plenty of other options for the user to try instead.

A quality user experience has many facets. There are the bigger factors, like an intuitive user experience, or a personalized app experience based on user preferences, and the smaller factors that also point to quality – such as proper grammar and spelling.   

If your app can create an expected, and valuable experience with the least amount of friction, it will win time and again over its competitors.

Wrapping Things Up

You’ve envisioned the next great app idea, you’ve developed your app monetization and user acquisition strategy. Now, it’s all about retaining them. Armed with the strategies outlined above, you’re ready to battle the uninstall, and make your app stick!  

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