The Top 3 Reasons You Might Think Your App is Failing (But It’s Really Not)

So your team put in the time and effort to deploy a new app—Congratulations!

But a month later, the initial elation of launch has dissipated. After looking at the stats, you’re underwhelmed by your downloads and alarmed by the number of deletes.

Maybe you set goals and you’re not meeting them. Maybe you didn’t set goals at all.

It’s easy to panic.

But fear not—your app is not dead and your project isn’t a waste of time and money.

It’s possible to pivot and improve these metrics. You just need to employ the the right strategies.

If you’ve recently launched an app, keep these “reasons for failure” in mind. And if you plan to launch one in the future, learn these lessons now—before you start the creation process.

Reason #1: Low adoption rate.

Low app adoption rate

You’ve marketed your app, emailed your users—and still, adoption just isn’t taking off.

This is likely a messaging issue.

Ask yourself:

  • Who are you trying to reach, and who are you actually reaching?
  • Does what you think your intended audience needs match what they really want?
  • Is the core problem you’re trying to solve an actual pain point?

What You Should Do

  1. Inspect your search strategy. Can people find your app? What keywords are you using? Do you have effective, optimized landing pages?
  2. Evaluate your audience. If people can find your app, is your intended audience part of that group?
  3. Look at your value proposition. If you’re reaching the right people, why isn’t your value proposition resonating? Do user research to make sure you understand what your audience wants.
  4. Consider the App Store experience. If you received a click-through from your landing page to the App Store, why aren’t they downloading? Are the images and messaging supporting what users get? Is it quick and easy to understand the functional value that the app provides?

Reason #2: Lack of repeat usage.

Lack of repeat app usage

Your issue isn’t downloads. But once someone opens the app and takes two actions, they close out … and never come back. Ghosted again.


You need strategies to pull users back in.

What You Should Do

  1. Create a plan. The issue isn’t interest—it’s usefulness. Get the full picture of why users chose to download your app, what they were looking for, and what they ultimately did not find. Understanding in-app behaviors will help you create a plan to move forward.
  2. Implement incentives. The truth is that users will not go to your app just because you want them too. If the app doesn’t have a tool or function that impacts their daily lives or jobs, visits are probably low. Consider incentives such as T-Mobile’s T-Mobile Tuesdays. The company sends out a push notification each Tuesday and gives out freebies—while also sharing important messages about upcoming promotions and products. This type of strategy results in repeat visitors each Tuesday that T-Mobile can take advantage of.
  3. Leverage available technology. Don’t forget to leverage push notifications, badges, alerts, and marketing promos to re-engage app users.
  4. Get automated. Tools like Leanplum are fantastic at automating messages to get your audiences re-engaged based on in-app behaviors.

Reason #3: App delete.

App delete

First of all, it’s going to be OK.

People download and delete apps all the time. A report from 2018 found that 28% of users delete apps within 30 days of download. But that doesn’t mean they won’t come back.

What You Should Do

  1. Analyze the data you have. Based on what users are doing today, what does a successful session look like? What do you want it to be?
  2. Conduct user research.We cannot overstate how important this step is. You must speak with real people to find the gap between what they expected to get and what you delivered. Maybe your app is very useful for a certain audience demographic, but is not yet fulfilling the larger audience’s needs.
  3. Pivot your vision. After analyzing what your users say, it may be time to expand or pivot the app vision and purpose to align with what your audience wants and still delivers business value.

The truth is that almost every app will not see immediate success after launch.

It takes time, refinement, and patience to continue to develop an offering that meets users’ needs.

That’s why we developed our Foresight program. We wanted a way to help organizations realize return on their digital investments. We provide ongoing coaching to ensure digital products are aligned with business goals and constantly evolving to meet brand ambitions.

We provide strategy, data analytics, and maintenance support to ensure your offering meets users’ expectations. It’s the difference between creating something and creating something users actually want.

Want to breathe new life into your web and mobile properties with the help of a trusted industry expert? We’re here to help. Fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.

Alyssa Hulka

Alyssa Hulka

As the VP of Digital Strategy at Accella, Alyssa Hulka crafts digital strategies, defines the vision for digital products and redefines user experiences. With a focus on building meaningful connections between brands and consumers, Alyssa specializes in driving forward innovative digital experiences.

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