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Top 5 Reasons Why Most Mobile Apps Fail

Updated on June 20, 2013

The last few years have witnessed the staggering rise of mobile devices – from laptops and netbooks, all the way down to smart phones and tablet PCs. Together with this rise, though, is the overwhelming influx of apps. While some claim that only incredibly slick ones run on branded devices, there are those that are nowhere near sophisticated enough, yet attracts just as many users.

This little fact leads us now to these questions: how come some apps miss the target? In what areas do they fall flat? Listed below are the Top 5 factors that keep mobile apps from becoming a hit.

Undefined target market.

Some developers are so caught up in their big ideas that they tend to go straight to creating apps without doing mobile market research. They allow their app to hit the development stage with zero user research and feedback.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Alarm Clock by Rick WaaldersDribbble Tap to Like by Joey LomantoiPhone App Profile by Eric HoffmanSelf Checkout Concept App by Anton ReimertzVisual Stats by Jeremiah Shaw
Alarm Clock by Rick Waalders
Alarm Clock by Rick Waalders
Dribbble Tap to Like by Joey Lomanto
Dribbble Tap to Like by Joey Lomanto
iPhone App Profile by Eric Hoffman
iPhone App Profile by Eric Hoffman
Self Checkout Concept App by Anton Reimertz
Self Checkout Concept App by Anton Reimertz
Visual Stats by Jeremiah Shaw
Visual Stats by Jeremiah Shaw

Little to no visual appeal.

Focusing on the most advanced features is a good move, but this alone never guarantees success. Prospective customers almost always spend time on what first catches their attention, and fine-looking applications easily warrant instant download powers. An app has to be visually appealing, that even screenshots of its UI can wow even the snottiest techies.

Terrible functionality.

Apps are meant to help users; not burden. Therefore, when creating apps, simplicity is key. A number of developers get too involved with the aesthetic aspect that they blindly look right through its ease of use. To increase the functionality of your app, consider the urgency of sparing people the trouble of getting to know the basics of your masterwork. Proper understanding of the features will result in increased use of your app.

Wayne Pan: Don't just build a mobile app. Build a business.

Insufficient Promotion.

Think of how you are competing against a million other apps, and you will get a good grasp of how important it is to pump your marketing machine. Prior to their release, apps are promoted to establish a name, as well as introduce the overall value it has to offer. People then notice and get to evaluate its ability to deliver. If your marketing efforts are a bit weak, chances are, lesser people will be more likely to download your app, let alone use it regularly.

Not enough relevance.

There really is no point in creating and designing an app if it doesn’t come with a solid ability to solve problems. Similarly, if you’ve got a lengthy list of problems you’re guaranteeing to crack with your app, it stands to reason that it can’t entirely solve any of them. Boost your app’s relevance by sticking to one problem and really nailing it.

For your app to get to the top, always remember that the key is to have to set long-term goals. They shouldn’t just involve making money; they have to solve problems and add value to the users’ life.


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    • redfive profile imageAUTHOR

      Levy Tate 

      5 years ago from California, USA

      @geekdom: True, true. I don't think there's one great app that doesn't have the basics down. Cheers for reading!

    • redfive profile imageAUTHOR

      Levy Tate 

      5 years ago from California, USA

      @iguide: Agreed! So grateful for reviews, too, as they almost always spare me the brain pain from dealing with poor apps. I really don't mind spending a few dollars on apps, so long as they actually serve their purpose. Thanks heaps for reading!

    • redfive profile imageAUTHOR

      Levy Tate 

      5 years ago from California, USA

      @Mel: I get you! I've encountered such apps myself and deleted when I realised how much of a waste of space they are. Anyway, thanks for reading!

    • Geekdom profile image


      5 years ago

      Great tips. Crazy how what would seem like basic ideas are so easily overlooked.

    • iguidenetwork profile image


      5 years ago from Austin, TX

      These reasons are very true! If an app is a did by all means I quickly uninstall it. There are so much more options so we have to be quite discerning... Good thing there are reviews that help with our decision if we want to download an app or not. Thanks for the very informative hub ;)

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      5 years ago from San Diego California

      As an app user, I can't tell you how frustrated I get with apps that look slick but are difficult to master. If I can't get it in three minutes it's uninstalled. Great hub!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Top 5 Reasons Why Most Mobile Apps Fail well pointed out and a most helpful hub to App users.


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