• Home
  • Blog
  • 9 Primary Causes of Mobile App Failures and Strategies for Prevention

9 Primary Causes of Mobile App Failures and Strategies for Prevention Agile Development

Oct 27, 2023 JIN

9 Primary Causes of Mobile App Failures and Strategies for Prevention

Among the 8.93 million mobile apps released, introducing a brand new app presents both an exhilarating opportunity and a formidable undertaking. Although undeniable possibilities exist in the mobile app world, it’s imperative to acknowledge that triumph isn’t guaranteed for every app. Numerous apps encounter initial setbacks due to varied, unexpected factors. With mobile apps becoming ever more interwoven into our everyday lives, providing solutions for connectivity, organization, and productivity, the competition has intensified to unprecedented levels.

The statistics are striking—Google Play and Apple App Store collectively host over 5.7 million applications, with mobile app revenue projected to soar to $201 billion by 2023, boasting a remarkable year-over-year growth rate of 19.5%. Moreover, consumer app spending is anticipated to exceed a staggering $270 billion by 2025, according to a report conducted by Zippia. These numbers have proven the mobile apps market is graciously overflowing with demand, and consumer spending has not reached its peak yet.

That’s why thousands of apps are entering this prosperous market monthly to try wiggling into such a highly competitive industry. Many have succeeded in making their names known, while others are struggling to come to terms with their failures. As you might not know, numerous unsuccessful apps exist for every globally renowned success story today. Whether you’re an experienced app developer or new to the mobile app development landscape, especially for those seeking to enhance their app’s chances in today’s fiercely competitive market, today’s blog is dedicated to y’all!

The effort and meticulousness invested in development can decide whether a mobile app succeeds or fails badly. Before launching any products, walk through the following key factors contributing to app failures to avoid going the same route. By grasping and proactively addressing these common pitfalls, you can significantly enhance the prospects of your mobile app to achieve its initial objectives.


Mobile technology's role in business has evolved, and the success of mobile apps hinges on careful development and addressing common pitfalls to enhance their chances of success.

1. Insufficient market and audience research

Envisioning user enthusiasm for your software is straightforward, but can you substantiate your assumptions? Have you thoroughly examined the market landscape and scrutinized your competitors’ strategies?

When crafting mobile applications, it’s essential to wrap your mindset around different types of users and their reactions to your products. Since people have different tastes, making an app that pleases everyone is somewhat out of line. Therefore, developing an app without proper research and a clear understanding of your desired target audience is putting you up for absolute failure.

Then, how do you precisely discern what to develop for your users? How can you meet and surpass their needs, outshining your competitors?

How to deal with this:

Shift your focus away from solely chasing rapid sales and contemplate how you can offer your customers something meaningful, entertainment, knowledge, or valuable service.

When you bring a new product to the market, it’s crucial to follow a step-by-step process that involves testing your assumptions about how customers will use it and what it offers. Staying adaptable is essential for consistently meeting customer needs and keeping their interest over time.

The narrower your target audience, the less arduous the task of identifying interested buyers for your products might be. Consider crafting a minimum viable product that encompasses essential features to address a specific problem for a select group of users, making it accessible to the broader public and continuously improving and further advancing it over time.

2. Wrong Platform

At times, mobile app developers must make strategic choices, weighing the benefits against the costs of developing an app for each mobile platform.

Take, for example, the contrasting user expectations between Android and Apple devices, where Android users rely on a hardware-based back button, a feature not present in Apple products. Neglecting to account for such platform-specific nuances can significantly detract from the overall user experience.

Moreover, optimizing app performance across a diverse landscape of devices, networks, and operating systems can present formidable challenges. Instances where an app runs seamlessly on one Apple device, like an iPhone, but encounters issues on another, such as an iPad, can lead to user frustration.

How to manage this:

Taking into account platform distinctions is paramount when developing for multiple platforms. Ineffectively addressing these differences can result in user frustration. Given that the average user typically decides within a minute whether an app is worth their time, even minor inconveniences can spell significant failures.

3. Confusing UI and User experience

If your software isn’t user-friendly for your target audience, it may discourage potential users from downloading it. For instance, older individuals might struggle with small buttons on your user interface. Improving the usability of your controls by offering bigger buttons can make quite a practical turn in perking up the overall user interactions, stretching your app’s target audience margin a bit wider.

Designing an app encompasses more than just aesthetics. The app’s success hinges on crafting a user experience that is both user-friendly and user-centric, with easy navigation and thoughtful design. There are several factors to consider in shaping the user experience, including:

  • Easy-to-use and efficient navigation
  • Skillful use of icons and typography
  • Robust search functionality
  • Responsive actions

Understanding your diverse user base’s unique needs and behaviors is a must. Remember that conducting usability tests with members of your target demographic can significantly benefit your app and your comprehension of user interface design requirements.

How to battle this:

  • Effective UX design strives to develop solutions that not only satisfy the requirements of both clients and users but also function smoothly within the technical platform’s constraints.
  • Users are more likely to keep using the app if the simple signup process and the login forms are easily reachable.
  • Ensure the login screen remains clean and prominently visible to give visitors straightforward access.

4. Communication gaps between App Developers and Designers

Design is the hallmark of differentiating an excellent mobile app from a truly outstanding one. While the core functionality defines what a particular piece of software can do, users appreciate visually appealing programs.

It can be frustrating for developers when they have a brilliant concept but have to abandon it just because the design team cannot contribute creatively due to the lack of communication and understanding between the two. The development of mobile apps should be a collaborative effort.

How to knock this out:

Thorough documentation, complete with relevant images, is essential when introducing a brand-new software product. This documentation should cover an app wireframe, a comprehensive list of features, and a narrative explaining the app’s functionality.

In most instances, an experienced developer will expect to receive these materials from the product owner. In return, the design team, agency, or developer can provide valuable insights to enhance the app development process based on the original idea. The developer and designer can salvage the project by proactively addressing any necessary changes.

This initial conversation will also give the product owner insight into the developer’s communication style, helping determine if it aligns with their preferences.

5. Improper Testing

Failing to conduct adequate mobile app testing before releasing your app can render all your hard work—research, design, and coding—in vain. It can also potentially damage your brand’s reputation if the app becomes trapped in a cycle of endless updates or ceases to function altogether.

According to a survey conducted by Blancco Technology Group, 58% of iOS-based smartphones encounter performance issues, such as app crashes or component failures (BTG). While the importance of testing is indisputable, it’s worth noting that users discover 44% of these issues. Another 24% are identified through direct user feedback, with 20% coming from online user reviews in app stores.

While it’s uncommon for an app to be completely free of minor issues at launch, comprehensive pre-release testing is vital to minimize the risk of significant problems. Without thorough testing, an app becomes vulnerable to flaws that can significantly disrupt the user experience and consequently result in crashes.

Remember, every single crash counts. Even a single crash can dissuade users from continuing to use the app, and crashing apps are frequently cited in negative reviews on app stores. As a result, a growing number of bad reviews can spell the downfall of your app.

How to fix this:

When conducting thorough testing across different facets of a mobile application, it’s important to have a dedicated team of quality assurance experts and testers following a foolproof structured testing procedure to maximize the readiness of your application for the market.

6. Insufficient Funding

The financial aspect is a common concern during app development. Having a clear grasp of the total cost of your mobile app and acknowledging that app development demands continuous investment, as your app grows and accumulates value, it will require ongoing financial support.

Gauging how frequently businesses deplete their funds before reaching a point of generating revenue is challenging. Still, it happens often enough that numerous companies are devising innovative app financing methods to address these financial gaps.

If you lack technical expertise, conduct extensive market research before selecting an app developer. Quality should always be your top priority. Simply having a mobile app for your business is insufficient, and you are aiming too low; setting your mobile app up to an accomplishment and high-quality crafted mobile app is the way to go.

How to unknot this:

When embarking on the development of a mobile app, initiating a cost strategy upfront right from the outset, including:

  • Defining your anticipated budget.
  • Assessing your current financial stability and whether it can sustain the entire development process.
  • Preparing for contingencies in case unexpected issues arise.

7. Improper Marketing

While the developer is responsible for crafting your software, it falls upon the business owner to assume the marketing mantle. A well-thought-out marketing plan is where an app can genuinely showcase its potential. If you neglect to implement one to save the extra bucks, you cannot hold the app solely accountable.

Regrettably, many mobile app developers forgo investing in app promotion. Recognizing that without active promotion, their software will remain hidden from the audience, resulting in a limited user base.

How to deal with this:

Adhere to a well-crafted marketing strategy to propel your mobile app to the finish line. Utilize social media marketing and collaborate with other businesses to effectively convey your app’s value over three months to a year, at least or even more, depending on your budget.

Before the app’s official release, create opportunities for users to discover and discuss its features, especially those that expedite goal attainment. Boosting user adoption and downloads will contribute to the app’s overall success.

8. Inadequate Monetization Strategy

Many individuals hold the misconception that when they embark on designing an application, they will:

  • Design and develop the app.
  • Promote it.
  • Attract a steady stream of new and returning clients.
  • Achieve rapid wealth.

Mobile app failures are often attributed to factors such as a lack of innovation, essential features, a fuzzy target audience, subpar development, or poor usability, all of the elements we have unlocked above.

However, the most prevalent cause of financial failure for mobile apps lies in the need for effective monetization strategies.

Even with a well-executed design, development, and marketing effort, an attractive monetization plan remains unquestionably critical to the app’s survival rate. The absence of such a plan can make each subsequent step an uphill battle. A steady flow of revenue generated from app monetization facilitates smoother progress.

How to deal with this:

There are no limitations when selecting a monetization strategy for your app. You can incorporate as many revenue-generation methods as your development budget allows. However, each methodology may require the integration of specific modules within your app and might affect its overall performance. Proceed with great caution and continuous software quality assurance tests are recommended.

Here are a few common monetization strategies:

  • Premium app sales
  • In-App Advertising
  • Freemium model
  • Subscription model
  • In-App Store
  • Vanity products and services
  • Newsletter promotions

While premium applications can generate revenue, free download apps often perform more effectively overall. Interestingly, over 90% of premium applications receive fewer than 500 downloads daily.

The income generated per user from premium apps could be much higher. A well-designed Free-to-Play (F2P) or Freemium model offers greater flexibility and avoids such limitations.

9. Lack of Customer support

Inadequate customer service on mobile devices often stems from a lack of meaningful interaction with app users. Obviously, poor customer service for mobile apps can undermine financial investments in app development and promotion.

Brands should prioritize patience while delivering a positive customer experience, making the value of their customer’s time and money worthwhile. How a company handles challenging situations can determine whether it cultivates short-term customer loyalty or faces turnover.

How to tackle this:

Expand your range of customer service tools to ensure users can easily access support when needed. Ensure the customer service portal is easily discoverable, seamlessly integrated into the main interface, and enables users to initiate live chats or connect through various communication channels. Don’t keep your customers hanging for too long.

Developing a Mobile App that is here to stay

That’s a tough job!

Everything can go sideways at any given time without any explicit warning signs. Efficient coding and adaptability should be ingrained in your software, enabling you to adhere to schedules and budget limitations. Precise evaluation and strategic planning of your team’s capabilities are fundamental for a well-prepared mobile app development process.

Much like the guidance provided in this blog, several mobile app development services offer expert assistance. Collaborating with a reputable mobile app development company can help ensure your product thrives on platforms like Google Play or Apple App Stores. With their support, your vision can become a reality, and your app can find its place in the competitive landscape of mobile technology.


Stay in touch with Us

What our Clients are saying

  • We asked Shift Asia for a skillful Ruby resource to work with our team in a big and long-term project in Fintech. And we're happy with provided resource on technical skill, performance, communication, and attitude. Beside that, the customer service is also a good point that should be mentioned.

    FPT Software

  • Quick turnaround, SHIFT ASIA supplied us with the resources and solutions needed to develop a feature for a file management functionality. Also, great partnership as they accommodated our requirements on the testing as well to make sure we have zero defect before launching it.

    Jienie Lab ASIA

  • Their comprehensive test cases and efficient system updates impressed us the most. Security concerns were solved, system update and quality assurance service improved the platform and its performance.