We already knew that on average, we use six apps every day and download around twenty. Thanks to a barometer created by Open, EBG and Testapic (you can download it here), we developed a more comprehensive understanding of users’ habits and the reasons they might uninstall your app. Frenchweb have produced an overview of their study that you can read here. What can we learn from it and how can we increase an app’s lifespan ?

The barometer is clever because it directly compares all the of perspectives of users like you and me with those of professionals working in a variety of fields : luxury goods, cosmetics, banking, insurance, the media, the arts, consulting and services, transportation, travel, tourism, the automotive sector, etc.

This approach has shown that for users, the three main reasons for uninstalling an app are:

  1. Slow speed
  2. Intrusive ads
  3. Lack of interest

However, the professionals had a different view of what those reasons might be, ranking them as:

  1. Lack of interest
  2. Intrusive ads
  3. Poor services


App users prize speed

Professionals are aware that their app must offer a service with a high added value. However, they underestimate the importance of speed, which is the most important factor for users. There is of course a catch: the slow speed of an app is not necessarily a design issue, since it can be the result of a slow network connection. Informing the user of their poor network coverage means they will not necessarily associate your service and app with their connectivity issues. Slow speeds can also be the result of your app performing poorly on a particular type of smartphone; this is why it is so critical to test your app before launching it. It is not the user’s job to test the app for you. Here is an article on the importance of prototyping your mobile application.


Notifications in moderation

The barometer also indicated that users would be willing to receive more notifications from social networking, banking, media, transportation and public services apps. This more or less lines up with what professionals expected, though they included classified ads in their list and left out public services. Though users claim to be willing to receive more notifications, they also indicated that irrelevant notifications were a major reason for uninstalling an app. The way a notification is presented is another key element determining how well it is received.


Geolocation still underused

Another lesson from this barometer is that 64% of users say that the quality of an app can influence a brand’s image and 42% use an app as a credit card. For example, in the Starbucks app, the user is identified and can pay for their purchases without connecting to their bank account.

This study also examined what makes a mobile app successful. For users, it is above all :

  1. Innovation
  2. Original and unique features
  3. Continuity with other channels


Then come other criteria like use in off-line mode, choice of OS, user experience quality, update frequency and geolocation. Geolocation is still underused, probably in part because it considerably affects a phone’s battery life.

Users hope that within two years they will have access to more apps related to smart home automation, while professionals were leaning more towards mobile payments and smart devices. Interestingly, highly-publicized technologies like virtual reality glasses have not gained wide-spread support from either users or professionals.


The different takes of professionals and users

What can we learn from this? Users and professionals do not necessarily identify the same reasons an app might be uninstalled. The difference in their answers results in part from an imperfect understanding of users’ needs. Collecting data on app use and user profiles has yet to be perfected. Professionals pay particular attention to the quality of services and what they offer. While that is undoubtedly the cornerstone of any app, it is not the only one: users point out that speed is even more important. For more details on the issue, you can read this article about the importance of data for your app’s success.

This study also reveals that mobile apps are an extension of a brand’s Internet presence. Users expect apps to have a range of existing services, but with more interaction. Professionals must offer new experiences, provide unprecedented experiences, and encourage users to deepen their relationship with the brand.


c: istock/ Zhenikeyev