In a recent survey of over 2,000 mobile app users, CleverTap (a mobile marketing platform) asked users their main reason for uninstalling mobile apps and found the top reasons were:
- They no longer use the app
- Limited storage space
- Too much advertising
From the results of this survey, they were able to get to the root causes of a rise in app uninstalls.
Why Are People Uninstalling Apps?
No app is safe. People uninstall apps every day for a number of reasons.
Perhaps their reasons for uninstalling are legitimate (despite your best intentions).
For example, a security breach compromised trust and therefore resulted in a lost user. Other times, their reasons for uninstalling apps may be out of your mobile marketing team’s hands. For example, limited storage space.
The time horizon for user engagement may differ from app to app. Travel apps, for example, are not likely to have daily active users since travel is typically a less frequent occurrence. This is a likely explanation for why travel apps experience one of the highest uninstall rates across industries: 35% of users churn within 2 weeks.
The obvious goal of most apps is to remain relevant enough to warrant the consumed storage space, but really, maintaining user engagement should be a top priority as our survey results indicate.
39% of People Uninstall Because They No Longer Use The App
The app isn’t “sticky” enough.
Overwhelmingly, users are uninstalling apps because they simply do not use the product. This could mean your engagement and retention efforts are ineffective or signal bigger problems with the value proposition.
Stickiness, like virality in marketing, is something that can be encouraged but is not predictable with any degree of accuracy. If your DAU (Daily Active Users) to MAU (Monthly Active Users) ratio is on the decline, meaning daily active users are returning with less frequency, this could be a warning sign of an upcoming rise in uninstalls.
28% of People Uninstalled Apps Because of Too Many Ads and Notifications
By now, you might think most people have accepted the unspoken agreement that freemium products are available in exchange for receiving advertisements. Although people have come to expect mobile apps to be free, they seem to have become more sensitive to advertisements.
But let’s face it, this sensitivity could be a result of invasive and aggressive advertising tactics.
Ad-blocker software, or worse, user churn, are consequences of too many advertisements. In fact, over 15% of respondents specifically cited too many advertisements as the main reason for uninstalling apps.
TIP: First, consider how advertisements will interrupt the user experience and work around those critical bottlenecks. Track conversion rates and reactions triggered by advertisements and push notifications.
20% of People Uninstall Apps Due to Limited Storage Space
It might not come as a surprise to learn that storage is a constraint for many smartphone users, since the average smartphone has 35 apps installed. You may even have first-hand experience with those iOS “Storage Almost Full” and Android “Storage Space Running Out” notifications.
Women were more likely to uninstall apps due to limited storage space. In fact, 59% of respondents who chose “Limited storage space” as the main reason for uninstalling apps were women.
TIP: The average app consumes 38MB of space. Try to keep your app below this baseline average without compromising production quality. Using software best practices, for example code minification, can help reduce content load speed and data provided by your app.
11% of Users Removed Apps for Technical Issues or Confusion
Although technical issues, such as bugs and app crash reports, are a near inevitability for software products, they should not be common enough to warrant uninstalls in droves. Over 5% of respondents reported technical issues as the main reason they uninstall apps.
TIP: One way to mitigate the risk of technical issues is to insist on rigorous software testing and a lengthy beta test before launching at full scale. Since testing won’t eliminate bugs entirely, especially as new features are released, focused attention on your mobile app analytics and crash reports can provide insight into what’s causing technical issues.
Everyone has likely encountered a piece of software that was confusing to use, whether it was the first attempt at using Snapchat’s “intuitive” UI or navigating a government website.
You might assume an older generation (65+) would have the most confusion when using mobile apps, but another age cohort proved more likely to report removing apps because they were confusing to use: 25-34 year-olds.
In fact, 24% of those who responded “confusing to use” were 25-34 years old, while only 21% were 65 years old or older.
The reasons for app uninstalls are plentiful. You might even have received feedback from users that they uninstalled your app for a reason that was not included above.
If you want to keep your users engaged and your app installed on their phone, here are a few tips for you to consider moving forward, to recap:
- Use caution with advertisements and push notifications to avoid overwhelming users.
- Track conversion rates and reactions triggered by advertisements and push notifications.
- Implement rigorous software testing and lengthy beta tests.
- Monitor crash reports to uncover technical issues.
- Proactively collect user feedback through in-app surveys and polls.
Full infographic with findings:
PS. Push notifications are effective if you use them properly. First, show the value of your app before even asking about notification permission. Second, don’t overdo it. Send them not too often, and make them useful. If you start feeling too spammy, you risk notification permission removal, and there’s no way back from that.