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Mobile User Retention: The 5 Aspects of Apps Users Detest

Posted Feb 9, 2016

As mobile user retention becomes ever more critical for app publishers, so it is important to learn what users like— and dislike— to better accommodate and retain them. In this pursuit, a recent Business Insider report examined how the app download market will shift based on a study of 1,000 US mobile users. From the data, it is evident that there are 5 key frustrations with the mobile app experience.


Granted, some of the frustrations cited by the survey respondents are not within a singular publisher’s control. After all, the ease of toggling between apps is determined by a given device’s interface and OS.

Similarly, while 9% of the respondents reported not having enough access to everything they need, this could be a complaint more against the greater app ecosystem than the features of a given app. Likewise, the complaint by 11% of respondents that they have too many apps may be a signal that users would prefer to use fewer apps that offer more.

Thus, it is not surprising that industry analyst Jessica Smith suggests that these frustrations could open the door for umbrella app networks to thrive. In this scenario, publishers who are able to effectively leverage cross promotion between their apps will be poised for considerable user and retention growth.

Alas, the top two user complaints about the mobile app experience are areas every mobile publisher can work toward improving:  app performance and app size. Collectively, these variables are the top frustrations for 50% of all US mobile users. To improve apps in these areas, it is advisable for publishers to:

  • minimize SDK bloat to improve performance and reduce app size
  • consider streaming more app content instead of preloading it on the device

Obviously, implementing either of these changes to improve mobile user retention takes some time and effort. However, it would be a shame to lose a user because too many background SDKs are hogging system resources . . . or because a bloated size makes an app a prime target for deletion for users looking to free up drive space.

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