Is your app losing users? These 7 reasons may be why

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It is quite common that your app is losing active users. Most of the apps experience that, as according to the statistical data, on average, apps lose 77 % daily active users (DAU) within three days after installation.

Average retention of apps in the Google Play store. Source: Quettra

As many as 90 % users leave the app within a month and only 5 % DAUs will still be using it after 90 days. There may be several reasons for that. However, the solution is not to support marketing activities, but to support the quality of the product (app). What is it you should focus on?

1. App does not provide any instant value

The users expect the mobile apps to be different than web or mobile sites. They do not want to search for information on your company or its products, but to satisfy their need as soon as possible. That is the reason why the apps are so popular and what distinguishes them from classic mobile websites.


Have a look at the successful and popular apps people have been using regularly. In few clicks, Uber will transport you from one place to another, Viamo makes money transfers much easier and Foursquare will recommend the best restaurants in the area.

2. App is trying to combine several features

One could assume that the more feature an app has, the more likely it is it will be popular, as the users do not have to open other apps. In an ideal world, this could work. However, the reality is different, as too many options tend to discourage people.

Too many features lead to chaotic user environment and problems at decision-making. The most popular apps use clear action commands which direct the users to specific features.


The more options you give people, the harder it is for them to choose. As a result, they go shopping somewhere else. 21 % of users have never returned to the app after the first start.

3. App looks not trustworthy

Smartphones and computers have become a common part of our lives. This is only natural, as we have personal information, numbers and messages, as well as images and passwords stored in them.

Thus, people pay great attention to what they install on their device. If your app needs full access to the contacts, e-mails or social media account administration, this may be why so many are reluctant to use it.


What to do not to discourage people who have already installed your app? Do not ask for their registration or personal data immediately after the first start – it is better to wait until they get familiar with the app.

However, if you need the registration and basic user information from the beginning, ask for them without interrupting the process of adaptation to the new service. In the beginning, ask only for the necessary data and ask for the rest at later stages.

Instead of a classic registration form, use the social media registration. However, remember not to ask for user registration without providing any value in return.

4. App does not have good user onboarding

The first impression is critical for user retention. People use it to decide on apps, as they do in most life situations. The first impression may be influenced by several aspects (graphical environment, control elements etc.).

The positive first impression may be supported by good user onboarding process. The starting tutorial may make the newcomers familiar with the main features of the app, increasing the probability of them getting engaged and use the app on.

Tutorial GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

The style of onboarding you select for your app depends on its purpose. In order to get the users moving, all it needs may be simple presentations of the main features of the app.

At more complex apps and games, select a progressive approach at user onboarding, making the users familiar with the app and its gestures on a gradual basis – based on the previous experience or the user role they have in the app.

When creating an onboarding guide, you can get inspired by onboarding of the Slack, Canva, and Evernote apps. At the same time, avoid the frequent user onboarding mistakes we have presented in a separate article.

5. App is not intuitive

Users may get discouraged also by illogical gestures. Control of your app should be based in natural habits or usability recommendations of the apps.

Google and Apple have their own instructions for creating user interfaces. Your app may look and work the same as many, but you will be sure that people will not get confused when using it.

However, if you insist on own creative user interface and controls, invest enough time into the testing stage. Create an app testing version and watch whether the people are able to use it.

Among the popular usability measuring tools to make the testing of your app much easier, there are Hotjar or CrazyEgg. They will allow you to see how the people are getting around in the app and identify which elements and gestures are among the problematic ones.


6. App sends too many notifications

According to the Appiterate Survey, this is the most frequent reason why people uninstall the app right away. However, this does not mean the notifications are bad and one should avoid them entirely.

Similarly to user onboarding, right timing and content relevance is the key.

As many as 71 % of the users stop using apps due to frequent notifications.
Source: App Samurai

Notifications and e-mail messages can improve the user engagement with the app. Therefore, they are one of the best accessory tools of user onboarding.

There are no general recommendations for “good” notifications. You need to watch what notifications people react to better or worse.

According to recommendations at the App Samurai web site, however, you can test the notifications viewed based on the user location or segmentation. It is also assumed that people will respond better to notifications with short text and favourable offers.

7. App contains adverts

People are able to tolerate adverts in apps. They realize that thanks to those, they do not need to pay for the apps. However, if you make the advert intensity high and place the adverts in improper sections of the app, you may lose even more tolerant users quickly.

Avoid adverts which are not relevant to the users of your app. Already when designing the app think of in which parts of it the adverts will be shown and that there should not be more adverts than the app contents.

Zobrazenie reklamy na Instagrame. Zdroj: Instagram

One of great examples of working with adverts is the Instagram app, as its adverts look like the rest of the contents. Thus, often, users do not realize they are responding to paid advertisement and not the post itself.


If you want your new users to start using your service actively, have a look at the app from their perspective.

If you have noticed at least one of the 7 above mentioned defects, focus on removing them and provide another reason for your users to use the app regularly.


Number of downloads may be interesting, but the number of active users is much more relevant.

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