Apps are ubiquitous these days. Statista reports there were 178.1 million app downloads worldwide in 2017 and predicts that number will climb to 258.2 million annual downloads in 2022.
And they can be a tremendous asset for your brand. Creating an app can increase your exposure, improve customer engagement, boost brand recognition, and more.
But there’s a catch. For your app to be successful, it needs to provide real value and deliver a nearly flawless UX. Otherwise, it can end up doing more harm than good.
Here are some specific ways that poor app performance can adversely impact your company and tips for improving performance.
Let’s start with the most obvious issue—frustration and annoyance. Modern app users have some pretty high expectations for functionality and performance.
Issues like slow speed, freezes, crashes and heavy battery usage can quickly lead to frustration and seriously hurt the overall UX. Most people simply don’t have the patience for complications like these.
And this isn’t something you want to deal with. A study from Apigee found that 44 percent of users will delete an app immediately if it doesn’t perform as expected, and 38 percent will delete an app if it freezes for longer than 30 seconds.
People simply don’t want to be burdened by this type of thing. With many industries being heavily saturated with competition, most users won’t think twice about ditching an app with poor performance and downloading a different one instead.
After all, there are millions of apps to choose from.
Negative app reviews
While not true for everyone, a common reaction for many users who have experienced app issues is to leave a negative review expressing their dissatisfaction. Unfortunately, people who have a bad experience are more likely to leave a review than those who have a good one.
If left unchecked, poor app performance can result in a host of unsavory reviews and a lower app store rating. But just how big of a deal is this?
Apptentive performed a study in 2015 and found the following:
- 70 percent of people read at least one review before downloading an app
- 13 percent read at least seven reviews when considering a free app
- 33 percent read at least seven reviews when evaluating a paid app
- 75 percent identified reviews as a key driver for downloading an app
- 42 percent view app store reviews as equally or more trustworthy than personal recommendations
So there you have it. Reviews can essentially make or break you, and you can see how a string of negative reviews can lower public perception as well as your rating. This is problematic because it can create a vicious cycle where receiving negative reviews lowers your rating, which leads to fewer downloads.
Lower app store ranking
App stores look at several different factors when determining where to rank a particular app. Number of downloads, app starts, uninstalls and the number/value of reviews are some of the primary factors.
But it turns out that app performance now plays a considerable role as well. Sarah Perez of TechCrunch writes about how Google recently announced that it’s changing its Play Store so that high performing apps will outrank those with bugs and other performance issues.
This modification to the Google Play Store algorithm is intended to ensure that the best apps are promoted and receive more exposure than their poor performing counterparts.
And this makes sense. Why would they want to promote apps that are glitchy and prone to crashing?
So if your app is known for lacklustre performance, it’s likely to see a drop in its ranking within the Google Play Store and receive less exposure.
Bad User Experience
In today’s world, which is synonymous with technology, a robust web design is far more than a status symbol. Usability, content, and experiences – or the lack thereof – can seriously affect a business’ bottom line. There are real-world consequences for neglecting your website – but companies may not fully realize the extent of the damage.
What does your homepage look like at first glance? Our brains crave order and simplicity, and too much content, CTAs or images on one page will just increase the likelihood that a user will navigate away from your page.
The same thing comes with usability. Hubspot recently conducted a survey in which over 75% of respondents said that the most important characteristic of a website was its ease of use. Your users expect your app’s pages to seamlessly adapt to every screen, contain relevant information that is easy to access and be easy to scan.
If your business app is suffering from the “good ideas, bad execution” problem then it’s high time that these red flags killing your user experience should be pulled down.
Diminished brand equity
Put all of this together and you can pretty much bet that your brand equity is going to take a hit.
The aforementioned study by Apigee also found that 32 percent of users will tell their friends and colleagues how bad an app is, and 21 percent will complain about it on social media. If that person has a sizable following, you will have the equivalent of a smear campaign on your hands.
Needless to say, this isn’t going to do your reputation any favors. And this can be disastrous considering that perceived quality is a primary component of brand equity.
Even if your company is doing great in other areas, poor app performance can dilute everything you’ve worked for. All of a sudden formerly loyal customers start to think of you in a less favorable light.
In turn, some may feel compelled to take their business elsewhere, while prospects may be less likely to buy from you.
What do you get when you combine frustrated users, negative app reviews, a lower app store ranking, and diminished brand equity? Revenue loss.
It’s simple mathematics. Poor mobile performance equals a lower conversion rate, which translates into less profit. But what are the exact implications?
SOASTA performed a study that examined the correlation between mobile speed and conversions. Here are the highlights:
- A load time of 2.4 seconds resulted in the peak mobile conversion rate of 1.9 percent
- That number dropped to 1.5 percent when the load time was 3.3 seconds
- That number dropped even more to just 0.98 percent when the load time was 4.2 seconds
In other words, just a 1.8-second delay resulted in nearly a 1 percent drop in conversions—a substantial decline. While this won’t be the case for every app, it illustrates how conversions drop along with diminished performance.
And of course, as conversions decrease, so will revenue.
Improving app performance
When app performance isn’t up to par, it affects your company in a myriad of ways—none of which are good. So it’s clear that you’ll want to do everything within your power to optimize the UX and make it as seamless as possible.
While there are numerous elements that may need to be addressed, let’s discuss some strategies that should be at the top of your list.
Use an APM
An application performance monitoring (APM) system works just like it sounds. It allows you to monitor the performance of your app and quickly identify any issues that may arise. Besides that, you’ll have access to key performance metrics such as load time, which provides you with critical insights.
Whenever you spot a problem, you’ll know exactly what needs to be addressed. This is huge because it enables you to prevent a minor issue from escalating into a much larger one.
Add a load balancer
This is a device that serves as a reverse proxy server whose job is to distribute traffic across several different servers. Rather than placing the burden on particular servers, it balances out the load (as the name implies) to ensure an optimal user experience.
In turn, a load balancer helps increase the capacity, reliability as well as the security of your app.
Deliver personalized mobile experiences
When done well, advanced targeting enables engaging your audience with personalized mobile experiences. Reach your app’s potential by unifying all your promotions, widgets, creatives and content at one place while working across multiple platforms.
Creating actionable copy is a must when it comes to solidifying your brand’s reputation. And how can this be achieved? By experimenting retroactively with font, layouts, color, language, copy variations in real-time.
If you are struggling to convert new leads, the problem may lie with your virtual presence.
Addressing the problems with your app’s design can help improve your business outcomes and bring in new customers.
Get into the habit of testing
There are a nearly infinite number of variables that determine how well or poorly your app performs. Design, architectural complexity and network latency/bandwidth are just a few that come to mind.
Because you never know when something will get out of whack, it’s important that you perform routine testing. The goal here is to ensure that your app is performing as intended and that it’s fully compatible with different devices.
One of the more popular tools for doing this is Monkop, which offers “real performance analysis using real devices.” It’s quite simple. All you have to do is upload your .ipa for an iOS app or .apk for an Android app, and this tool will look for performance issues.
Visuals add to the aesthetics and overall appeal of an app, but they can also slow it down. The solution?
Compress images to reduce their file size without sacrificing the quality. Optimizilla is a great tool for doing this and is extremely easy to use. Simply upload image files (up to 20 at a time) and it will compress your images for you.
App performance and your bottom line
Although most companies recognize that a high performing app is important, they may not understand the full scope and just how significant it really is. When it comes to app performance, one issue can create another, which can lead to another, and so on.
So you really need to look beyond the obvious dilemma that it can annoy users. You need to see the big picture and realize those seemingly small frustrations can detract from the UX, which can create a long list of other issues.
Whether it’s negative reviews, lower rankings in app stores or revenue loss, poor app performance can rear its ugly head in a lot of different ways.
But by being aware of how your app is performing, tracking key metrics and striving for continual improvements, you can avoid falling into this trap and keep your app running like a well-oiled machine.
Which aspects of poor app performance do you find most frustrating? Please let us know:
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In-post image 1: Porapak Apichodilok / Pexels