The mobile app industry is a very competitive space, and it takes a lot of hard work and innovation for an app to succeed. Development teams face constant pressure to push through aggressive feature development roadmaps in their efforts to outperform the competition. But sometimes you can get too focused on shipping your app’s next big feature and lose track of the big picture.
Mobile apps were already an important part of our lives before COVID came along but in a post-COVID world, they have become an indispensable tool in our personal and professional lives. In fact, mobile usage has swelled by 20% compared to pre-pandemic levels to hit four hours and ten minutes a day on average. And as people become reliant on mobile apps for their lives to function, their expectations from mobile apps grow at a matching pace.
As the app industry continues to grow and mature, people are no longer content with useful and innovative features alone. Users now expect those features not just to work, but to work flawlessly and they will no longer tolerate poor performance from an app. Especially when there are probably a bunch of other apps that do the same thing.
It is now more important than ever that you consider your users' actual experience in your app and how your app’s overall performance impacts it.
Traditionally, when app developers decided to pause building features to focus on their technical debt, that meant fixing bugs and crashes. This is an obvious starting point but a great one nonetheless since crashes are definitely devastating for the app’s user experience.
In fact, according to a 2015 study by Dimensional Research, 80% of users say they will give a crashing app three chances or less before they abandon it. And when faced with an app that regularly crashes or freezes, 53% of users uninstalled the app, 37% stopped using it, and 28% looked for a replacement.
Wayfair, a home-furniture and building materials e-commerce app, found that crashes on their mobile app led to an average of 89% loss of revenue per user experiencing a crash.
But although a great starting point, crashes are just one part of your app’s overall experience and performance. If an app has a 99+% crash-free session rate but suffers from slow loading times and an unresponsive UI, the result will still be a poor overall experience for its users.
Consider that the same study found that when faced with an app that regularly had slow performance, 48% uninstalled the app, 33% stopped using it, and 32% looked for a replacement. This essentially means that from a user perspective, a slow-performing app is just as bad as a regularly crashing one.
Keep in mind that for users, the bar for good performance can be quite high, with the same study finding that 49% of users expect apps to respond in 2 seconds or less.
And these increased user expectations don’t seem to stop growing. According to a 2021 study by AppDynamics, 76% of people say their expectations of digital services have increased, with 93% of them expecting reliable and consistent performance. Notably, this is a 49% increase compared to 2019.
When apps fail to meet user expectations, their response is usually swift and decisive. Not only does it translate to increased user churn as mentioned earlier, but according to Dimensional Research’s 2015 study, 55% of users will hold your app responsible for the poor performance (not their device or network) and 37% will think less of your brand.
Fast forward to 2021, and you can see that this too follows an increasing trend. According to AppDynamics, in 2021, 68% of people believe it is downright disrespectful to users when brands offer a poor digital experience.
Moreover, according to the same survey, 63% of users actively try to discourage others from using a service or brand if they have a bad digital experience. And it seems to be working too, with the same study finding that 66% would avoid trying a brand known for delivering a poor digital experience.
Users might have high expectations when it comes to app performance, but they are also prepared to reward apps that manage to meet these standards accordingly. In fact, AppDynamics’s 2014 study found that 30% of users would spend more money with an organization that had a good mobile app and 29% would pay more for a product or service if the app performed better than its competitors.
And five years later, in the 2019 edition of the same study, the percentage of users willing to pay more for an app that outperforms its competition grew to 50%.
A good example is ALDO, where they discovered that mobile users who experienced fast rendering times bring 75% more revenue than the average and 327% more revenue than users who experience slow render times.
In the words of 68% of mobile app users, it is disrespectful to your users when your app delivers a poor digital experience. Getting rid of app crashes is and should remain a high priority, but optimizing your app's launch and load times, and its responsiveness should share that priority. Highly-performant apps simply deliver a better user experience, delight their users, increase their loyalty, and make them want to do more business with them. We've established that app performance is important to business objectives, but how can you optimize it? A great mobile user experience begins with an effective app performance management strategy and an app performance monitoring tool that gives you complete visibility into performance issues and sends you alerts as soon as they arise.
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