Your app is dead: Why you’re losing users and revenue without even knowing it

Kontagent Kaleidoscope provides insightful editorials and thought-provoking articles on mobile, web, social and big data analytics.

First-Time User Experience Money - KontagentThe mobile market is incredibly competitive. With over 20,000 apps released monthly in Apple’s App Store alone, getting customers to notice your mobile offering can be tough and expensive. But what can be even harder is getting them to use it more than once.

Let’s face it, most of your customers are either not using your app—or worse, uninstalling it altogether. How do we know? Because data doesn’t lie. Research shows that up to 90 percent of apps are deleted after only one use.

This tells us a couple of things. The first is that mobile customers are unforgiving. If your app can’t “wow” them on first impression, it’s probably headed to the trash or, in the best case, will sit forgotten on their smartphones.

But more importantly, the second fact this reveals is that you’re not just losing users, you’re also potentially losing hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars in revenue. And that’s not an exaggeration.

Profit in the app world is a numbers game dictated largely by your app users. Theoretically, the more you have, the more money you can make. Take freemium apps for example. Generally, conversion rates range from one to 10 percent. If you had one million users and were able to convert 10 percent into paying users all monetizing at $5 each, you’d rake in about $500,000. Pretty good, right?

First-Time User Experience App Revenue - Kontagent

Optimizing your app’s FTUE can result in significance bumps in revenue and retention.

But imagine if you were able to retain the 90 percent of customers that stopped using your app after the first try. Theoretically, that’d mean that the total number of users you could potentially convert into paying customers would be 1.9 million. Employing the same conversion and monetization rates as before, you could possibly bump your revenue to $950,000—nearly double your original earnings.

However, the question is: How do you retain this missing 90 percent? The answer is simple. You need to fix whatever is turning them off your app in the first place and that starts with optimizing your first-time user experience (FTUE).

Why customers leave your app

In order to find out how to prevent customers from dumping your app, you need to understand why they’re leaving in the first place. While your initial impulse may be to jump in and tinker with your app’s core mechanics, try to resist this urge. If your customers aren’t returning after only one use, they probably haven’t gone very deep yet.

But don’t get us wrong, there could be something wrong with your app’s main functions. However, chances are if your customers are abandoning your app early, whatever is turning them away is coming up much sooner in your app experience.

This is why it’s important to dissect and measure your app’s FTUE. By seeing how your customers first progress through your app, and more importantly, where and when they leave, you’ll be able to pinpoint the exact feature and/or screen that caused them to drop off—and fix it.

Common FTUE mistakes

Ignoring your app’s FTUE is a critical mistake you don’t want to make. Not only does it mean lost revenue, but also reduced customer engagement, loyalty and market share. These concepts go hand-in-hand and when one drops, so do the others.

These are some of the most common reasons for early mobile customer churn:

  • Complex registration process
    Up to 56 percent of users won’t sign up for an app if the registration process is too complicated. That’s because mobile users want to get into apps quickly and an overly complex registration process can seem like a barrier.
  • Bad login experience
    Getting users to log in to your app is great for gathering targeted behavioral data, but if logging in isn’t a fast and fluid experience for your customers, they’ll leave it for good. Half of all mobile customers state they’ve stopped using an app because logging in was too long or difficult.

  • Buggy application
    Mobile customers have a very low tolerance for unstable apps and nothing can turn them away faster than crashes and buggy interfaces. Which is why over 80 percent of users will delete an app after it fails more than once.

It’s important to remember that the factors above aren’t the only reasons customers will quit an app early. After all, every app is different and the problems in your app’s FTUE might not always be apparent. Which brings us back to our original question: How do you fix it?

Fixing your app’s FTUE funnel

Catching problems in your app’s FTUE can be simple as long as you have the right tools and expertise. That’s where Kontagent’s kSuite platform can help.

When comparing the ROI of an app that has an optimized FTUE against one without, the difference is huge. As stated earlier, depending on the size of your app’s customer base you could be losing hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars by ignoring your app’s FTUE. Using Kontagent, mobile companies have been able to double their customer retention and increase downstream revenue by optimizing their FTUE.

But where do you begin? The process starts with applying Kontagent to your app’s FTUE funnel. The FTUE funnel itself can essentially be broken down into two stages:

  1. Launch and registration

  2. Usage

Launch and registration

The launch and registration stage is where customers first interact with your app after discovering and installing it. The timeline of events here can vary from app to app, but typically it starts with users creating an account, logging in and completing your app’s tutorial.

This is a crucial phase in the FTUE funnel because it’s where most of the problems that can cause your customers to delete your app for good actually appear.

Kontagent lets you monitor valuable metrics, such as time spent on each page, backtracking between screens, app quitting and more. This data is important because it can tell you where users are bottlenecking and reveal potential bugs or other points of friction that may cause users to abandon your app.

Kontagent kSuite Customer Retention Chart

Kontagent lets you breakdown your app’s retention rates and understand what drives users to come back.

For instance, if customers are leaving after connecting their Facebook account to their login credentials, it may mean there’s a bug that’s causing your app to crash. Or it could be that users are reluctant to share their social network information on their first visit. Regardless of the cause, Kontagent lets you discover the reasons behind these anomalies early and fix them before it’s too late.

kSuite FTUE Tutorial Completion - Kontagent

Kontagent lets you monitor, predict and improve app tutorials completion rates.

Generally, your goal in this stage is to get users to finish your tutorial. That’s because on average, customers who complete app tutorials are much more likely to monetize than those who don’t. Kontagent makes it simple to monitor this information—letting you track, forecast and increase tutorial completion rates.


Usage is the next stage in the FTUE funnel. It’s where your customers finally interact with your app’s core functionalities for the first time. The type of usage here can vary wildly across apps. For instance, a game developer, like King or Kabam, would be concerned with metrics related to difficulty balancing, whether users completed the first few levels and so on. On the other hand, a financial services company, like Citibank or Bank of America, would probably be more interested in getting customers to adopt mobile bill pay, account management and other features vital to acclimating users to mobile banking.

Regardless of your industry, Kontagent lets you track every action your customers take within your app. You’ll know when they enter and leave, the time it takes for them complete certain actions, and everything in between. The kSuite platform allows you to see your app through the eyes of your users and use all of this data to perfect your app’s FTUE.

FTUE App Custom Events Funnel - Kontagent

The kSuite platform lets you define custom events within your FTUE funnel and track when users complete them.

The mobile app landscape is only going to get bigger and more competitive as time goes on. As more companies enter the market, you’re going to need every advantage you can get to edge out your rivals. And ignoring your app’s FTUE is a million dollar mistake you can’t afford to make.

Don’t leave easy money on the table.

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