To stand out from the pack, digital disruptors and app developers have to understand people’s needs in order to eliminate friction points that might hinder their mobile experiences. This includes ensuring their mobile app journeys are seamless, and that people not only download an app, but also continue to use it. Any activity that influences or causes a consumer to abandon the mobile app during download or purchase is considered a source of friction.

Anticipate discovery friction

Any pain point that prevents people from finding out about an app is a cause of discovery friction. Overall, our research found that 82% of MES app users surveyed had experienced at least one friction point at the discovery stage, and on average 65% said they would consequently drop off.

Friction at discovery stage may happen due to an ad’s lack of cultural fit, or the app’s content and features being irrelevant to the audience. Irrelevant ads or offers ranked among the top three friction points in emerging markets Indonesia, India and Brazil. This friction did not appear among the top three in developed markets such as the US, the UK and Japan. In these developed markets, not being able to skip the ad ranked among the top three friction points. For any ad, it is important to deliver the right information to the targeted audience.

Consider install frictions

Install friction arises after a person has chosen the app and is trying to download it. Overall, 89% of mobile MES app users have experienced at least one friction point during this stage, and on average, 62% say they would consequently drop off from their journey.

Developers need to decide on the right balance between getting the information they may need without putting off the user by asking for too much. “Requests to access too much information from my phone,” ranked among the top two friction points in all markets except Indonesia. “Data and downloading speed” also ranked among the top friction points in India, Indonesia and Japan. In Brazil and Indonesia, the “app requiring phone to have high speed and performance” was ranked among the top three friction points. Install friction arises after an app has been chosen by the user.

Prevent post-install friction

The largest issue with friction begins after downloading has taken place. The post-install stage may be the most important for MES app developers to work on, because this is where people experience the most friction points in their journey. Our research shows that across the six countries studied, 46% of those surveyed reported deleting at least one MES app from their phones in the previous 3 months. Approximately 98% of users have experienced at least a single source of friction during this phase, and 62% consequently felt discouraged to even use the app.

“Finding the type of app not relevant” after downloading ranked among the top three friction points in all markets, with 1 in 3 people reporting experiencing this before. “Finding a better or similar app” ranked among the top 3 friction points in all markets except Japan. That’s why it is important to clearly state what the app is about and its key benefits in the app store description. Unique to Japan, “not understanding what the app does and what its functionality is” ranked as the top friction point. It is important for developers to not assume that people simply know what an app does and how to use it.

In developed markets like the UK and the US, “the app being difficult to use and navigate” ranked among the top three friction points, showing the importance of a simple and easy-to-use interface. Lastly, “payment system not looking safe” and “items and subscription costs too high” for what the app users are getting were the largest sources of in-app payment friction across all six markets.

Sources unless stated otherwise: “Zero Friction Future for Mobile App Users” by Facebook IQ (GfK-fielded survey of 2,400 people ages 18+: 400 per market in US, UK, JP, IN, BR, ID who indicated they have downloaded a media, entertainment and/or social media (MES) app in the prior three months), Jun 2018.