Why Does your Mobile App Fail to Scale

mobile app

Scalability is important to the success of any mobile app, and yet lots of promising new releases fall at this hurdle.

The key to avoiding this is understanding what common causes for failing to scale exist, so here’s the lowdown on the things that could be holding you back.

You aren’t tracking resource usage

App performance will take a nosedive if there’s a spike in user numbers and your underlying server infrastructure isn’t up to the task of accommodating them all.

You need to plan ahead for this by monitoring resource usage from day one, and tracking how this changes over time. That way you can plan to increase the capacity of your servers, whether hosted onsite or outsourced to a third-party provider so that growing demand isn’t bottlenecked by hardware limitations or network issues.

Your database is unoptimized

Let’s assume that your app is reliant on some form of database to function, in which case it has to be managed and monitored so that it can function flawlessly.

This means making use of indexing to speed up queries, as well as defragmenting or rebuilding them at regular intervals. It’s also about looking out for poorly written queries and keeping an eye on wait times to troubleshoot other issues.

Your approach to user acquisition isn’t up to scratch

If you plan to generate mobile game ad revenue in order to justify the expense of developing your app in the first place, you need to be aware of the importance of impactful user acquisition strategies.

This is more about not building the momentum that will lead to a scaling up of your user base over time, rather than the app’s inability to support larger volumes of users.

Harnessing tools to study user behavior in your app, and looking at where pain points might be in the current design, will let you fix issues and encourage more word-of-mouth recommendations for your software.

You also need to take marketing seriously, and push your app on social media platforms, as well as through SEO, to gain traction.

External APIs are holding you back

APIs are great for pulling data from other sources to be used as part of the functionality offered by your app. The problem is that this also means you’re limited not only by your own resources but also by the capabilities of this third-party interface.

Checking API performance regularly to ensure it’s fit for purpose, and also stress testing it in controlled conditions so that you can tell whether it will scale during peak periods, is useful in this context.

Device compatibility is imperfect

Modern apps need to be designed to run as smoothly as possible on as many different hardware and software permutations of user devices as can reasonably be encompassed by the development team.

This is challenging but can be made worse if you settle for less-than-ideal levels of performance and feature compatibility on certain configurations, on the assumption that offering a subset of your market something is better than locking them out altogether.

Poor first impressions and persistently bad user experiences are hard for an up-and-coming app to get over, so scalability should not come at the expense of this.

The bottom line

There are many facets to making an app scalable and saleable in the modern market. It’s a case of knowing what to look for and acting when something’s amiss, rather than only getting stuck when the pressure is really on. That way, your app can expand its reach without suffering growing pains.

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Cover Photo by Jonas Leupe on Unsplash

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