The Firebase guide to building stable, high-performing apps

Firebase header
Firebase header

This is an introduction to a three part blog post series on app quality exploring how to unlock app stability and app performance for the optimal app experience. Find links to the other articles at the end of this blog post.

Stability and performance are the core of every successful app_._ Fast, crash-free experiences encourage users to stay engaged and drive positive reviews. That’s why keeping a close eye on your app’s stability is crucial for competing in today’s thriving app marketplace.

Why quality matters

Users expect the best experience every time they interact with an app. And if bugs or latency issues get in the way, they’ll be quick to find a better option. Research has shown 88% of app users will abandon apps based on bugs and glitches. And within that group, 51% of users said they’d abandon an app completely if they experienced one or more bugs per day.

GIF showing number of users that will abandon an app and reasons why
GIF showing number of users that will abandon an app and reasons why

Not only is quality important to retaining users, but it’s important for attracting new users as well. If a large percentage of users are frustrated and your app store listing is filled with negative feedback about performance issues, you might have trouble acquiring new users.

In fact, 54% of users who left a 1-star review in the Play Store mentioned app stability and bugs.1

image showing why users leave one star reviews
image showing why users leave one star reviews

It’s no wonder that stability and performance are top areas of focus for developers. Our own Firebase research shows that a top need for developers is to obtain the tools and services that help them debug technical issues, trace issues back to changes in their code, and detect technical performance issues.

Identifying the right metrics

A large portion of the pre-launch development for a new app is spent squashing bugs and testing for potential issues. But getting your app ready for launch is just the first step — once it’s out in the world, maintaining your app’s health becomes an ongoing process as you create new features and iterate on previous versions.

It’s important to remember that app quality isn’t one-size-fits-all. Depending on the type of app and how you define success, you’ll want to prioritize the factors that are crucial for your business. With Firebase’s customized reporting tools and real-time insights, you can hone in on the metrics that matter most.

For instance, in a productivity app — where users want a clean, simple interface and the ability to use it on the go — slow response time and high error rates will cause many users to drop off. Conversely, users might tolerate a bit of lag between menu screens in a food delivery app. But if it crashes every time they reach the checkout screen, your in-app revenue is sure to suffer.

No matter what type of app you have, here are a few of the most notable quality metrics that successful apps get right:

  • App startup time: How long it takes from the moment a user opens your app to the moment they can use it.
  • Crash-free users: The percentage of unique users who don’t experience a crash over a selected time period.
  • Screen performance: Measures how a screen refreshes and updates for an app with a focus on key metrics such as frozen and slow frames
  • Network performance: Measures how network data is fetched onto a device including profile details, app data, streaming data, etc

Monitoring metrics like these can mean the difference between driving downloads and retaining satisfied users versus seeing churn and negative reviews from dissatisfied users.

Boosting app stability and performance with real-time insights

To stay ahead in such a dynamic app ecosystem, you need to know precisely where stability and performance issues occur in your app. In the next two blog posts of this series, we’ll spotlight two Firebase products that can help you detect crashes in your app and gather actionable insight about your app’s performance from a user’s perspective.