Why And How Often Should You Update Your App?
So your mobile app is now built and available in the app stores. Users are downloading it, using it and you are receiving feedback from happy clients. But what’s next?
The journey has just begun! It is now time to think about maintenance for your app (if you haven’t already) and about the next versions (iterations).
But how often should you update your application and why?
Why Is It Important To Update Your App
The app market is constantly evolving. The expectations of apps keep getting ratcheted higher and higher. New technologies are emerging and operating systems are being improved.
If you don’t want your app to appear tired, obsolete or dead, you should take care to update it regularly. And, by the way, regular updates are a great way to keep users interested and engaged.
Here are the most common reasons why you should update your application:
#1 People love novelty
People love new features in their apps so you should regularly offer your users interesting and helpful app updates. Plus, by updating your app, you have a great excuse to send pop-up notifications to show your users that you care about their requirements.
#2 Remove or replace everything that has lost relevance
Mobile apps get outdated over time. This is inevitable due to the constant evolution of mobile tech. It’s important to select any old and unnecessary elements and remove or replace them with new, up to date features or information that meets the users’ needs.
#3 Date of last update
#4 Improvement of the user experience
Improvements, based upon user feedback, mean that the app is always providing greater utility to the user. The app becomes more relevant, more engaging and more useful. The more closely aligned the app is to audience requirements, the more it will be used and the more revenue it will generate.
#5 Increase Downloads
Constant maintenance positively impacts the rating of the mobile app in the markets. This makes it easier for users to find and more likely to be downloaded.
So, summarizing: your app needs to be updated to keep it on top. But what is the recommended frequency of app updating?
How Often Should You Update Your App
As mentioned, applications are more valued when they are updated frequently. Not only by customers but also by Apple Store and Google Play.
But be aware! Excessive updates can result in user fatigue. Even though users like to see fresh updates and features on their favorite apps, getting update notifications too frequently can get tiring. The frequency of updates greatly depends on users’ feedback and app performance statistics.
We can talk about three different new release strategies…
- regular updates: there is a planned, periodic sequence of new releases
- out of necessity: bug fixing, new feature release, and so on
- at will: you update your app whenever you want, without any schedule
Generally speaking, a good number is 1-2 small improvements per month. By improvements, we mean minor upgrades, redesigns, and new features. Regular, incremental improvement is better that sporadic overhauls of the app.
However, the frequency of app updates can differ depending on your goals and app’s functionality.
Don’t forget that every new release needs to be submitted and approved by the app stores. Apple, in particular, can take weeks to approve updates. This needs to be considered when planning new release scheduling.
Factors to Consider When Scheduling New Releases
#1 App Bug Fixing Updates
Unfortunately nothing is ever perfect. Particularly when it comes to tech!. Even if apps are rigorously tested prior to release, things can go wrong. Some bugs can be elusive and only become evident after release.
Needless to say, bug fixes should be dealt with as soon as possible and, once resolved, the apps should be resubmitted.
#2 App Feature Release Updates
As we mentioned above, people love new features. To keep your audience actively engaged, it is good practice to plan, schedule and release new features with regularity.
#3 Enhancing the app UI/UX
The functionality of the application, its operating speed, its performance stability – all very important. But the first thing a user notices when launching your product is what it looks like. So the app’s design is critical.
What are the reasons to change the design, update and enhance it?
- change in corporate brand guidelines
- overly complicated and confusing user interface
- non intuitive user journeys
- modernise / freshen design
#4 Operating System updates
All operating systems are being regularly improved to provide users with better experience. But, unfortunately, when an OS gets updated, it can affect the performance of your app: information transfer speed can be lost, some features can refuse to work properly, etc. To avoid it, you should release a system update that will ensure the application is working correctly.
#5 User feedback
This is critical.
There are several ways to receive user feedback.
Users often leave feedback for apps on the app stores. They submit opinions on bugs, defects, performance issues and potentially missing features. App owners should react quickly to this type of feedback and, when the feedback is valid, resolve the issues.
App owners can also proactively generate feedback by engaging directly with users (and potential users). If you genuinely want your apps to deliver the best experience and value, your users opinions are pure gold. What do they like / dislike, what would they add / remove, what would make them use the app more / less, what makes the app better / worse than other apps etc.
Obviously it is impossible to use all user feedback when designing future releases. Some opinions will differ or even be contradictory. Some features will be impossible because of budget. Some opinions will not be congruent with the values of the business.
You need to find the sweet spot where a consensus of opinion overlaps with business goals and the return on investment model works for the business.
Whether you intend to make spontaneous changes based on market trends, scheduled updates, or both, it is important to have a strategic plan. Create an action plan for app updates, and ensure that you deliver on schedule. Having a plan is critical to keeping your app fresh and safe as you continue to make improvements.
Considering the speed at which the market evolves, there is no time for long, complicated processes in order to make app updates. Regular, incremental updates, based upon client based intelligence work best.