How Often Should You Update Your App?

In the booming mobile world, your application will have to compete with hundreds or even thousands of similar products. In fact, the stats show that there are more than 2 million apps in the market, and this number is expected to grow in the coming years. However, the average person launches only ten apps per day. Therefore, to stand out from the competitors and entice customers into using the app, you need to offer something unique and update your app regularly.

Examples of Successful Application Updates

In June 2018, Instagram released an update that was immediately called a “YouTube killer”. The IGTV feature allows users to upload videos that are up to 60 minutes long. Given the fact that previously instagrammers were able to post only 60-second clips, IGTV is considered a great step forward for Instagram and its users. The feature makes it possible for vloggers to engage their followers without switching to external video platforms like YouTube. Instagram aims to transform IGTV into a full-fledged TV network further on.

Another example of successful and useful updates comes from the Microsoft Corporation, and namely its Microsoft Teams app. Microsoft Teams is a collaboration tool for business users that facilitates teamwork. Recently, the developers have released an update for Android with the purpose of fixing bugs and expanding functionality. The decision about adding new features was based on user feedback and suggestions. Now, using the updated Android app, you, as a team leader, can schedule meetings and invite your team to join it through a team code. This improvement enhances user experience and interaction with the app.

Following the use cases above, we can highlight two types of mobile application updates:

  • Content Update. Content updates are largely implemented for marketing purposes. In order to attract new customers and retain the existing ones, business owners publish information about promotions, discounts, company achievements, new product releases, etc.
  • Software Update. All operating systems become obsolete at some point. To ensure that the app runs smoothly across different platforms, the developers release official software updates on a regular basis. These updates include bug fixes, adding new features, interface improvements, etc. As a rule, customers can upgrade the app software automatically.

As is seen from the definitions, there are different types of app updates that you can implement. And which one would be the best way out depends on your business purposes solely.

Why is it Necessary to Update Applications? – Top 5 Reasons

For a business owner who uses an application to distribute information about their company, it is necessary to understand the importance of mobile app updates. First and foremost, this is an essential tool for maintaining the customer interest in your product and informing that your business still exists and is doing well. But, is this the only reason to update your app? Hardly so.

1 – Providing Latest News. Keeping your users informed about new arrivals, offerings, or company achievements is a great reason to remind about yourself, show that you care about your customers, and cater to their needs. If someone uses your application for the first time and sees that the latest news was published 3 months ago, or you have not announced any promotions or discounts over the past year, then why would a person need such an application at all?

2 – Increasing Users’ Loyalty. Once your customers use a smoothly running and feature-rich app with a 24/7 support service, their loyalty to the company increases subconsciously. If you want to add even more value to you brand, you can also launch a customer loyalty program or a giveaway campaign via your app. This is certainly an expensive investment, but such a contribution to building your company’s reputation is invaluable.

3 – Staying in Step with Trends. Mobile development market is evolving rapidly. Innovative approaches and technologies pop up on a daily basis, setting new trends for the industry. So, if your app looks like a legacy of the 90s, you should not expect to be taken seriously. Streamlining your application according to the current market standards is a good way to keep up with your customers, competitors, and the pace of modern life in general.

4 – Strengthening Security. In 2018, a number of companies become victims of data breaches and Facebook was one of them. In total, around 50 million users were affected,  but the company’s response was instant and the necessary security updates were released.

Moreover, sometimes it is necessary to make an app update in order to comply with the laws. For example, with the adoption of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), companies that collect and store personal data are forced to update their software in order to follow the requirements of the law.

5 – Enhancing Functionality. Businesses that enjoy a large audience of users or operate in the actively developing industry (like mobile gaming) are forced to update app features on a regular basis. This not only retains the existing users, but also helps to gain over the customers of your competitor. Let’s take MoneyGram as an example. Recently, they have expanded their app functionality by adding support for a chain of Kroger supermarkets. Now the MoneyGram users are able to make payments at more than 1,900 Kroger stores.

So, When is the Right Time to Update Your App After All?

There is no universal recipe for the periodicity of application updates. No one will tell you that you need to follow a certain schedule and it will definitely yield tangible results. Instead, you should rely on statistics and user feedback to understand what needs to be updated and when.

It also makes sense to resort to the analytics to track the number of app downloads, retention rates, session time, and functions in demand. In order to do this, you can use the following analytics tools –  Google Analytics, Flurry, Inapptics, or Mixpanel. Some of these services are free, while others come at a fixed annual rate.

Updates Timing: Possible Scenarios

✔Bug fix updates and app enhancement. These changes often remain invisible to the average user, as they are implemented to maintain a smooth running of the app. The application is adapted to the requirements of the renewed operating system, making it more productive and bugs-free. You can make such updates on a monthly basis.

✔Updates based on the user feedback. As you might have guessed, here everything depends on the customer feedback at forums, review websites, or app stores. Flaws and defect features that negatively affect the user experience should receive an almost instant attention, so the periodicity of updates is situational.

✔Updates associated with a special occasion or date (e.g. the date the company was created, anniversaries, holidays, etc.). The update coincides with the solemn date, and is made several times a year.

✔Updates to keep up with the market. In this case, it makes sense to update your app once a year. Before making an update, it is necessary to analyze the market state and trends, which you need to respond to.

Certainly, this is an exemplary application update scheme. Your optimal strategy will always depend on the specifics of your business (retail applications need to be updated more often), market conditions and user preferences.

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