App development is an integral part of any business. Businesses that do not focus on app updates eventually trickle into anonymity. It is an established fact that most apps go through a life cycle that involves numerous updates. While popular mobile apps need to be updated more regularly, apps that haven’t been very successful at capturing the attention of a large audience can easily make do with monthly updates.
The process of app update is a challenging one. Fixing bugs, making changes in design, checking app functionality, updating codes — these are tasks that require both time and dedication.
Businesses and app developers, in particular, should give due consideration to app updates. In this article, we will try to answer the bigger question that is, how to approach app updates?
1. Does frequency matter?
Yes, the frequency at which you update your app actually matters. Updating your app regularly will help both your team as well as your users. As mentioned before, a well-performing app must be updated at least once a week. However, if you already have a lot on your platter and are unable to squeeze an app update, you must try to update the app at least once every month. There are various parameters businesses must keep in mind while they are undergoing this process.
If you have a business that is affected by seasonal changes, your app must reflect this. Similarly, before beginning with the process of an app update, businesses must ensure that they have enough content to feed to their users. Most businesses underestimate the value of content. Good content enhances both engagement and retention. If you wish to make your app successful, you must find new ways to make your app more interesting and user-friendly.
2. Should you work out a balance?
Yes, it is extremely important for businesses to wok out a balance between smaller and larger updates.
App updates are most often driven by feature releases. Businesses might choose to do an app update when they either have a large update or a smaller one. Larger updates are slightly more difficult to handle. Sometimes, these may even involve months of work. In such a case, the question is — how should businesses achieve a balance?
The answer is simple — try to fit in features that can be accommodated in a two-week development cycle. Features that take about two weeks of development actually take about a month to go live. This is essentially because the process of app updates does not only involve development but also testing. However, in some cases, businesses may feel compelled to induce features that are quite complex. When this happens, businesses can tackle the problem at hand by first doing smaller updates and planning for the larger one in advance. While some app developers are working on the smaller update, businesses should allocate more resources to the larger update. This way, an app update would undergo two releases — first, a smaller one followed by the larger one for which work has been going on for months.
3. Understanding release cycles is important
Every mobile app undergoes different kinds of release cycles. Businesses can benefit greatly by understanding these release cycles.
After an app is released, the first update should focus solely on fixing bugs. Even though you have devoted hours to testing the app, it is quite likely that there will be certain bugs that bypassed your scanner system. By making bug fixing the agenda of their first update, businesses can make their apps more user-friendly. This will also increase your app store ratings. The next release should also focus on fixing bugs and making your app look more refined and user-friendly. The idea is to do app updates that do not require complicated tasks and hence, can be done at short intervals.
Once your app has become fairly popular, reviews and feedback will start to drop in through various channels such as social media, app store, etc. The release that an app developer makes now would depend on the kind of feedback received from users. It would involve working on design, fixing bugs, releasing new features, etc. From here on, businesses must start to achieve a balance between smaller and larger updates.
4. Keep the competition in mind
While it is a good idea to create an internal schedule and mechanism about how you want to do things, it is also important to keep an eye on your competition. As a business, you should see the kind of changes your competitors are coming up with and try to make your own app better than everyone else’s. Try to compete with the very best — let your benchmarks be those who are already at the top of their game. This will not be easy.
As your app grows older and as the frequency and complexity of updates increases, you may feel the need to hire more resources. This would involve hiring more product managers, quality assurance experts, designers and developers. However, the important thing to remember is — do not do bad updates after coming in pressure. In this day and age, when users have become tech experts, businesses have more to loose on account of a bad update than a late update.
5. Your app update should target your user base
If you want your app to do well, you must do app updates that target your core market and user base. Your development methodology should align with the market expectation of the industry in which you operate. For instance, users who use mobile apps prefer their apps to be updated regularly. On the contrary, enterprise marketing apps, do not need to be updated so often. Take a cue from what your users are saying about your app, what they need and what they seek from a good app and try to give them just that.
Apps should be updated at regular intervals. If you have a small team, you should aim for monthly updates. On the other hand, if you have a large app development team which can handle more complex app developments, your aim should be to do weekly updates. To make your app more relevant and user-friendly, keep adding new features to it. Also, always make it a point to the retain the quality of your updates.