A whopping 62% of mobile app development companies are failing to release regular updates frequently enough, according to a Bitrise survey. This is likely holding back many of these apps from building and retaining their user base.
After the many grueling months or years that it takes to build a great app, developers often don’t plan well for the next stages of development. This can be quite harmful to any app, even if it has already gained traction with users.
Why Are App Updates So Important?
Regular app updates are a vital part of retaining and building your user base. The most obvious reason for updates is to fix bugs so that users don’t get frustrated but it’s far from the only reason. The most important incentive for developers to update apps constantly is novelty.
When an app developer announces an interesting new feature, new users will download the app and old users will pick it back up to try it. Some new features can open an app to an entirely new audience, like Discord’s new suite of parental control features. The update doesn’t have to include any major new features, however.
A simple overhaul of the user interface and user experience can go a long way in attracting new users and retaining current ones.
Updates also help remind users about the app. It’s a great excuse to send users a direct notification to remind them of the app and entice them with the new feature. The app will be placed on the ‘App Needs Update’ list on users’ app stores as well.
The world of mobile applications is constantly changing and updates are a vital tool to keep up with successful trends and try new strategies out. Developers like to collect as much information on how its users use their app so that they can know what to improve.
Some knowledgeable users will specifically consider the update frequency of an app to help determine whether they want to install it. Both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store tell users when an app was last updated.
Why Are App Developers Struggling With Updates?
There is only a small group of developers that releases updates every 1 or 2 weeks. About 11% of companies update their app once a week and just over 20% release one every 8-14 days, according to the Bitrise survey.
Bitrise’s survey posits that one of the biggest factors holding back many of these companies is a manual release process. This means that developers have to go through the processes of integration, testing, deployment and more manually.
The Bitrise survey details a few success stories of companies who were able to speed up their release process 30% or more by automating it. It’s important to note that Bitrise sells this automation service, so the report may be biased in the weight it gives to the slow, manual update release process.
Bitrise may have skin in the game but they aren’t wrong about the importance of updates. However, they fail to mention in the report that frequency isn’t everything in terms of app updates. Developers can push a miniscule or buggy update every day without impacting the app or its use significantly in any way.
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