According to the data collected by Statista.com, there were 1.57 billion smartphone users in the year 2014. This number went up to become 2.53 billion in 2018 and is projected to hit 2.87 billion by 2020. To accommodate this constantly rising popularity of smartphones, there has been a substantial rise in the number of smartphone apps as well. In the first quarter of 2018, there were 3.8 million apps on Google Play Store and 2 million apps on Apple App Store.
Businesses, big or small, are quickly releasing their own smartphone apps to reach a broader customer base. But getting your app built, is definitely not the end of the story. As a business owner, you should know that once a product is out in the market, it needs to be improved. Creating a perfect product is impossible. It is so because perfection has different definitions for different people. Thus it falls on you that you listen to your users and keep improving your product according to them. So today we will discuss why you should keep updating your apps once you’ve released them.
Let’s get to it then!
Update to Remain Updated
Every year, some new technologies come out. These advancements can be of two types- software and hardware. Now you may have conducted your mobile app development a long time ago before this new technology trend existed, but it will not matter to your customers. If there is a new technology in the market, they want to see it being used in your app. Forget that you can run your business and stay darling to your customers by conducting an app development process once and then never updating it.
So what you need to do, is to figure out how this new technology can be used in your app. Let’s take a simple example, the two most significant trends in the technology market right now are- Blockchain and AR/VR.
Blockchain was released some ten years ago with the coming of bitcoin but has gained bombastic popularity only recently. On the other hand, AR and VR were just theoretical ideas up until a few years ago, but apps like Pokemon Go have changed that as well. Now, these technologies are out in the market. They were introduced to serve something else entirely, but now are being used in various other domains. This is precisely what you need to do with your app.
Be innovative, be creative. Remember, that outside the box thinking is your bread and butter.
When we talk about software updates, both Google and Apple, have released multiple iterations of their celebrated smartphone OSs- Android and iOS. This August, the ninth version of Android– Android P was released while Apple is set to release iOS 12 later this year. With each version, Google and Apple improve their platforms, adding, subtracting and tweaking features. With the coming of new features and more powerful platforms, it becomes your duty to make sure that your apps utilize these features to their full extent.
Customers like to be enthralled. So when your app can make use of new features, you are automatically making sure that your users keep using your app. Like in case of Android P, Slices feature lets you use functionalities of an app, outside the app. This feature can be of used by Android applications of businesses over various spectrums.
Fixing What Needs to be Fixed
Testing an app before its release is a typical task. There are countless scenarios which can go wrong. Moreover, it becomes gradually harder to test an app for all the bugs if its complexity is high. It is possible that due to some technical oversight- whether in the development phase or the testing phase- the app you released has some bugs in it. This is nothing to worry about though. All you need to do is take your customer feedbacks seriously and work on plucking out these bugs from your app.
Bugs are different from shortcomings. Sometimes, as a part of marketing strategy, businesses release incomplete versions of their smartphone apps. Then by updating their apps regularly, they gradually introduce these new features. So another reason to upgrade your smartphone app can be to add features which you missed in your earlier versions.
Sometimes, something just doesn’t work. Many times we face situations when even though a feature or a theme or even a technical choice seemed right in the development phase, but it is just not fitting right in the real world environment. Or perhaps your customers are against it. So updating your app is your way of changing certain things about your app.
Improving What Needs to be Improved
Even though it is great, it can always be better. There are things you can add, stuff you can drop and alterations you can make. Whether they are regarding the looks of your smartphone app or its functionality, there is always a way to improve it. Most of this point depends on the market trend and what your competitors are doing though. Remember, in this cut-throat market, you cannot afford to stay behind.
Let’s take Instagram as an example.
When it started, it was strictly a photograph and video sharing platform. It was widely celebrated, it was like facebook, but a lot simpler. Now, though it was trendy, users started to feel that it was missing something. So finally the time came when Instagram’s minimalist single-dimensional approach to increase ease of use, played out and it needed to reinvent itself. So, over the past few years, it has added multiple new features. A chat system, IGTV, option to save posts so that they can be viewed offline, there is now even a video chat option in it, these are just some of the new features that have been introduced recently. Then, realizing how popular Snapchat’s Stories function had gotten, Instagram decided to introduce it as well.
Apart from adding new features, over the years, Instagram has changed its appearance as well. Tweaking its color scheme and theme, its logo and many other such attributes which have clearly worked in its favor.
By continually updating its app, Instagram has, over the years, managed to hold its position in the market. So the lesson to learn here is that the businesses which improve their smartphone apps with changing times survive, and the rest goes extinct.
Mind your Image
Most popular smartphone apps on Google Play Store and Apple App Store, roll out updates on a regular basis. Some apps are updated as frequently as every week, and some are updated a couple of times a month. For some, it is out of necessity and for some, it is just because they want to remain in their customers’ attention. The problem is that there are many apps out there doing the same thing you are. Furthermore, each new app brings something new to an already cooked recipe. So, when a customer sees that your app is inferior because of that one feature that you lack and the other app has, you lose him. Thus if you don’t update your app regularly, more apps like yours will come to app stores and eventually, your app will stop being relevant.
Furthermore, if you don’t update your app on a regular basis, you give off an aura of being lazy which is a marketing disaster.
Become More Marketable
The pace of innovation is baffling in these times. Everyone is trying to do something new or take an existing idea and give it a new spin. So updates are your way of reminding your customers that you are still in the game and you are just as good as before. You can not afford to be forgotten. So when you release a new update of your smartphone app, customers are reminded, mostly by push notifications, that yeah, you still exist.
Another reason to update your mobile app is to provide your customer base with better services and features. Customers are always looking for new things, so by updating your app, you can gradually cater to their never-ending demands. Though the market is tumultuous, customers remain loyal to a select few who are dear to them. You need to reward their loyalty by evolving with time, for your business and them.
See we know that it’s a vicious cycle. You will give customers one thing, and they will start asking for something else. But you signed up for this, so the best thing you can do is take care of their demands and try to make your app the best app in the market of its kind. We all know that your ratings on Google Play Store and Apple App Store have the power to either propel your success through the roof or bury your app six feet under. Mobile apps which are frequently updated have been known to gain better reviews and stars than those who don’t. So the moral of the story is: update and stay relevant!