The app development journey is an ongoing one and doesn’t end once the app sees the light of the play stores. Having put laborious effort into every phase of the app development cycle, all your months of hard work will make perfect sense only if you maintain the app well on the play stores and app stores and market them well with an effective GTM strategy.
In this article, we will discuss:
→ The importance of app maintenance
→ Different types of app maintenance
→ The costs involved in maintaining your apps
Why do you need to care about app maintenance?
Following is a list of parameters involved in app maintenance that you need to care about and take into mindful consideration:
- Operating System
- Programming language
- Styles and designs
- Usage patterns
- Security bugs
Let’s take a deep-dive analysis of each of these parameters.
- Hardware: Numerous devices come to the market every day. Devices that are already sharing the marketplace release new variants, upgrades, and models more frequently. In that case, if you haven’t invested the right expertise into maintenance your app will become obsolete to the new devices.
- Operating System: As new versions of Google Android and Apple iOS permeate the market with newer updates, guidelines, and changes its mission-critical that you update the current version of your app in alignment with the respective operating systems.
- Programming Language: Other maintenance tasks include changes in programming languages like Objective C, Java, etc. (Say, Objective C to Swift, and Java to HTML5.) You need to update the app based on the changes to your corresponding programming languages.
- Designs and styles: In the earlier days, the mobile user interface design used to adopt a different design and style guide (say for instance – skeuomorphic design). Later Google Android and Apple iOS redefined the mobile apps’ look and feel and standardized them with material design guidelines. So, you need to maintain your app with changes in the design styles to meet contemporary design standards.
- Usage Patterns: As your app gets familiar to more number of users in the market, it matures as a refined product and it takes an immense and extensive maintenance effort to survive in the market and meet the changing expectations of the growing user base. Your app maintenance should be refreshing enough and reflect the insights drawn from the customer feedback. (In the next chapter, we present you a detailed article on how to draw insights from the customer feedback and implement them in your apps)
- Libraries: If you use third-party libraries and other dependencies to develop your app, your app maintenance is at stake if you are not frequently checking on the updates in the libraries. Your apps might be broken if you haven’t updated them.
- Security bugs: To reduce the chances of vulnerabilities and prevent holes in security, you need to adopt a security-first approach in your app maintenance strategy.
There are no defined set of rules and regulations regarding updating and maintaining your app. But if you haven’t updated your app for six months in a row, it is a bad sign for your business, and your customers are more likely to feel it a turn-off.
Types of mobile app maintenance:
Before getting into the cost analysis related to mobile app maintenance, let’s take a quick overview of the different types of app maintenance practices and trends.
Here are the major 5 types of app maintenance that help you master the art of maintaining your app like a pro:
- Emergency maintenance
- Preventive maintenance
- Adaptive maintenance
- Corrective maintenance
- Perfective maintenance
Let’s walk through each of the above lists in detail and understand its significance.
Emergency maintenance: This refers to the kind of situation where unprecedented bugs put your app down and you need to fix them immediately and as soon as possible, so that your customers get uninterrupted access to your app and your business feels no friction.
Preventive maintenance: This process refers to eliminating the errors before even they occur. Frequent code restructuring, code optimization, and documentation updating are integral tasks in preventive maintenance.
Adaptive maintenance: Changes in maintaining your app like making adjustments in the working environment say an operating system, infrastructure, hardware, or software environment, that impact the operations of the application is referred to as adaptive maintenance.
Corrective maintenance: The process adopted to fix the general repairs, faults, and defects in the functions of the application is called as corrective maintenance. It involves fixing errors related to logic, design, and coding.
Perfective maintenance: User requirements keep changing often as per the industry trends. You need to be proactive in maintaining your app picture perfectly by taking into consideration the contemporary features, functionalities, and style elements. You need to make functional changes, modifications in the source code to meet the changing user experience requirements.
App maintenance & cost analysis:
Staying aware of the costs involved beforehand helps you stay on the top of your finances and plan in accordance. Here are a few areas that you need to focus on and plan your budget well in advance:
- Costs incurred for hosting
- Crash analysis and monitoring costs
- Costs involved in the optimization
- Costs incurred by licenses
- Marketing efforts and costs
#1 Costs incurred for hosting
Hosting platforms like AWS, Microsoft Azure play a vital role in determining your app maintenance budget. The cost majorly goes up based on the number of users or media consumption in your app.
#2 Crash analysis and monitoring costs
If you want to improve your in-app experience you need to invest in monitoring and analytical tools that help you understand your user behavior on the app. Other tools you might need are the ones required to send crash reports in real-time.
#3 Costs involved in the optimization
Just like search engine optimization, app store optimization (or marketplace SEO) is an effortful process that takes loads of resources, time, and expertise. Unless you invest the right amount of your app maintenance efforts into optimization you will not be able to take your app to the right target audience in the market.
Other processes involved in optimization that cost you decent are:
→ Keyword research
→ Testing and experimenting with different headlines
→ A/B testing the content and descriptions,
→ Writing answers to reviews and feedback
→ Updating new screenshots/demo videos
→ Notifying feature changes
→ Sending push notifications
→ Doing search ads,
→ Featuring changelogs
#4 Costs incurred by licenses
This applies to the apps that are built on licensed technologies. You need to pay for the licenses yearly, or bi-annually as and when required. There are some technologies with licenses that come with a lifetime subscription with a one-time fee.
#5 Marketing efforts and costs
A huge chunk of your budget, planned or unplanned goes into marketing. Spending the optimum budget, resource, time, effort, expertise on your marketing efforts make an integral part of your app maintenance journey. Only with adequate marketing efforts, your app can be positioned well in the market and reach the right customers effectively and in a profitable way.
Here’s a list of different scenarios involved in marketing your app through various digital channels like search engines (Google, Bing, etc.), social media websites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), forums, and communities (like Quora), paid advertisements, omnichannel digital marketing, native advertising, public relations, etc.
- Content marketing, efforts, and resources
- Email marketing and guest blogging
- In-app content creation and timely updation
- Product videos and demo videos
- step-by-step walkthrough videos
- Promotional and marketing content creation
- Resources involved in content distribution
- Influencer marketing, giveaways, and contests
- Tools like Facebook Ads and Google Ads
- Social media marketing
- Social media optimization
- Press releases (PR content)
- Landing pages for your apps
- In-app ads
- Microsites for your apps and App store ads
Outsourcing your app maintenance? Here’s what you need to check with your developer or app development agency:
- The average time taken to respond
- Mode of charging: (incident-based or time-based?)
- In-house maintenance or sub-contracts
- App data restoration guarantee against theft
- Technical Support
In the upcoming chapters, we will look into the different steps involved in optimizing your app for the respective play stores, releasing on-time updates with effective bug fixes, responding to customer feedback, and tricks to increase engagement on the app. Follow this space to get more resourceful and insightful articles to help streamline your app development process.
If you need a free consultation on how to maintain your app, we are here to help you. Feel free to get in touch with us. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are just an email away and would love to hear from you. Besides developing robust mobile applications, we have over a decade of expertise in building and maintaining apps with market-ready strategies. At Siam Computing, we have a team of certified app developers, specialists, experts, coders, programmers, UI/UX designers, developers, app technology specialists who work with an indomitable spirit to deliver customized app solutions to meet your dynamic business needs.