How to maintain mobile apps for assurance and growth
Last year, 218 billion apps were downloaded onto mobile phones worldwide. Over a relatively short period, they have become an integral part of our day-to-day life.
With numbers like that, it seems a no-brainer for businesses to develop and market their own apps, but the picture isn’t as clear as that. On the other side of the coin, one in every two apps downloaded are also uninstalled within 30 days. From being an attractive marketing tool for delivering a valued service, they can actually harm a reputation and drive customers away. Why is this and how can you make sure that your app delivers consumer confidence and growth?
Why do people abandon an app?
If you’ve invested the time and money to develop an app, it’s probably because you know the value it can add to your business; it attracts customers, engages them by being of value and offers something they cannot get so easily anywhere else.
For this to work, users must be the app owner’s top priority and their app experience should be relevant and kept up-to-date. Therefore, it’s essential that your app is well maintained so that it avoids the pitfalls that many apps fall into, which leads to them join the 50% of abandoned apps. These pitfalls include:
- Bugs and crashes: This causes frustration for users who will stop using your app.
- Poor user experience: Users will not become attached to your app so they look for alternatives offering what they need.
- Better alternatives:Competitors who regularly update their apps can provide a better offering by keeping up with changes in consumer habits and demands; it’s difficult to make your app stand out if it doesn’t update regularly.
- Poor ROI: Big fixes can cost a lot, whereas regular maintenance can keep costs low, eliminate features not being used and focus on the most popular elements, all in real-time.
- Poor security: Apps are a target for hackers and security protocols need to be up-to-date to protect consumers and not lose their trust.
- Poor brand reputation: Poorly functioning apps are likely to receive bad reviews, which damage your business’s reputation.
- Lack of app iteration: It’s highly unlikely that you will create the perfect app at the first attempt; regular maintenance allows for progressive iterations that improve your app and exceed users’ expectations.
Customer loyalty to your app is your goal. This will ensure that your app has a long life and plays its part as an integral part of your digital marketing strategy. A regular and rigorous maintenance schedule for your app should be based on an understanding of what will deliver the necessary performance in order to give your user a good experience and make them feel that the app adds value to their life or business.
How to maintain your app
Effectively maintaining your app requires a clear strategy and a maintenance schedule to deliver it. Your strategy needs to incorporate business and marketing goals with a clear sense of the role of the app in delivering them. It also needs to incorporate data, analytics and customer reviews from your app usage to provide insight into how the app is being used and the customer experience it gives.
Your understanding of the role your app plays in delivering aspects of your business and marketing strategy and insights into the app’s usage will together direct how to maintain and develop the app. This should involve both front and back-end maintenance tasks.
Maintaining the efficient running of your app is essential. This includes app support for new hardware and software, staying compatible, with updates to both so that customers can continue to use your app on whichever device they choose and still have a good experience. It also offers the opportunity to incorporate new features that enhance app functionality.
Bug fixes are also fundamental to a maintenance schedule as apps that crash regularly or don’t run smoothly won’t retain users and will lead to negative comments about your business as a whole being shared on social media.
Regular maintenance allows for the monitoring of effectiveness through key performance indicators, such as load times, conversion rates, churn and retention. This sort of information is integral for informing future maintenance plans, highlighting redundant parts of the app and new areas to focus on, targeting resources and saving money.
Keeping up with the competition
Regular app maintenance is critical for ensuring that your app remains engaging and relevant in a fast-moving consumer world. Key features that keep users excited and engaged can be added and updated regularly. The user interface can be kept fresh and in keeping with trends and user demands as they change. This way, the user experience you offer continues to feel exciting, yet intuitive, while making your customer’s life easier.
To sum up, regular app maintenance gives you insight into the consumer interaction with your app, ensuring that it continues to provide a strong user experience, remains relevant in a changing and competitive marketplace and avoids costly rebuilds further down the line.
Ensuring your app stays current
Idea, build, sustain and grow is an end-to-end approach we use at Incepteo when developing an app for a client. This starts with a discovery phase during which we build a deep and detailed picture of a business to identify clearly what’s required to give the desired outcome, right through to build, deliver and last, but not least, maintaining the resulting product so that it continues to grow and deliver on ROI.
Even if you already have an app, it’s never too late to revisit and revalidate the initial idea behind it, especially if it’s no longer delivering the results you want.
Planning updates, developing existing features, testing updates and data collection and analysis are all key to delivering app maintenance. This iterative process takes time, knowledge, resources and a long-term commitment, responding to changes in technology, your business priorities and consumer trends.
A great app has the ability to build customer loyalty, offer greater accessibility, and customer support, drive sales and increase your productivity in a fast-changing environment and ultimately should make your life easier. App maintenance is more than good housekeeping, it’s essential to your business’s reputation and growth and deserves greater attention than many businesses give it.