How much does it cost to update an app?

If you have some doubts about  app updates, the necessity of such actions and its cost,  the following article will help you to make the final decision.

how much does it cost to update an app

Like any product or service, every app will require certain updates and improvements after it is released. This is caused by dynamic market requirements and customer trends.

The app updates are basically one of the strongest marketing tools, which provide connections between your company and the consumers. Nowadays, the average customer has up to 30 mobile applications on his/her device, so regular updates can help to highlight your app among the rest.

With the frequent updates, your company can expect loyal customer relationships and the lengthened use of your app. But how much will it cost to reach such levels?

Cost of app updates

Many app owners falsely believe that after releasing an app, the cost of creating an app is finally determined. In fact, the app itself demand permanent updates to keep or increase market quota and the number of users. The simplest answer to the question, how much the app updates costs is the answer to how good it was built.

A golden rule for estimating the costs of app maintain, including updates, is 20% per year of the primary app development costs. So, if your app development budget was $100,000, you can expect about $20,000 spending per year for app updates and support. It seems quite expensive, but with poor design, lack of important features and without timely updates, your app won’t attract a lot of users.

cost of app updates

Factors, influencing the cost

In many aspects, the app development process affects the costs of the following updates.

Among the main factors, which form the price of app updates are:

  • Number of platforms. If your app has been released on several platforms, then the updates should be for every OS. Apple and Google Play also regularly improve their platforms, as a result you are forced to update your own app for correct work. And don’t forget about the annual app store fee:
App Store Cost Payment order
Apple App Store $99 Yearly basis
Google Play $25 One-time payment
Windows Store $49 for individual/

$99 for company

One-time payment
Amazon Appstore $99 Yearly basis
  • App complexity – In practice, 45% of primary features are never used and 19% are rarely used. The implementation of new features is the largest part of the app maintenance, and may include the next:
    • powerful servers – $20-$60/month;
    • push notifications – $10/month;
    • payment gateways – up to $150/month;
    • emergency maintenance;
    • third party APIs charges;
    • bug fixing.
  • Design – To improve an app’s design, it will cost you from $45 / hour by a less experienced designer to $150 / hour by a senior designer;
  • Developer rates – Hourly rates throughout the world vary from $20 in Asia to $150 per hour in the USA.

app developer rates per hour

Source ThinkMobiles

Main reasons to update your app

To understand the importance of frequent updates, let’s see on the major reasons of improving your app:

  • Bug fixing. One of the most important and common reasons to update your app is bug fixing. The app development is a very labour-intensive process, during which some mistakes can be done, and even testing will not reveal it. So, permanent refreshing your app will help to avoid any problems of using it;
  • Applying new features. You should keep up with your competitors and keep up with the time. It means to say “no” to out-of-date design and app features;
  • Your competitors do it. The average period between updates for the top 25 iOS apps is around 30 days. So, if you are not going to implement updates into your app, your customers will switch to the competitors;

 Source SensorTower

  • Customers appreciate it. Updating your app gives customers a reason to check it and be informed about the recent situation and changes in your business. More likely, that the clients will keep using the updated app. From own experience, I can assure you, that mobile applications with regular updates have higher ratings;
  • Improving company image. When you release frequent app updates, it shows your company as a successful and strong market player. It also brings confidence to customers that your business has a strong positionі in the market and it сan be trusted.

How often do you need to update your app?   

Pinterest currently has about 100 million downloads on the Google Play with every three weeks updates. The company product manager, Mike Beltzner explains the reasons of such frequency: “Because I got pushback when I tried for two? That’s the honest answer”.

During a three-week development cycle, only a small piece of the mobile app code can be changed each time. And in case of a bug, the company can quickly fix it. When the company had a longer time between updates releases, the number of updated features was bigger, and the possibility of mistakes was higher. So, luckily for Pinterest, they found ideal updates frequency.

But, how to define the terms specifically for your company? Most successful and popular apps release 1-4 updates a month. But, as it is shown below, only the third part of all app owners are ready for monthly extra costs of further development of its mobile application.

Source AnyPresence

The frequency depends on user feedback, data, team size. Most feature updates should be done up to two weeks, but the longer this process will take time, the faster bugs need to be fixed.

Beside weekly or monthly bug fixing and features updates, there is a possibility for renewals, when the app gets a brand-new look. Just notice how Instagram through the years uses simple updates together with versions upgrades. What in the end led this app to the highest popularity among the customers.

Conclusion

To reach success and recognition by consumers, you must continue the work with your mobile application. And don’t expect it will cost nothing. One-fifth of the app development budget is the minimum price to maintain your app. Bug fixing, design and features updates are going to be a permanent part of the work to promote the mobile application. And only with every two-three week updates, your app will reach high rating and users’ popularity.

About the author

Alex Volski

Copywriter / business analyst from Thinkmobiles with more than 5 years of experience in development fields. Part-time Jedi, full-time adventurer, who is interested in AR technologies. I think about myself as a pioneer of VR.

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