How Much Does It Costs to Maintain & Run an App?

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The key for businesses to thrive in a mobile-first world is to embrace app technologies that offer better customer outreach and help in expansion. However, most enterprises are sceptic of the cost of app development and act confused in the absence of proper guidance. While estimating the actual cost of developing an app, they often tend to overlook the long term costs of maintaining an app.


Why Do You Need to Maintain Your Business App?

One of the most significant factors that drive a user to uninstall an app is dealing with annoying bugs or app crashes. Working on maintaining an app, after it has been launched ensures that bugs are fixed in a timely fashion. Regular app maintenance helps keep up the app retention rates. To stay ahead in a competitive market, offering an excellent user experience becomes a priority with businesses. Maintaining and monitoring an app helps with critical insights into user experiences. This allows an easy opportunity of staying updated with changing user preferences, problems, and habits. Frequent app updates also help keep up with the competition.


No matter how prolific your app design is, how engaging the user experience it offers, and how brilliant are the features it has, it will lose its charm in a competitive industry with time. Outperforming apps on mobile app stores are the one who has developers working countless updates, improvements and fixes in their background. The exercise of app maintenance includes various crucial tasks like nurturing of servers, push notifications, and payment gateways.


All software is subjected to various costs that surface at different intervals in its lifecycle. It’s easy to boost engagement rates and conversion rates by introducing new features with app maintenance. Business apps that are maintained and updated on a regular basis bring along financial benefits in the form of increased ROI and decreased costs. Working on app maintenance gives a developer a fair idea about new ways to cut down your expenses and acquire new users.


What Does the Mobile App Maintenance Consist Of?

The app maintenance cost can include the expenses incurred in-app scaling, recurring backend requirements and need for new features etc. It is best if you plan on setting aside some of the funding to cover costs for additional resources and development needs.


Here are various post-production costs that might surface during the maintenance phase and must be counted in your budget:


A.) Fixing The Bugs

A mobile app can be wrought with specific bugs even after it has been published on the app store. There may be a few functionalities that are amiss on a few devices. This can be detrimental to the engaging user experience you intend to offer. App maintenance provides a way to resolve the bugs and improve the overall functionalities in a timely manner.


B.) Updating to The Latest Version of the Operating System

A business app can be either built on Android, iOS or maybe both. All operating systems release frequent updates. When app platforms change guidelines for apps or forces compiling standards, app developers need to make emergency intervention which incurs cost too. Ignoring the requirements of app platform can result in the app being labelled as obsolete or even flagging of the app from the app store. Right-minded businesses test their apps on updated OS versions, to check for broken functionalities and performance issues. In the absence of app maintenance, there is a risk that the app may break down in the face of an operating system update.


C.) Updating App Technology

Faced with user reviews and experience accounts, it becomes crucial for a business to work improvements to please the end-user. Technological updates like upgrades to improve the performance, or introducing new tools to outperform the competition like Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), etc. only come in at the app maintenance stage for most apps.


D.) Publishing New Content

App components like banners, images, content, videos and news need constant updates. Based on the engagement behaviour of the app users, app content needs constant tweaks and fixes. While businesses command frequent and straightforward changes from the app admin panel, however, the changes that require some technical changes to the mobile app can be made possible with the help of a mobile app maintenance team.


Major Contributors to Mobile App Maintenance Costs


E.) Advanced Push Notifications

App-based e-commerce business drives a large chunk of their conversions through push notifications. However, the notifications they use are far from being simple. The Push notifications they use can be defined as per the various aspects like during the sale, cart abandonment, new arrivals, seasonal discounts and relevant brand announcements etc. Businesses like to send across customized push notifications that suit their requirements to engage the app users and promote the business. While sending out push notifications is simple and secure from the app admin panel, advanced functionalities for push notifications can be achieved with the help of professional app maintenance teams.


F.) App Analytics Costs

Businesses can benefit from crucial knowledge, like if their app product is adding any value to their ROI or not. A useful analytics tool can help track the performance of the app and user engagement. Analytics help gauges essential metrics like engagement, conversion, and retention, including addictiveness, time in-app per daily user, percentage of Daily Users who purchased and average revenue per everyday user etc. If the analytical tools in the app are not enough to track the necessary usage metrics, app development and maintenance team can develop app analytics customized to the needs of your business.


G.) Data Backup

It’s essential to take regular backup of a mobile app. Any malign ransomware attack can lead to enormous losses for a business, and an app backup is the only saviour for such unforeseen losses. App maintenance exercise involves the task of taking regular backups manually or schedule it.


H.) Choice of Platform

The choice of platform on which the app has been built also dictates the app maintenance costs. Choosing native apps requires a business to develop separate apps for each phone platform, all of which need independent maintenance work, which in turn shoots up maintenance budgets. With native apps, businesses need to deal with the platform’s corresponding app store each time they decide to release an upgrade. All app storefronts require that apps stick to the guidelines they prescribe. This can slow down the rate at which you free updates for your users.


On the other hand, Web applications can be developed using feature-rich and continually updated HTML5 Web standard. Web applications are a single app that can be accessed by all devices, through the Web browser. However, they are seldom as capable as a native app.


How Much Does It Cost to Maintain & Run an App?

All business apps have a monetization strategy in place if they are built with the objective of generating revenue. Apps that are built as a part of the sales strategy to capture customers during their purchase journeys deliver content. To accurately estimate the cost to maintain and run an app varies with business techniques.


Ongoing costs for development like accommodating new features, platform updates, and new devices integration come under the purview of additional expenses. Sometimes, there are policy changes that require tweaks to the app code, and only post-production development can tackle the challenges involved. If an app uses third-party plugins, there are additional costs associated with them for updates. Development teams need to continually test and update their app to check if they abide by the latest guidelines issued by the platforms they are made for. Useful code review is an ongoing process all through the life of an app and needs dedicated funds. Apps rely on servers to host the code and databases to store information that the end client use to push and pull data, which are a recurring expense and come under maintenance costs.


Most generally, software maintenance costs about 15 to 20 per cent of the original development costs. While it sounds expensive, many companies who do not access the app development process in a prepared fashion end up having it that way. Truly experienced and visionary app development partners help their clients plan and incorporate a maintenance charge into contracts.


Instead of trying to create a perfect application from the start and overspending on initial costs, let user feedback dictate your app features. Starting with a light version of the app and be prepared to release small patches, upgrades and improvements throughout the app lifespan make it a winning app product. The lighter tweaks and feature additions during the app maintenance phase are less costly, incur less time and are desirable for users. Creating an app maintenance plan early in the process and prioritizing updates post-development keeps the maintenance cost in check and adds value to user experience.

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Sahil Verma

Content Writer

A highly detail oriented and committed professional with years of experience in technical project management. His quick understanding and instant problem solving ability not only makes clients' life easier, but also helps deliver the assignments with assured quality. He is well versed with agile and waterfall methodologies. He has comprehensive knowledge of various technologies and is quickly adaptable as per the requirement. Good communicator, leverage technical, business and financial acumen to Communicate effectively with client executives and their respective teams. Sahil enjoys spending time with his family and friends and fond of reading technical article, blogs and literature.

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