How often should mobile apps be updated? To help answer this question, we analyzed the Top 100 Free, Paid, and Grossing apps (as of August 8th, 2019) and their version update history. When we sliced the data by app category and looked at the top 10 apps in each, we found meaningful differences between the categories. This makes sense as apps of different categories cater to different audiences and have different functions. This means that the problems they face and the updates they release will be different. In this blog post, we'll take a look at update trends in entertainment category apps.
Types of app updates
Not all updates are created equal. There are major updates, minor updates, and revisions. Major updates usually cover huge revamps or substantial features being added to an app. Minor updates cover smaller new features or improvements. And revisions cover minor aspects such as bug fixes and performance enhancements.
Obviously, no one will be rolling out major updates every week. Revisions are more frequent than minor updates, which are more frequent than major updates.
Why app updates are important
In the top 100 grossing apps, the median time since last update is nine days. Updating an app in and of itself won’t guarantee success, but the data shows that the most successful apps are updated frequently.
Frequent updates help developers address user needs quicker. If there are critical issues that have been reported by many users, a quick update to fix the problem is necessary to keep users happy. Updates can also contain MVPs of new features to quickly gather customer feedback, with continuous iteration in future releases.
What the data on entertainment category apps shows
The data on the top entertainment category apps shows that the median time between releases is seven days. It is very common for apps to release one update and then release another update immediately after (this is the “Oh no we broke something important” panic fix), so looking at the median eliminates these quick fixes and other anomalies in the data.
The following graph shows the distribution of median days and the app’s ranking.
One outlier in the data was removed: the app ranked at number six (NFL Sunday Ticket), which is updated once a year.
There is some variation in update frequency shown in the graph. Five apps prefer a weekly schedule, and the rest tend to update about bi-weekly. Meanwhile, the most common difference in days between updates is six days.
How do entertainment category apps compare with the rest
In the top 100 free apps, the data was very similar. The median amount of days between updates for the entire data set is 8.75 days. And the most common difference in days (update schedule) is seven days. This shows that most free apps tend to push to get updates out every week. The top entertainment category apps also seem to favor a weekly update schedule. Meanwhile, the top paid apps tend to update monthly or bi-monthly.
The top entertainment category apps mirror a trend found in the top free apps: that the more frequent the app updates, the higher the app ranking.
Best practices for updating your entertainment category apps
From trends in the data, we can get an idea of how often you should be updating your entertainment mobile app. This can be summed up in four best practices:
- Stick to a healthy (but not strict) weekly release schedule.
- Monitor your releases and customer feedback. If there is a critical issue, fix it as soon as possible as recent app store reviews are weighted more.
- Plan major and minor updates with your release cadence in mind.
- Adjust to your mobile team’s capacity.
How Instabug can help
Updating your app frequently is very demanding. Apps need dedicated teams to detect problems, solve them, and push out solutions in a small window of time. Also, big and small development teams will always hit unforeseen errors that could be very costly.
This is where Instabug comes in, the comprehensive platform for Real-Time Contextual Insights throughout the entire app life cycle. Instabug helps apps:
- Monitor release stability with Crash Reporting
- Find, debug, and fix issues faster with Bug Reporting
- Collect valuable user input through In-App Feedback forms and In-App Surveys
- Drive more five-star reviews with App Rating surveys
- Alert users to new features with What’s New broadcasts
- Encourage users to update through Version Update prompts
- Progressive Release: How to Release Your App With Less Stress
- Why Does Your App Keep Crashing?
- Benchmarking Crashing Sessions for Mobile Apps (What Is a Good Crash Rate?)
- Prevent Churn by Replying to Crash Reports
- How to Get the Most Out of Instabug Crash Reports