mobile app development

How Much Does it Cost to Maintain an App in 2020

Evaluating and setting aside app maintenance cost is a vital for your app’s success in the longer run.

app maintenance cost

You are done with all the hard work that goes into mobile app development, published your app successfully in the Google Play or App Store, marketed it exceptionally well to attract the clients and now waiting desperately while thinking that you are done with the app marketing job. In case, you are thinking the same, you are on the wrong track.

With these specific tasks, you are only done with a part of mobile app development. It is merely a part of the whole task and now you should be asking yourself, “How much does it cost to maintain an app?”

After you have successful development, it is important to invest in mobile application maintenance which incurs some additional cost. Lack of mobile app maintenance can become a reason for your app failure.

Cost to Maintain an App

Publishing the application on the Google Play and Apple App Store is not the end of the story of your application. And a hundred thousand downloads aren’t the happy ending either. Your app is competing with thousands of other applications.

The Daily Active Users (DAU) of the app defines the number of app installs and the users who visit again. On the other hand, Monthly Active User (MAU) offers the same statistics but monthly and both of these elements need to be exceptional for successful app survival.

In case you are still not clear on what we are hinting on, let us reveal it. We are focusing on the mobile app maintenance that starts after you are done with the development phase. App maintenance asks for additional expenses, which is 15-20% of the original cost of the development. The app maintenance cost also includes features that may be updated in the future.

Why is Mobile Application Maintenance Crucial?

No app can give results without efficient application maintenance strategy. Here are some of the benefits of utilising a good app maintenance strategy:

1. Effective maintenance and frequent updates result in minimising uninstalls

Apps are directly associated with making the life of its user easy or better. If an app does that successfully, it is savoured by the users and if not, will be deleted as well. Keeping your app up to date and maintaining it to match the needs of your everyday users will keep the user experience intact and hence will not be deleted by the user for limited functionality.

2. Its help in delivering a better user experience

By keeping your app up to date and match with the latest operating systems you can help in sharing the app. You can improve the UI and UX of your app and optimize it for better ease. You also need to get rid of any app functionality which can hamper the workings of your apps. This means app developers are still investing their time on the features and functionalities that users never use. The approach is not at all acceptable when trying to minimise the app development and maintenance costs that prove to be functional enough and the solution lies in developing the features that users would like to use. 

3. Helps in keeping up with the competition

App stores are flooded with new apps every day. When it is difficult to keep yourself relevant and among the favourites of the users, frequent updates and maintenance of the app help in retaining the users and keeping up with the competition. By maintaining your app effectively you can add features your users will love, remove glitches and remove any unnecessary functionalities.

number of apps launched during different financial years

4. Helps in securing financial benefits in the longer run

Apps are multipurpose tools which can be adapted to any situation depending on the stage of the product it is working with. Keeping an app maintained and up to date can help in integrating advanced-tech, use effective monetization channels and keep the monetisation safe and succeed, if transactions are done directly via the app. Kepppin your app stable, secure and responsive will also help in developing the trust of the users in the app and the brands offering it. The higher trust will convert in higher sales and financial benefits.

5. Helps in creating a responsive and agile brand image

A well updated and bug-free app is a testament to the quality and commitment of the company. Keeping your app update process swift you can show your users that you only mean business and your goal is to provide the best user experience to your clients. Frequent updates will create a perfectionist persona for your brand, putting your product at a better spot.

How mobile app maintenance cost is calculated?

Several factors count when we talk about the cost of maintaining an app. Here are some: 

  • Even when an app is published, There are ongoing costs that the developer needs to incur besides developing the application which falls under application maintenance.
  • The additional cost goes into creating new content, tracking how your app is performing, and informing the users about the new updates also adds in application maintenance cost.
  • Offering all these services to the users would ask for an additional cost and adds to the average cost of maintaining an app.
  • In case your services rely on a server that stores related information like user records, or payment history, the publisher needs to pay extra for this information.
  • There are some requirements which have to be met during the life of the app:
  1. Servers - $(20-60)/month
  2. Push Notifications - $10/month
  3. Payment Gateways - up to $149/month(or more). It also includes a certain percentage of each transaction

Aspects of app maintenance where you should invest more

  • Keep up with iOS or Android - Android and iOS are constantly evolving platforms and more interaction is required as your app keeps on flowing from one version of the platform to the next. Hence, the foremost part of your app maintenance is to keep it in sync with the platform updates, be it iOS or Android.
  • Update UI and UX -  based on user reviews and your own experience, optimise design and experience components of your app. Make sure that your app stays simple and easy to handle.
  • Update functionalities - Lastly, based on past experiences and user review, add functionalities while will add value to your app or remove features which are not much used by the everyday users. Keep in mind to include features only which are necessary and keep the functionalities simple and straightforward. 

How much does it cost to keep an app running?

If you are still stuck with the question of “How much does an app cost?” Here is your answer:

  • The actual answer to this question depends on the build (app development) the service is using.
  • You can also get the developers at a cheaper cost, which is another concern.
  • The thumb rule says the upfront expense of maintaining the app is 20% of the total cost of development.
  • That means if your app’s total expense is $100,000, you are required to spend about $20,000 per year to maintain the same.
  • Additionally, when you are spending on the app marketing strategies, it will also be counted in the total app development and maintenance costs.

Here is a table showcasing some solutions you will utilise while developing your apps and their tentative annual cost.

Custom app solutions affecting the cost

1. HostingSome of the aspects to keep in mind when taking the cost of app maintenance into consideration

Hosting is to be paid to keep the app’s database and backend hosted. Without hosting, there will be no space for your app to operate. It is like buying real-estate on the internet of your app. There are many hosting services such as cloud-based options and Amazon Web Services which offer amazing services and only charge for the services they have offered.

2. Analytics

To have an understanding of what you are doing and how much you have been able to achieve by keeping eyes on the numbers. Tools like Google Analytics provide valuable information which is crucial for making decisions. Spending money on analytical tools and upgrading then when you start scaling is a must if you want to have an account of what you are doing. 

3. Bug-updates

Bug fixing is a tedious task and is highly dependent on the quality of the code. From correcting a line of code which may cost USD 50 to making big corrections can cost in thousands of dollars. Fixing bugs may take up a significant part of your app maintenance budget if it is not coded or tested properly before the launch.

4. Marketing

Market your updates and let the community know that you have been investing in your app and making it even better over time. Make sure you also share what changes the new update will bring and in case if any update is to be followed, mention that too.

5. Customer Support

Respond to the comments of the users immediately and spend money on solving those issues first. Issues notified by the users are directly affecting your first-hand user and should be removed ASAP.

If that sounds a huge chunk of money we have got something for you! Read on to know more.

How to Cut Down the Cost of Mobile App Development?

The development and maintenance cost of mobile apps depends upon multiple factors, which developers can use to bring down the development and mobile app maintenance cost.

1. Invest in the Right Development Platform

There are two kinds of platforms available for developing an application. You can either choose from:

  • Native app development
  • Hybrid app development

Native development helps to get an app that is stable enough for the users and has better access to the resources of the smartphone, which means it will perform faster and will feel lighter on your smartphone. When compared with web apps, such services can be more reliable in terms of features and functionality.

Well, there is a downside that you will have to maintain at least two apps for two different platforms including Android and iOS, meaning it will expand the budget you have.

The solution can be investing in a hybrid application. It combines the best of the native platforms, includes some of the best offerings that HTML5 offers and proves vital for keeping the mobile application maintenance cost low.

2. Include the Features That Users Will Use

Users never use 45% of an app’s features and thus, it is wise to invest in elements that users would use. This will help to cut down the cost involved in mobile app maintenance and the efforts that your developers would have to make while developing and designing the application.

But how would you ensure which features are the best?

Ask users for feedback and include the same in your app development practice.

Besides, the app developer also needs to analyze and study the concerns of the users to come up with something that could be brought on the board. Serving users with what they are asking for is one of the most important concerns for a publisher to win over the hearts of the users.

The Conclusion

The app development and maintenance cost of an app are inevitable. You cannot avoid it but some measures can help you with minimizing the expense of the development. We have researched on “how much does app maintenance cost” and came up with a few metrics that you can consider in case you are planning to develop an app of your own.

Also, consider not paying the overcharged cost. And for the same you need to prepare your app with some of the best elements, here are the key caveats to take notice of.

  • Select a platform to answer users’ demand
  • Include the required functionality only
  • Invest in-app maintenance by hiring the right resources for the same
  • Listen to the feedback and do include the same

Keeping the important stats in your mind is also important and that includes the number of downloads your app has received right from the time it was launched. By keeping all the above-illustrated points into the mind, you can easily cut down the expense.

General FAQ

  • How much does it cost to keep an app running?
  • How do you maintain an app?
Aparna <span>Growth Strategist</span>
Written By
Aparna Growth Strategist

Aparna is a growth specialist with handsful knowledge in business development. She values marketing as key a driver for sales, keeping up with the latest in the Mobile App industry. Her getting things done attitude makes her a magnet for the trickiest of tasks. In free times, which are few and far between, you can catch up with her at a game of Fussball.

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