What should you do with old apps?
A Blog from Mike Irving, Software Developer
By Mike Irving - Published: 16/6/2017
Over the past year, perhaps longer, I have been going through a process of updating, improving and revitalising my app portfolio.
This has been a recurring process, with many passes. After all, in my case, I have many apps, on iOS, Android and Windows, across many app stores, Apple, Microsoft, Google Play, Samsung Apps, Amazon Appstore etc.
Improvement never stops.
I have made some obvious changes, some suggested by users, taken some risky moves, and in some cases I have completely removed apps from sale.
The process has taken a lot in to consideration, so I thought I'd pen a blog about the problem, with some things to consider and address.
Listen to users
Has a user asked for a new feature, a change, an improvement?
If one customer has made the effort to contact you about something, there will likely be many others with similar thoughts.
If the same request comes up again and again, you should definitely embrace the suggestions.
Respond to store reviews
All of the major app stores now allow you to respond to reviews left by users.
If somebody has raised an issue or query, offer guidance.
If the review references a missing feature, that you've now added or improved, let them know.
Potential new users like to see that issues are addressed and not ignored, and that the developer is active in customer support.
Improve the UX
Is there something niggly about your app UI / UX?
If so, this could be really off putting to people, and may be driving people to use rival apps instead of yours.
Consider reviewing your app user experience, and make changes accordingly.
Change the branding
Does your app icon stand out? Is it dated, old fashioned, amateurish?
Consider changing your app icon, and the colours in your app, to make them best suited to your target audience.
Change the store listing
In combination with a branding review, consider your store listing.
If you are making cosmetic changes, change your store screenshots too.
Update your store listing to accurately describe your app, and current features.
Leverage Keywords and the App Title to gain visibility in store search results.
Your app may be great, but you need users.
It can be difficult to find visibility in today's saturated stores.
Consider advertising. I can recommend Twitter Ads, Facebook Ads, Apple Search Ads, and adverts in other ads, such as those from Google AdMob and Facebook Audience Network.
Take the time to set a sensible budget and target as specifically as you can, so as to maximise yield for your investment.
Is you app used?
If the answer is no, you need to consider either improving it, or pulling it from the stores.
Consider the revenue in the last 12 months. If this is a puny amount, deletion may be a no-brainer.
If it is slightly higher, imagine doubling it, trebling it. If the figure sounds attractive, can you justify your re-coding effort? If so, go for it. If not, drop it, it's a distraction.
Is your app an embarrassment?
Does your app have a dated design, poor UI, bad reviews? Is it something that you try not to mention anymore, a joke app perhaps?
In combination with considering how many people use such an app, if your app ticks any of the boxes above, perhaps you should consider un-publishing it to improve the overall image of your portfolio.
If the app was relevant five years ago, but isn't now, consign it to the past.
Change the price or monetisation model.
If, like me, you have come from a historic position of lots of Paid Apps, it can be difficult to transition said applications to a world of Free and Freemium Apps.
If sales are sluggish, you should consider this change, adding In-App-Purchases and Advertising into your apps along the way.
Alternatively, if you have paid apps that do well, consider your pricing. Crucially, consider "Am I charging too little?"
If your software fills a niche, it can easily command more than the knee-jerk $0.99 / £0.99 pricing model.
Sure, if you put a price up, you may get slightly less downloads, but at a higher yield per download you could be better off.
If your app is to be seen as Premium / Luxury, being too cheap may also be off putting, so consider a change upwards!
Experiment, consider changes, take feedback on board.
Don't be afraid to take risks, or even remove applications from sale.
Need some advice?
If you have an old app that needs some attention, do get in touch.
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