WordPress plugins: Active releases and updates 📊
WordPress plugins constantly release new versions with fixes and new features. Some plugins receive updates once a month, others once a quarter.
But how many users receive those features? How many users keep their plugins up to date?
Maybe plugin authors develop features for a very small group of active users while others don't care.
My name is Raitis Sevelis and I work as a product manager at Visual Composer. In my free time, I like to analyze WordPress plugins.
Today, I want to look into how well users adopt major releases of their favorite WordPress plugins.
For that, I have handpicked 40 plugins from my WordPress plugin pricing report. Analyzed their latest active version adoption and release dates.
This is what I found.
The data is out there
Before we jump into conclusions, I want to share with you the table.
The table contains WordPress plugins from various categories, percentage of the latest version adoption, and the time since this version release.
|WordPress plugin||Category||Last major release||Update %|
|Visual Composer||Page Builder||1 week||17.50%|
|Beaver Builder||Page Builder||9 month||36.70%|
|Elementor||Page Builder||2 month||42.70%|
|SiteOrigin||Page Builder||4 month||38.70%|
|Pagelayer||Page Builder||4 month||43.90%|
|Brizy||Page Builder||10 month||71.70%|
|Ninja Forms||Form Builder||7 month||50.00%|
|weForms||Form Builder||6 month||76.70%|
|Fluent Forms||Form Builder||4 month||70.20%|
|Yoast SEO||SEO||1 week||18.50%|
|iThemes Security||Security||2 month||37.20%|
|Ninja Firewall||Security||3 month||62.30%|
|Antispam Bee||Security||3 month||54.30%|
|Backup Guard||Backup||15 month||63.90%|
|WP Time Capsule||Backup||15 month||90.60%|
|WP Fastest Cache||Cache||1 month||35.12%|
|WP Optimize||Cache||5 month||62.30%|
|W3 Total Cache||Cache||6 month||52.10%|
|WP Migrate DB||Migration||1 month||23.10%|
|WP All Import||Migration||10 month||61.10%|
Disclaimer: Different WordPress plugins release hotfixes and minor releases that are not included. In my report, I focused on the most recent active version displayed in the Advanced View of the WordPress plugin repository and release date.
Average results of average adoption
I will start with some bold data.
Only 60% of your plugin users will ever see the features you release within a year. 🥴
I've averaged the data from releases older than 6 month and it seems that only 63.10% of users update to the most recent major version.
Does it mean you should stop working on new features? No.
Two out of three customers will use your newly released features over time. Not perfect, but not bad either.
What I would suggest, is take this number into account when calculation the ROI (Return of the investment) of a certain feature you want to deliver.
But how about early adopters and possible returns?
On average, 28% of your customers will upgrade within a month after the release. And this number will double in a 2-month period (55.16%).
After that, the growth is slowing down significantly and results in 63.10% mentioned above. 📉
At this point, another major version will likely come out to overtake the late majority.
Why? Because 42% of all major plugins release as often as once per 2 month and 35% release once per 6 month.
Not all of your WordPress plugin customers receive new features. Maybe some of them even don't know they exist.
Things change over time, but only 60% of your customers receive your features. Many sites stay outdated.
Plugin authors are concerned about it. This is why we see forced automatic updates and cloud solutions integrated. And, I believe that this trend will continue to grow in 2022 and beyond.
What do you think? How often do you release updates for your plugins and themes?
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