What are the popular types and categories of apps ?

To my count, there are 6 defining categories that you need to understand before you begin developing your app. Determining where your mobile app idea fits is an important step toward making your idea into a reality.

Read on, and I’ll outline the 7 major types of mobile apps to help you determine in which category your mobile app belongs.

Those types of apps are:

  1. Utilities
  2. Entertainment
  3. Games
  4. News
  5. Productivity
  6. Lifestyle
  7. Social Networking

1. Utility apps

Utilities are the types of mobile apps that we may use most often without thinking about them as apps. Many of them come pre-installed on your device and serve a single function.

Some examples of common types of mobile apps in the utility category are:

  • Reminders
  • Calculator
  • Flashlight
  • Weather

These are the types of mobile apps that we tend to use more often, but for shorter periods of time. You’ll normally only open your calculator in order to solve an equation (like calculating a tip at a restaurant) and then put it away.

Do your best to increase the frequency of your utility app in order to successfully monetize it. Short visits aren’t as profitable, but many of them can add up to a significant revenue stream.

2. Entertainment apps

These apps are designed to… yes that’s right, entertain.

Examples of entertainment apps are:

Entertainment apps are distinguished from games apps because they often have quite different goals, even though both of them seek to entertain the user.

Entertainment apps are often educational and seek to ‘gamify’ an already existing process or activity.

3. Games apps

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The gaming and entertainment category are huge, and as such, very competitive. Games are one of the more obvious mobile app categories and need little explanation. These types of apps are popular among developers because they bring users back multiple times each week, sometimes multiple times per day.

In the most successful games, both the frequency and length of play is high. Work to make your game as “addictive” as possible by offering incentives to users who come back every day or a certain number of days in a row.

Some examples of game apps are:

  • Angry Birds
  • Clash of Clans
  • PubG
  • Subway Surfer

4. News apps

Photo by Daniel Korpai on Unsplash

News and information apps are pretty straightforward. They supply their users with the news and information they’re looking for in an easy to understand layout that efficiently navigates them to the things they care about most.

Examples of different types of popular news apps are:

  • Buzzfeed
  • Smart news
  • Google News & Weather
  • Feedly
  • Flipboard
  • Yahoo News Digest
  • Reddit
  • Linkedin Pulse

These are the biggest names in the news, and they all deliver something different. If you’re developing a news app, you’ll need to find a unique way to communicate with your users, because, let’s face it, the news will all be the same…it’s news.

Your opportunity to shine is in the way you deliver it. Create something unique and tie it into the type of news you’ll be reporting on to give it that special something your users are looking for.

5. Productivity apps

While productivity may sound like one of the more boring types of mobile apps, it’s an incredibly popular category. These types of apps help their users accomplish a task quickly and efficiently, making what are sometimes mundane tasks easier and, dare I say, fun?

Examples of productivity apps are, well, many of the products from both Google and Apple, like:

  • Docs
  • Sheets
  • Wallet/Pay

Plus apps like:

  • Evernote
  • Wunderlist

These types of apps are indispensable when they’re done right. That means helping your user accomplish a task more easily, quickly, and efficiently than your competitors. Convenient features that allow them to get from point A to point done are what set this type of mobile apps apart, so get creative and come up with a way to do things that nobody else is doing.

6. Lifestyle apps

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Lifestyle apps are where we’ve seen the biggest uptick in development.

It comes as no surprise that we want to use apps to solve everyday problems we have in our lives.

We use these apps to enhance our lifestyles and to make everyday living ‘easier’.

Examples of lifestyle apps are:

  • Fitness apps
  • Travel Apps
  • Food & Drink apps
  • Dating apps
  • Music apps like Spotify and Apple Music

Lifestyle apps tend to complement other products and services very well. It’s for this reason that sponsored advertising partnerships are incredibly successful in lifestyle apps.

For example, RunKeeper offers its exercise fanatics exclusive deals on Nike products. They then take a cut of the sales attributed to this ad.

7. Social networking apps

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Social media apps are some of the most popular types of mobile apps available. We build our social networks, and most of us check in with them every day. Facebook alone reports over 1 billion active daily users.

Naturally, we want to have the ease of access a mobile app provides. Social media apps have to be fun, fast, and continually integrating the expanding features of the social networks they support.

Today’s society shares more about their day-to-day lives than ever before. For that reason, even apps that don’t necessarily fall under the social media category may want to include social sharing functionality.

For example, let’s look at the popular running and cycling app, Strava. It not only tracks your activities but allows you to compare your stats with other people in your network (and even strangers). You can essentially form an online running partnership or even an entire team without ever meeting face to face.

Many other apps allow you to share a product, high score, or news item with your social network. They make it easy for their users to share something they feel passionate about without having to leave the app.

Consider adding social sharing features to your app if you will be providing a service or selling a product that your users can share with their networks. This functionality will keep your users coming back to share again and again while comparing with their networks.

Some common social media apps are:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Snapchat

There you have it!

Now you know all about the major categories of mobile apps on the market. Hopefully, this has helped you to determine the category your app fits under and a way to help your app stand out from the crowd..

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