In this video, I want to talk to you about what category is the best for the App Store. I want to walk you through what categories you should be going after, why you should be going after them, and what to do about it.
Here, we’re going to focus on iTunes, the Apple App Store.
The App Store’s Categories
If you’re new to the app business, the first thing you have to understand is that the App Store is organized into categories. These categories allow the developers and the people browsing to organize their thoughts. Like when you only want to see sports apps, or only music apps.
You can go into those categories and each has its own lists. There’s top paid apps in the sports category or the reference category. Then, on the top level, there is the overall top list. It’s a little bit of a hierarchy. There’s the global App Store, and then there are individual categories that have their own ecosystems inside it.
Are You A Developer or A Marketer?
When people ask what category they should go into in the App Store, I think there are a few qualifications that you need to know.
The first one is: Are you planning on building a really, really great product? Are you a developer, are you looking to make something with really high quality? Or, are you more of a marketer, and you obviously want to make good profit, but you’re really more excited about the market opportunity, getting in front of people, growing your business that way? Both of these can be very lucrative, both have been proven time and time again. Just understanding which one you want to get into.
If you’re a developer and you want to make a great product, any category will work. These categories all have the ability to make money. While some may be bigger, it also means they’re more competitive. So, if you are a developer, if you’re thinking about building a really great product, if that’s what you want to do, it doesn’t really matter what category you go into. What matters is you should just be gunning to be one of the top people in that category.
Now for those who are more of a marketer type just like myself, you obviously need to build a great product. In the app business these days, if don’t build something that people want, or like, you’re not going to last very long. But as a marketer, there are categories that are better than others, in terms of getting to the top, or making money, or finding opportunities.
Looking at Categories and Groups of Buyers
The first thing you want to do is, not to look at the categories, but look at the groups of people, and specifically, which of these categories have people that are buying stuff already elsewhere.
I would look at something like Shopping, and Health and Fitness. But I’m not sure about Education.
So if you are a marketer looking for opportunities, the key is to go to the categories and identify those that have the biggest group of buyers. A lot of this comes down to just your own market research.
My Favorite Categories
From my own experience, my favorite ones are Finance, Health and Fitness, Shopping, and Entertainment. I think those four categories have been proven time and time again, that people will buy products, not only in the category but when they’re outside the category as well.
Categories that are Heavy on Content
The final piece that I would tell you when you’re picking your category is to focus on categories that rely heavily on content.
You want to focus on categories that have a lot of content that people consume on a regular basis. Which of these categories have lots of videos, lots of photos, lots of blog posts you can write, that have a podcast, or anything around that category?
Health and fitness, and finance are great examples of this. You can send daily content to people.
When you’re picking your category, you want to focus on one that has a lot of content that you can eventually give to your users, both inside the app and then outside the app, on your Facebook page or your email marketing. Because it’ll make a huge difference over the long term as you build up your app business.
Eventually, when you grow your business, the biggest and best way to make more money with apps over the next few years is going to be to create content and give people more of a brand experience. But you got to have content going into the app and going into your brand, and certain categories are just better for content than the others.
My Category Picks
Again, my picks: Finance, Health and Fitness, Entertainment, and Shopping. I love those categories for the next year or two, but those are only my picks. Just looking at the App Store categories right now, I think that any of these could do really well.
So, I hope this is helpful, and I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below what categories you are looking at, what categories are you thinking about going after, and let me know what you think.
Thank you Carter for great information. I have. Even following your blog for a while, very high level and useful contents! I am a newbie in app business, and going to launch my first app soon. So category is : lifestyle/shopping. 🙂
Hi Carter, very interesting thanks! I wonder how you would find interesting opportunities within a specific category (say finance). Do you have any criteria that you check existing apps on?
@Simon – The key is to research the people using the finance apps, not other finance apps. Identify the kind of products and services they buy already and use that as your business model (just inside an app).
Thanks Carter – Been following you under the radar since the start of this year, must say, tons of your advice has been acted up on – Thanks so much!
Again you post another thought provoking post, always looking for those little details that give the extra edge and this blog post is one of them.
I’m developing a game, what category is best for that ? Would you like to check out the trailer for my game ?
Entertainment is my pick. What do you think. Enough content?
I would go with Casino all day.
@Matthew – Nice! Definitely would love to check out the trailer to your game. You can send it to email@example.com. As far as picking a category, I’d pick the category the closest represents your game so your users can find it when browsing. A MORE important question is, WHO is your user, WHERE can you find them, and HOW can you convert them into a customer? Find the answer to that question, and you can easily jump from a few downloads a day to a few thousand downloads a day. My Facebook Audience Insights mini course is a great place to start to learn more about finding and targeting prospect customers.
@Linda – Entertainment is one of my favorite categories, especially recently with all the success of emoji apps. What I’d ask you is:
1) is there proof in the Entertainment category that your app idea has a demand?
2) how would you make your app unique and standout from other competitors in the Entertainment category?
If you can find out whats working and make it even better, you will dominate a category.
Hi Carter, many thanks for this post! I really like that you separately talked to both developers and marketers.
As a professional software developer I will, of course, go on the developer way. As I always loved video games, I will definitely choose the “Games” category.
On mobile most of the games I usually play are endless running-jumping games. That’s why I’m currently working on a vertical jumper game, based on a flappy bird style control mechanism.
For the monetization part I would start with ads.