By the year 2026, experts estimate that there will be 7.5 billion smartphone users worldwide. If you haven’t created an app for your business yet, 2022 is a great time to do so.
Is app development going to be a priority for you in the new year? Are you unsure of what kind of app to create? If so, this guide is for you.
Explained below are some of the apps that will be the most popular and profitable in 2022. You’ll also find a breakdown of each app’s business model, plus some bonus tips to help you brainstorm your perfect app idea.
Most Popular App Types
Before we get into app profitability and the apps that are earning the most money globally, let’s address app popularity. The following are some of the most popular app types that smartphone users are gravitating toward:
Entertainment apps regularly rank as some of the most popular apps for users of all ages. People hate to be bored, and they love convenience. Entertainment apps address both of these matters, as they provide instant access to everything from music and TV shows to digital gambling.
If you can come up with a unique way to entertain your target audience, you’ll be well on your way to developing a profitable app with a lot of staying power.
Of course, creating a unique entertainment app in 2022 isn’t exactly easy. There are tons of gaming and streaming apps out there, and many users are hesitant about branching out and trying something different.
With careful planning and a good marketing strategy, though, you can overcome these hurdles and set your company up for success.
It’s no secret that lots of people use apps to help them with their dating lives. We do everything else from our phones, why can’t meeting new people and striking up conversations be included on the list?
Many dating apps use a similar layout that shows people pictures of other app users and gives them the option to say “yes” or “no” to connect with them. From here, if both users agree to make a connection, they can begin communicating back and forth via the app. Eventually, in most cases, they’ll meet in person, too.
In addition to apps geared toward consumers looking to make romantic connections, there has recently been an increase in the number of apps targeted at people who just want to make friends and meet others who share the same hobbies and interests. Some dating apps even allow users to indicate in their profiles that they’re searching for friends and platonic relationships, rather than a chance to go out on a date.
For those who don’t want to be entertained by videos or music alone, gaming apps are an excellent alternative. These are other great examples of popular apps that will remain highly downloaded and used in 2022.
There are tons of different games apps on the market today, and new ones are being created all the time. One of the most interesting things about gaming apps is the fact that they come with a variety of ways to make money.
For example, some app developers include ads in the game and will receive a percentage of the money those ads generate. Other developers offer an ad-free experience in exchange for a low monthly fee. In-game purchases and upfront costs to download the app are also popular options.
Health apps provide users with a wide range of data that can be used to improve their health and quality of life while also helping them to make progress toward their fitness goals. From step-tracking apps to apps that monitor sleep patterns, there are tons of options for health enthusiasts to consider.
The advent of wearable technology, in particular, has caused the popularity of health apps to skyrocket.
Many wearable developers have created an app that corresponds to their devices and automatically syncs with them via Bluetooth. These apps often come with a free version and a paid version. The paid version typically provides access to extra features, such as bonus data or coaching.
Of course, we can’t forget about social media when we’re talking about the world’s most popular apps. From Facebook and Instagram to Reddit and Twitter, there’s an app for just about everyone who’s looking to connect with like-minded people and stay up-to-date with the goings-on in the world.
Social media apps aren’t just used for fun, though. Lots of businesses rely on them to build brand awareness, connect with customers, and generate more sales.
In fact, this is one example of how social media apps can make money. Many businesses pay to post ads on platforms like Facebook, which allows them to reach a wider audience, generate more leads, and convert leads into paying customers.
Most Profitable Apps
Now, let’s talk about money. The following apps are some of the most profitable in the world, and they’re likely to hold that status in the new year.
Keeping this list in mind can give you some inspiration as you start thinking about what kind of app you want to create for your customers or clients:
Pick up just about anyone’s smartphone and you’ll see the little blue “F” icon that represents the Facebook app.
Facebook (now known as Meta) has plenty of competition when it comes to social media platforms. However, it still reigns supreme with over 5 billion downloads and 2.9 billion monthly active users in 2021.
When it was first created, Facebook was all about forming online social connections. It’s grown a lot since its inception, though.
Today, Facebook also serves as a massive marketplace where users can buy and sell goods. It also features a robust set of online advertising features that allow businesses to create targeted ads and promote their products and services.
Don’t forget, Facebook also owns other popular apps, including Instagram and WhatsApp. With so many different revenue streams, it’s no wonder this is (and will continue to be) one of the world’s most profitable apps.
As if streaming movies and shows from one’s TV isn’t cool enough, Netflix also offers a popular, high-functioning, and highly profitable mobile app. Who doesn’t want to catch up on movies and TV shows while they’re on the go?
What’s interesting about Netflix is that the company has actually made its app more profitable by stopping the sale of subscriptions to new users through the iOS App Store and Google Play Store.
By pulling subscriptions, Netflix ended up saving hundreds of millions of dollars in annual fees (Apple is infamous for charging a 30 percent fee on any app purchase or subscription — something to keep in mind if you’re thinking about launching a subscription-based app on the iOS platform).
Many other entertainment companies have followed Netflix’s lead after seeing how much money the company saved (money that can then be put into creating more content, promoting the streaming platform, etc.), including HBO.
For those who are more interested in music and podcasts than TV and movies, the Spotify app has been and remains the perfect alternative. Spotify is a well-known music app that generates billions of dollars in revenue through paid subscriptions.
This app is unique not just because of its vast music and podcast library, but also because it offers a free version of its service. The free option comes with ads, but it’s available at no cost for those who don’t want to pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee.
Similar to Netflix, Spotify recently removed the option for new users to subscribe within the app. This helped the company to better maximize profits and set Spotify on track to become one of the highest-grossing apps in the world.
For international viewers, Tencent Video is a popular entertainment app and alternative to platforms like Netflix. Tencent is a Chinese company with a streaming service that is well-known and frequently used in China, Japan, and South Korea.
Every year, Tencent Video receives billions of dollars in profit from monthly subscribers who sign up to stream a wide range of movies and TV shows. It hasn’t quite caught up to Netflix yet, but with over 125 million paid subscribers, it still ranks as one of the most profitable apps in the world, and its popularity will surely keep growing in 2022.
Facebook may currently be the leader in the world of social media apps, but TikTok is hot on its heels and will become even more competitive in the new year. TikTok is a social media and video creation app. It allows users to record a wide range of short videos (the maximum recording time is 60 seconds) and share them with followers and other users.
Right now, TikTok generates most of its revenue through ads, but there are also options for users to make in-app purchases. This allows the company to diversify its revenue stream and earn more income, especially as the app’s user base continues to grow.
Many businesses have started trying to break into the world of TikTok advertising (in part because the TikTok market is not as saturated as that of other social media apps), too. In the future, there will likely be more paid advertising options for companies looking to reach their target audience via TikTok.
When it comes to dating apps, few can compare to Tinder.
Tinder is one of the world’s most popular dating apps and has revolutionized the world of online dating. It’s used by folks seeking love and connection all over the world, and it’s quickly become a highly profitable global success since it first hit the scene 10 years ago in 2012.
Tinder earns money through premium account sales, which provide users with bonus features like additional swipes and “super likes.”
Even though it’s been around for quite some time, Tinder’s popularity hasn’t dwindled, and it will likely remain popular in the future. After all, it’s unlikely that people are going to end their search for partners online anytime soon.
Of course, YouTube also is and will remain one of the world’s most popular apps.
A cross between a social media app and an entertainment app, YouTube is the place to go when you want to watch a unique video and connect with creators (as well as other users) via comments and community posts. The introduction of YouTube shorts has also spiced things up by introducing another way for creators to share content with their followers and provide a glimpse into their lives.
YouTube’s profitability is supported, in part, by the wide range of ads that play at the beginning and in the middle of videos. That’s just the beginning, though.
YouTube also offers an ad-free option that users can pay for month-to-month or on an annual basis. The platform earns money by selling and renting movies and episodes of television shows, too, and it even offers its own cable-like service, YouTube TV, for those who want to cut the cord but don’t want to miss out on their favorite programs.
App Development Tips and Tricks
Do you need more inspiration before you start brainstorming app ideas? Here are some bonus tips and tricks that will help you come up with a great plan for your business’s app:
Conduct Surveys and Polls
Surveys are a great starting point when you want to learn more about your audience. The more you know about the people who are interested in businesses like yours, the easier it is to create an app that will appeal to them, get downloaded to their smartphones, and get used regularly.
You can handle surveys and polls in a few different ways. For example, you could create an online survey and email a link to all of your company’s email subscribers.
Social media polls are helpful, too. Use the poll features on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter to gauge your audience’s interest in different topics so you don’t waste time on an app that no one wants.
Think About Needs Over Wants
When you’re creating surveys and polls for your audience, make sure you’re asking questions that focus more on needs than wants.
If you can create an app that solves a problem for your audience or addresses a concern that’s been weighing on them, you’re likely going to have more downloads and long-term use.
Lots of apps seem cool or fun at the beginning. However, if they don’t fulfill a specific need, the users are going to get bored quickly and move on to something else.
Remember, your app should be novel and interesting, but it should also be useful and easy to incorporate into your audience members’ lives. Asking need-based questions rather than just asking about opinions and preferences will help you strike the right balance and launch an app that generates a lot of revenue.
Do Competitor Research
Do your competitors have mobile apps? If so, do a deep dive into each one before you start working on your app in 2022. This will help you see what kinds of apps they’re investing in and which features you want to include in your product.
Competitor research also helps you to pinpoint what you don’t want in your business’s app. For example, you might find that you hate the layout of one app or have a difficult time navigating your way around it.
Use this information to inform your company’s app development process and ensure you create a more user-friendly option for your target customers. In the end, if it functions better and offers more features, some of your competitors’ users might jump ship and choose your app instead.
Search Social Media
It doesn’t matter if your audience members spend most of their time on Facebook or LinkedIn. What does matter, though, is whether or not you’re paying attention to your audience’s preferred platform and “listening” to what they’re saying.
You can get a lot of profitable app ideas by monitoring comments and social media mentions. This makes it easier for you to find out what problems people are facing, what challenges they’re working to overcome, and how your app can help.
For example, let’s say you run a company that sells nutritional supplements. Through your social media research, you may find that your audience (health and fitness enthusiasts) is struggling to stay motivated to work toward their fitness goals.
Perhaps you can take this information, pair it with the knowledge that gaming apps are some of the world’s most popular and profitable, and create an app that turns exercising and taking one’s supplements into a game.
Assess the Current Climate
Is there anything going on in the world right now that might be affecting people’s app needs and preferences?
If so, think about how you can take advantage of the current climate to create an app that is interesting, engaging, and solves a specific problem for your target audience. This will make your app more enticing and help you stand out from the crowd when your launch date arrives.
For example, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly influenced the types of apps that people are downloading and using most often. Gaming apps and entertainment apps like Netflix have become increasingly popular since more people are staying home and avoiding big group activities.
Consult a Professional
Finally, don’t be afraid to consult a professional if you’re struggling to come up with a profitable app idea for 2022. It’s great to know about the latest app trends and revenue-generating models, but nothing compares to an expert developer’s opinions and insights.
When you work with a professional developer, they will help you to refine your app idea and create a plan to get it completed and launched. They’ll even collaborate with you to come up with a solid marketing strategy.
Are you worried about expenses? Remember, the upfront costs of professional app development are well worth the returns you’ll receive on your investment. It’s better to spend money now than trying to DIY your app and spend more later trying to fix it.
Start Working on Your App Today
Will 2022 be the year of the app for your company? Remember this list of popular apps types and profitable app examples so you can come up with great ideas and start figuring out how to make a great app today.
If you need help turning your vision into a reality, the team at Alpha Bravo Development is here for you. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our app development services or to get a free quote for your next project.