When releasing your app - whether on Google Play or the App Store - it's time to choose a right category for further traffic growth.
The right category can be a potential path to discovery. Understanding categories is an important part of the overall App Store optimization strategy. Choosing the right category can lead to more visibility.
Why is choosing an app category important?
There are 24 app categories on iOS and 33 categories on Google Play.
The wide variety of apps and different categories, such as games, education, business, health and fitness, can be a huge challenge for developers to choose when releasing a new app or game. For app business owners, you must identify the most popular app categories among app users and then decide to design and develop your app accordingly.
Defining the right category for your app will help users find it more easily. It will also prevent you from being penalized by app stores that consider mis-categorization a violation of their rules.
Strict rules set by Apple & Google Play
Apple says that categories on the App Store "help users discover new apps that meet their needs. Major categories are especially important to the discoverability of apps. Users can browse the store or filter results in search, so you'll want to make sure your app is visible in the relevant category.
Apple has a fairly strict approach to app categorization. Selecting an inappropriate category for your app violates the App Store review guidelines, under which cheating the system can result in your app being taken down.
Incorrect categorization is also considered a violation and cheating by Google Play. If an app's category is irrelevant, it is considered false or misleading information and Google Play does not allow such apps.
Choosing relevant categories for your app in Google Play is also important for your app discovery.
When exploring Google Play, users tend to focus on the apps that are recommended to them.
One such recommendation is called a "similar app". When users scroll down in a particular app list, they can see this title and a list of similar apps. Typically, "similar apps" are products that fall into the same category as the main app they are viewing.
As browsing/exploration traffic becomes more and more important, it is important to identify relevant categories for your apps.
Click "Learn More
" to drive your apps & games business with ASO World app promotion
Categories of Android apps
When you look at the Google Play bottom navigation bar, you will see 4 tabs available - Games, Apps, Movies, and Books
. This menu helps users to find the desired app faster and easier. This does not mean that these are the categories that developers will use when listing their apps.
Under "Categories" in your app listing, you will need to fill in several fields.
Application type: Applications; Games.
Categories: 32 categories in apps; 17 categories in games
Tags: up to 5 tags related to your app
Content Rating: You need to fill out a questionnaire in order to rate your app. Unrated apps can be removed from Google Play.
Defining whether your product is an app or a game should not be a problem.
Within the app types, you will need to choose between 32 categories such as Business, Event, Communication, Parenting, Productivity, Sports, Tools, Lifestyle, Education, Entertainment, Photography
Select the category that is most relevant to your application.
If you are in doubt about the best category for your app, browse the types of apps in a particular category to see what is available there. The easiest way to do this is to click the "Category" button in "Apps".
For example, under "Personalization" you will find launchers, wallpaper and theme apps, icon and emoji packs, different fonts, etc.
Under "Tools" you will find calculators, memory cleaners, remote controls, recording applications, VPN products, browsers, etc.
What about Android games?
There are 17 categories of game apps: Action, Adventure, Arcade, Board, Cards, Casino, Casual, Educational, Music, Puzzle, Racing, Role playing, Simulation, Sports, Strategy, Trivia, and Word
Examples of the different games can also be easily found through the "Games" menu in Google Play.
Another thing that will help categorize Google Play apps is the tags introduced by Google in August 2019.
According to Google, tags "may affect where your app display on Google Play, as well as the peer group with which you are compared against." Developers are encouraged to add up to 5 tags related to their app and game genres.
You'll also notice the "Family" tab in the "Apps" and "Games" menus.
These apps are designed for children and families participating in families program.
To participate in the program, all developers must submit the Target Audience and Content Form by September 1, 2019. Google then reviews the applications and determines whether the app is appropriate for children and families.
Apps designed specifically for children under 13, as well as products with a broader target audience that includes children, must meet the Family Policy Requirements.
Types of apps: iOS App Categories
Unlike Google Play, where you can only assign one category to an app, you can add two categories to an iOS app - a primary category and a secondary category.
For example, if you have a diet app, you can set the primary category to "Food & Drink" and the secondary category to "Health & Fitness" or vice versa, depending on the specifics of your app and how you want to position it.
As mentioned earlier, primary categories are especially important for discovering your app in the Apple App Store.
There are 24 categories in the App Store. Among many others, you can choose between News, Books, Navigation, Business, Education, Photos & Video, Finance, Productivity, Lifestyle, Social Networking
, and more.
When deciding on a category, Apple recommends keeping in mind the purpose of your app when choosing a category. It's also important to know your users, how they look for apps, and where they look for them.
Finally, you can research which categories contain apps that are similar to your app type and make an informed decision about your app.
What about iOS games?
In some cases, your app is entitled to be found in multiple categories. If you have a game app, you can choose up to two subcategories, which can be Action, Adventure, Board, Strategy, Racing, Role Playing
Your app is designed for children under the age of 11. First, it should meet the App Review Guidelines for Kids Apps.
Assuming it is approved, it will be placed in the Kids category. In addition to that, you can add two other categories to your app, such as Games, Entertainment or Education.
How do app categories affect ASO?
App Store Optimization is the process of optimizing your app in the Apple App and Google Play stores to increase its visibility in search results and improve its conversion rate.
Since the category you choose for your app affects the way users see it in the app store, app categories play a critical role in your ASO efforts - especially when it comes to relevance and competition.
Let's take a quick look at:Relevance
: You need to make sure that the category you choose is actually relevant to your app. This is important for two reasons: First, because app store guidelines prohibit app developers from placing their apps in irrelevant categories. Second, because users browsing a specific category are more likely to download an app that matches the one they are currently looking for.Competition
: If your app can easily fall into multiple categories, we recommend choosing a category with less competition. This way, your app has a better chance of ranking high in the charts and attracting new users organically. Top developers invest millions of dollars each month to promote their apps. If you can't reach this level of spending, consider choosing a relevant category that has fewer "heavy hitters".
If you choose an app category that is highly relevant to your unique app but won't be outperformed by your competitors, you'll get more showings and better conversions.
Think about it, fewer competitors means your app ranks higher in search results, which translates into more eyeballs for your app. Once users click on your app, relevance will help increase conversions because your app will meet the needs of the people viewing it.
Choose the perfect app category for your app
Now that we know what app categories are and how they affect ASO, we can discuss choosing the perfect category for your unique app. Simply follow this three-step process.Prioritize relevance
: Most importantly, make sure the category you choose is relevant to your app.You can't compromise here. Your category must fit your application.Conduct a competitive analysis
: After narrowing down the list of potential categories to a few relevant ones, research the developers whose apps rank high in them. Ask yourself questions like, "What do these apps have in common?" and "Are these developers investing heavily in UA?" and "How many installs do they get per day?" Make your choice
: All that's left to do is choose a category for your app. Do your best to balance the relevance with the information you found in your competitive analysis. In an ideal world, you'll find a category that fits your application perfectly, but doesn't crawl alongside your financially strong competitors.
Choose the right category for your app, but don't stress about it! If your first choice doesn't work for you, you can always change your app category.
To learn more about keyword optimization, you can check "How to Conduct Competitive ASO Keyword Optimization Analysis
" of our previous articles.
Try a different app category
Categories should not be changed at your will. We recommend changing your app category only if your app is not performing well or is not relevant to the category it is currently in. If this is the case, please keep the following three points in mind.Analytical Competition
: Once again, you will benefit from changing categories before and after two analytical competitions. If one of your top competitors changes categories, but then returns to the category they were in before, you may conclude that the category they tried to switch to is not working for them. Again, we can assume that a permanent change in the category produces a favorable result. Consider all of these factors when adjusting the category display position of your application.Adjusting the entire app strategy
: When changing categories, you will most likely need to adjust the entire app strategy. A user browsing category X may be looking for something different than a user browsing category Y. Therefore, you need to make sure that the app's icons are displayed in the same way as the category. Therefore, you need to make sure that the app's icon, title, screenshots, and copy are appealing to the new audience you are targeting.
To learn more about matadata optimization, you can check "The Beginner's Guide to Create Your Product Page on iOS App Store
" of our previous articles.Be ready to change back
: Before making changes, set yourself specific thresholds, such as daily display counts, conversion rates and keyword rankings. If your app crosses them after changing its category, switch back to the category you chose before. By setting thresholds in advance, it will be easier for you to make the decision to revert to your previous category. Just don't change back too quickly. It may take a while for your app to gain traction and it may not perform well at first. Give yourself at least a few weeks before judging your new app category.
According to Statista data as of June 2021, the top 5 app categories on Google Play and Apple App Store are Games, Business, Education, Lifestyle, and Utilities. However, this does not mean that you only need to create apps for these TOP categories to have a profitable app business. With proper ASO, marketing campaigns and regular product updates, a quality product in any category has the potential to be successful.