App Store Categories

Apps are listed and categorized according to the requirements a user needs them.

What are App Store Categories?

When users visit the App Store there are millions of apps to choose from which makes browsing a near-impossible task without an organizational tool. Apps are listed and categorized according to the requirements a user needs them for, e.g. for a user looking to book a holiday, they would choose from apps in the Travel category. 

Apps can be assigned two categories: primary and secondary. The primary category needs to effectively describe the app’s core function / what it’s offering to the user whether lifestyle, news or entertainment. It is this category that’s most important for an app’s discoverability as this is ultimately how users find an app. The secondary is an additional category that further improves visibility and helps an app appear in more places in the App Store. For gaming apps, there are an additional two subcategories to assign for example strategy, puzzle, and family.

Why App Store Categories are Important

The category which a developer assigns to an app is a strategic decision as there are multiple factors they need to consider to strike the right balance between context and traffic. It’s important to choose a category relevant to the app in order for users to be able to find it (e.g. a user wouldn’t expect to find an entertainment app in the games category), which in some cases could mean the traffic for that category page browser may be lower than a more popular category.   

Evaluating the competitive landscape is an important consideration; categories ranking is influenced by competitor apps and the volume of installs they’re driving (many times by paid user acquisition campaigns) so if an app is in a very competitive category it may be harder to climb up the charts compared to a category with less competition.

App Store Categories and ASO

Visitors to the App Store may know what app they’re looking for or they may be browsing, filtering search results according to their interests or needs. Describing an app inaccurately by assigning it to the wrong category would be detrimental to building traction at launch. Optimized visibility turns into healthy organic traffic and healthy app install numbers/conversion rates, all of which rely on making the right choice of app store categories. 

Ultimately, the category in which an app is assigned dictates the level of discoverability it is able to achieve when vying against competitors for a top spot in the rankings. Understanding category options (whilst adhering to any App Store guidelines) is an opportunity not to be missed and should be part of the fabric of an ASO strategy.