Why would you create a business app? The most important reason that comes to mind is brand promotion.
When you make a business app available for your target audience, you engage them on a daily basis through notifications. Plus, the app makes the user’s interaction with the business more convenient.
But an app has much more potential than that. It’s not used only for promoting businesses. The app can be the business itself.
Have you ever thought about developing a business around an app? Instagram started that way. Look at it now.
Let’s check out some famous examples, shall we? They will help us understand the approach on how to start an app business.
7 Famous Business App Examples and the Lessons They Teach
1. WhatsApp: The Agile Approach Work
WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging and VoIP service, reached 1.5 billion monthly active users in December 2017. It has users from all around the world, with 68.1 million of them in the USA alone.
This was one of the truly viral mobile apps that achieved such a status without any advertising. The users are able to send texts without being limited by their mobile operator, and such a product simply works.
You’d assume there were hundreds of employees to maintain the app and provide an effortless experience for all those users. But you know what? The company only has 55 employees and 50 engineers. It does not employ any PR or marketing staff.
Do you know what makes the team so great? The Agile approach. This is a method based on active collaboration between all members of the team. Through iterative development, they reveal problems and find solutions without being massively controlled by a supervisor.
The team members offer frequent updates to each other, and the mutual feedback helps them improve the design and functionality on the go.
When you fully create a business app and then realize there’s something wrong with it, it’s hard to make the requested changes. The agile approach works way better for this process.
2. Instagram: Offer Something Better than What’s Already Out There
Instagram is one of the most famous apps ever launched. Its founders had a simple goal: to make mobile photos prettier, faster to edit, and simpler to share. It was the app that transformed the way we take and share photos. As of June 2018, the app has over 1 billion monthly active users.
How did the founders make Instagram so popular? – They carefully researched the market and launched an app that was better than any competitive product. The founders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, addressed three main points of criticism regarding mobile photos: they looked lame, they were difficult to share with everyone, and they took forever to upload online. So they developed an app that fixed all those issues and everyone went crazy for it.
Instagram’s success is all due to the team’s approach to push the limits and develop a product that met expectations we never knew we had
3. Uber: Find a Gap in the Market and Fill It In
Taxi rides are expensive. Public transport is not the most convenient option. Not everyone can drive their own car. This was a huge problem until Uber hit the streets. The company found a solution that combines taxi, public transport, and private vehicles.
All you need to do is install an app and enter your destination. You’ll easily find a driver near your location, and you share a ride to your destination. That’s a more affordable, less polluting, and more effective approach to getting your ride.
This is an important lesson to learn. If you’re wondering how to start an app business, you should scan people’s needs and provide something that no one else thought of.
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4. Clear: Teasers Work!
It’s not the first to-do app to ever hit the App Store. Clear Todos offered something that people could already get from other apps: planning and time management. But the developers made a cool, functional product that made it easy for people to control distractions.
Since most people who needed productivity apps were already using them, the Clear team needed good marketing.
Before the Clear Todos app was launched, it got loads of coverage from tech blogs. Influencers tested the beta version and shared their impressions. The developers launched impressive teaser videos and they went full on with media coverage.
This is how you do it.
350K people purchased the app within the first nine days after it was launched. It costs $4.99 in the App Store, and people were willing to buy it although there are tons of free productivity apps they could use. Think about it!
Related content: The Ultimate Guide for Mobile App Marketing 
5. Camera+: Invest in a Masterful Social Media Campaign
Camera+ came out as a more powerful alternative to the default iOS camera app. It has advanced features and cooler filters, as well as integrated sharing with social media and Flickr.
The app was heavily promoted on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and other platforms as part of its launch. With so many free apps in the App Store, this one definitely needed an aggressive promotion to convince people it was worth paying for.
The launch campaign was brilliant. The team gave out camera equipment valued over $10K. The contest caught great attention in the online community of photographers.
The team also used blog articles to educate their target audience and explain why people needed this app. The result?
Camera+ became Apple’s App of the Week as soon as it was launched!
6. Evernote: Focus on Progressive Growth
Evernote is the most popular multi-functional app in people’s phones. It’s great for time management, task lists, note-taking, and document archiving.
In July 2017, Evernote had 220 million users. That’s the last number we have. By now, it’s probably greater.
No; the app didn’t get all these users within a week, month, or a year. It was launched in 2007 as a simple note-taking app, but it grew more than we can all imagine.
In 2017, Evernote raised its prices. That didn’t turn its users off, though. Chris O’Neill, the company’s CEO, said that they doubled the number of subscribers over 2016 and 2017, and the premium subscribers were at a peak number at the moment when he made that statement.
What’s the lesson? Growth. The development doesn’t stop with the initial launch. Your business app constantly needs new features, and they have to be great.
7. Snapchat: It’s All About the User Experience
Snapchat was first introduced among Stanford University students, as a multimedia messaging app. It became really popular once high-school students started using it.
The group messaging feature brought a different type of experience for the users. It was easy to send a message to a selected group of friends. Since the messages disappeared after being open, people started getting really personal with the messages.
What’s the lesson? When thinking about user experience, you should find a specific problem that your target users have.
The Snapchat team realized that it was difficult for people to communicate with selected friends through the apps that were already there. So they developed such an app.
People are always after new experiences. So, try to think of something different!
Did You Learn Your Lessons?
App development would’ve been easier if you could just copy what’s already out there.
Hey; that may work for some businesses. If you have a store and want an app that features active promotions, you don’t have to get too creative. But in that case, the app would be a supportive tool for your business.
If you want the app to be a business by itself, you have to get more creative. Treat it as a product that will gain you a great income. Did you get inspired by the examples we listed above?