Life without mobile is something most of us don’t want to face, and luckily don’t have to. Nearly two-thirds of US adults own a smartphone, according to the Pew Research Center, and 46 percent of smartphone owners say their smartphone is something “they couldn’t live without.” The average American, says Informate Mobile Intelligence, spends 4.7 hours on their phone per day—and most of that time is spent using apps.
A B2C mobile app isn’t just a useful tool or source of entertainment—it’s a technology product that helps us navigate through the world. The best, most successful apps are those that recognize the powerful, yet intimate role that mobile devices play in our lives. Who’s killing it at the mobile app game? Let’s take a look at a few of the best B2C apps out there.
When Snapchat first came out, it had an unsavory reputation as an app for sending provocative photos. It quickly outgrew this guise as users fell in love with the app’s premise of disappearing images, and the company continued to roll out exciting new innovations. Snapchat currently has 150 million daily active users and sky-high engagement numbers.
There are a number of reasons for Snapchat’s explosive appeal. First, as with every great B2C mobile app, Snapchat is simple to use. More importantly, it’s built on a deep understanding of what its users want. The fact that the photos disappear opens up spontaneity and the filters are geared toward fun and goofiness over perfection. As Rachel Simmons wrote in The New York Times, “The message from the app’s creators seems to be: Document your life, not yourself.”
2. Pokemon Go
Pokemon Go set the world on fire this summer. The game brought augmented reality to the masses by sending people out into the streets to capture virtual Pokemon. Hoards descended on parks and public monuments as people chased the mythical creatures through city streets. In July, Pokemon Go had 20 million daily active users in the US and attracted over 500 million downloads in its first few months.
This app experienced viral success by bringing the digital world and the physical world together. It uses technology to gamify the “real” world, creating an immersive and highly entertaining experience. Pokemon Go gets players out and about, moving and interacting with new people, which is a big part of the appeal. Like Snapchat, it appeals to users who want technology to help them live more active lives.
And though the game experienced a decline in daily active users, Niantic, the developer, releases frequent updates to keep users engaged. On top of regular refreshes, a robust addition that includes the second generation of Pokemon is coming out soon, which Niantic hopes will bring players back and even attract new users. Complete with holiday events and fun graphical enhancements, Pokemon Go has shown it’s here to stay.
3. Level Money
The mobile ecosystem has evolved to encompass way more than communication and games. Today, it also helps people stay on top of nitty gritty “unfun” things, like personal finance. A recent survey from the American Psychological Association revealed that 72 percent of Americans were stressed about money in the past month. Level Money helps mitigate this stress.
Beautifully designed and easy-to-use, Level Money automatically calculates a user’s spendable income. It works as a “financial GPS,” providing a simplified view of essential financial information to help people make smarter financial decisions. There are tons of personal finance and budgeting apps out there, and Level’s key innovation is that users often don’t want or need a granular presentation of their spending habits. They need to know how much they can spend in the moment, learn insights about their own behavior, and see predictions that help them stay afloat.
Health and fitness is another area where mobile apps are helping people make tangible improvements to their behavior. MyFitnessPal stands out in the market for providing a comprehensive, mobile approach to health.
MyFitnessPal allows users to track both the calories they consume and the calories they expend. It’s database includes more than six million foods, making logging easy. The recipe counter simplifies the process of calculating calories in home-cooked meals and the app includes information about calorie counts in restaurant dishes. On the exercise side, MyFitnessPal makes it easy to estimate calories burned. It’s consistently rated as a top health app because it combines a user-friendly interface with a robust database that enables the app to fit seamlessly into their lives.
Evernote remains an indispensable B2C mobile app that helps people organize their personal and professional lives (productivity guru Tim Ferriss even endorses it). Evernote has more than 200 million users, and while it has gone through some ups and downs, it remains a useful tool to for saving content, creating to-do lists, making notes, scheduling reminders, collaborating, and more.
Beyond elegant design and user-friendly features, the key to a great B2C mobile app is to create a service that blends with, rather than disrupts, “real life” and provides clear value. The best apps are the ones you can’t imagine living without.