Identity Politics: Foursquare and JustEat Switch Categories in the Wake of Google’s Launch of New App Categories

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According to Q3 Data from ironSource’s Fastest Growing Apps: In a Bid for Better Discoverability, Over 10K Apps Have Joined the New Categories Since Their Release; Dating and Food & Drinks Categories See Highest Adoption

mobile monetization and marketing company ironSource

Leading mobile monetization and marketing company ironSource

Long-term, a situation where apps of diverse functionality are lumped together and effectively buried in a massive master category isn’t tenable for Google Play users, and more importantly is enormously frustrating for app developers.

Today, global technology powerhouse ironSource announced its Q3 insights from the company’s Fastest Growing Apps platform, a free data and analytics tool that enables app developers to understand app market trends by identifying the categories and apps with the quickest acceleration of growth.

This quarter’s report focuses on the impact that the addition of eight new categories has had on the Google Play Store, tracking how many apps have embraced the change in order to strategically improve their discoverability.

“With over a thousand apps added to the Play Store every day, app discovery is either a matter of luck or money. These new categories are a much needed improvement to the Play Store user experience, and the move highlights the increasing importance of app discovery as a critical problem to be solved if we're to continue seeing the app economy grow sustainably," said Omer Kaplan, CMO and Co-Founder of ironSource.

In an effort to improve app discovery and improve user navigation, Google added eight new categories to the Google Play Store and renamed two others this past July. The company added Art & Design, Auto & Vehicles, Beauty, Dating, Events, Food & Drink, House & Home, and Parenting; renamed Transportation to Maps & Navigation; and Media & Video to Video Players & Editors. Given that previously, the Lifestyle category used to include diverse apps ranging from dating and food ordering apps to shopping and connected home apps, this update brings much needed specificity to the Play Store.

“Long-term, a situation where apps of diverse functionality are lumped together and effectively buried in a massive master category isn’t tenable for Google Play users, and more importantly is enormously frustrating for app developers desperately trying to compete with over 2 million apps,” continued Kaplan.

Big Brand Apps Have Mixed Reactions
A handful of big brands have hopped on the bandwagon and changed their app categorization as needed. JustEat, for example, switched out of Lifestyle to Food & Drink, a predictable move that illustrates the brand’s desire to continue growing market share by targeting users strictly looking for food and drink related options. While a major player, JustEat still benefits from the organic searches arising from a more relevant categorization.

Tinder, on the other hand, did not switch their app category and opted to stay within Lifestyle, likely because the majority of users don’t encounter Tinder organically, but rather through a specific search.

Interestingly, Foursquare switched from Social to Food & Drink, illustrating a calculated brand shift towards local restaurant search discovery. Until 2014, Foursquare was best known for its social networking feature that enabled users to “check in” at certain locations and share their status with friends. But the 2014 transplant of that functionality to their new Swarm app, coupled with this move, implies that Foursquare is pivoting to pursue a strategy of targeting users looking for restaurants in their area.

Small Scale Apps Constitute Majority of Category Switches
The majority of apps recategorizing themselves have been small, mostly hovering below the 100K user threshold. This is unsurprising considering that lesser-known apps struggle the most with app discovery, while app giants claim a chunk of real estate at the top of store charts, along with the organic discoverability that comes with it.

Local Satellites Take Advantage
Of the big brands that have adopted new categories, most are satellite offices of fast food chains, such as McDonald’s Japan, McDonald’s Italia, KFC Delivery Chile, Burger King Germany, and Burger King Puerto Rico. Like Tinder, it’s unsurprising that the main McDonald’s app (USA), remained in Shopping and the Burger King App remained in Lifestyle. As household names in America, brands like McDonald’s, KFC and Burger King don’t need to rely on organic app browsing for installs. In specific countries, however, app discovery - and therefore effective categorization - plays a much bigger role in local user acquisition efforts.

About ironSource
ironSource builds monetization, engagement, analytics and discovery tools for app developers, device manufacturers, mobile carriers and advertisers. Our comprehensive solutions help industry leading companies achieve greater business success, enabling them to find, understand, engage with, and monetize their target audiences more effectively. Over 80K app developers are using our developer solutions, and our enterprise technology is shipping on hundreds of millions of devices worldwide, giving ironSource the ability to reach over 800 million unique users every month, globally. Founded in 2010, ironSource is a truly global company, with offices in Tel Aviv, London, New York, San Francisco, Beijing, and Bangalore. Read more at

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