Custom Apps Whose Growth Skyrocketed

Over the past decade, the use of apps has steadily escalated. When the world was sent into lockdown, however, their popularity soared. That’s why we thought it would be fun to look at the apps whose growth skyrocketed, so we can learn from their success. 


Before we dive into the most in-demand apps, let’s check out how valuable and relevant apps have become. 

There are two ways to judge an app’s success:

  1. By the number of downloads.
  2. By the revenue it produces.

With that in mind, we’d like to share these recent
stats from Forbes with you, not only to compare the lists, but you might notice an interesting common thread.


10. Netflix

9. Cash App

8. Zoom Cloud Meetings

7. Snapchat

6. Messenger

5. Instagram

4. HBO Max

3. Facebook

2. YouTube

1. TikTok


10. Bumble

9. Hulu


7. Google One

6. Pandora Music

5. Twitch

4. Disney+

3. Tinder

2. HBO Max

1. YouTube

I’m sure it’s not surprising to see the apps that made either top ten list. However, it’s interesting that only two apps actually made BOTH lists: YouTube and HBO Max are among the most downloaded and the most profitable.


Many users actually prefer the YouTube app over the desktop version, it offers easier navigation, full-screen playback in landscape mode, autoplay, and great queuing features. Youtube also has built-in “cast” features for AppleTV and Chromecast, making it even easier to find videos on your phone. The Youtube app also allows notifications when your favourite channels post something new or replies to your comments.

YouTube is also free, or at least mostly free. The platform has introduced “Youtube Music ” a streaming platform for $9.99 a month. That price is very fair when you compare it to competitive music streaming services such as Pandora, Spotify, and Amazon Music. 

The combined free and paid content from Youtube helps to give the platform a stable base to grow from, but there are other factors that play into Youtube’s success.

  • LARGE COMMUNITY: YouTube has had a couple of decades to build a following, additionally, everyone who posts a video on Youtube is potentially expanding their community even further, by promoting their video to their audience. 
  • SPOTLIGHTING UNDERREPRESENTED TALENT: YouTube has become the holy grail for finding talent – any kind of talent, but especially musical or artistic. Having this kind of reputation makes the platform appealing to many types of users. 
  • CONTENT ADVANCEMENT: YouTube has Strategically designed its platform so when a creator’s channel reaches planned milestones (such as a certain number of subscribers) the creator is rewarded with features such as the “Diamond Play Button” which is only available when a channel gets 10 million subscribers. 

As for HBO Max, they’re not available to us here in Canada (at least not by legal means). That makes their success even more impressive though, considering the potential size of the limitation. In fact, they have about 68 million subscribers. So how did they get so popular?

  • REVIEWS: HBO Max has spectacular reviews, not just on app stores but from many trusted sources including Cnet, PCMag, TomsGuide,, Vox, Business Insider and more. 
  • WITH OR WITHOUT ADS: HBO offers a different fee structure than many streaming platforms. $10/month on an ad-supported plan, or $15/month for no ads at all. Not only is this convenient for viewers, but it’s a revenue tactic that allows HBO to earn from subscriptions and advertisers. 
  • TIMELY CONTENT: Both plans mentioned above offer nearly identical content, except the ad-supported plan ($15) features Warner Bros. movies while they’re still in theaters. With consumers not being able/or not wanting to head to the theater recently, this option is even more tempting. 

It should be mentioned, while HBO Max isn’t available to Canadians, they do plan to expand to 15 other countries (mostly European) by summer. 


Tinder, Facebook, and TikTok are also among the list of apps that have skyrocketed. 

  • TINDER: Critics will tell you, one of the best things Tinder did for their success is take the shame out of online dating. They turned it into a game by being able to swipe left or right on another user. Tinder wasn’t something people hid like other dating apps, instead, it was fun to pull out in front of friends. Tinder also offers geo-targeting, so you could see if a user was nearby and made women feeling comfortable a priority. 
  • FACEBOOK: According to Cnet, its simplicity is what makes Facebook so successful. It’s easy to keep in touch with friends, family and coworkers. More importantly, Facebook uses its branding well to maintain a consistent look and feel across all its pages and features. Facebook has also taken big steps to control privacy, which has become necessary in recent years. 
  • TIKTOK: Somehow, despite tons of bad press at their launch, TikTok still shot up to being one of today’s top apps. One of the reasons is their convenient video features. You can edit and upload videos easier than any other app. They also defined their target audience (Gen Z) and designed TikTok’s features to appeal to them. Shorter clips were a big part of this targeting. Finally, TikTok’s advanced user algorithms allow for customized preferences, which is proving to be more and more important on most apps these days. 


Some of the above characteristics to learn from if building your own app include:

  • A simple interface with consistent branding like Facebook.
  • Determine your weak spots and turn them into strengths like Tinder.
  • Define your target audience and stay true to their demands like TikTok.

Apps can be expensive and time-consuming to build, but with the recent developments in
No-code web and mobile development, it’s become easier and less expensive to design and launch a customized app for any business. No and low-code options are changing the way a lot of organizations do business and represent themselves online. It’s providing faster, quality results – whether you’re looking for a full website, an app, or a private portal.

What’s especially great about the simplicity of designing an app this way, is that you and your organization can leave the development up to no-code specialists, while you work on promoting the app for your customers to easily find, download, and fall in love with.

Interested in learning more about building a no-code app? We love to help!