We hear talk about the digital revolution and we think that is a thing of the past, that we already live in a digital world. The truth is that the digital transformation of our daily activities and environments still goes on and it doesn’t seem to come to an end. It is only recently that we have begun to grasp the meaning of the „digital” concept and we become familiar with „digital apps”. Until society and the tech market comes up with something new. But until then, let us get better acquainted with what we generally call applications (without which our lives and professions would seem so more difficult).

1. What is a digital app? 2. What is the most used app in the world in 2022? 3. What are the top 10 used apps? 4. Top 5 Digital Apps Any Business Should Use 5. Top 10 Free Digital Marketing Apps in 2022 6. How many digital apps are there? 7. What is digital application development?

1. What is a digital app?

When we hear the word ”app”, we automatically think of ”mobile apps”, like the ones that populate our mobile devices. So what are digital apps?

According to IGI Global publisher,

” a digital application (also called an app) is simply a computer program created to carry out or facilitate a task on a computing device.”

However, not all computer programs can be called applications. Digital is the opposite of analog. Whenever you perform a task that otherwise would have required a series of physical steps and now it only needs a computing device (laptop or smartphone, for instance) and Internet connection, then it means you are using a digital app. Think of banking operations: the physical writing, sending, and cashing of a check versus internet banking via digital banking apps on your smartphone or in a browser.

Digital describes the method of putting tasks into practice via the digitized environment. When we refer to web apps or to a mobile app, the difference stands in the endpoints, the vehicles that transmit and process digitized information.

We are used to call digital apps those web or mobile applications used to communicate and to connect with other people (namely social platforms) – these are probably the best known. But there are also the apps used in business, such as project management or other management tools, digital marketing or mobile content apps, to name a few. You can also find digital health apps or apps for art – fields in which one doesn’t really envision a digitised interaction, but, in the end, it proves relevant. We could say that digital equals speed and efficiency.

2. What is the most used app in the world in 2022?

That is a question that doesn’t get an easy, obvious answer. What is sure is that when talking about “most used app”, we should think of apps for mobile devices. Why? Because smartphones (and smart devices, in general), are the “vehicles” we mostly use on daily basis. For the apps that we have installed. So, it would be more exact to ask which mobile app is most used in 2022. The answer depends on what you mean by “used”.

According to Forbes, the app with the most monthly active users in the first quarter of 2022 is Facebook. This “ancient” digital app remains popular among billions of users, 18 years after its launch. Perhaps the secret of its appeal is that it checks various roles. Besides its core networking function, it also provides video and news content, event planning, online shopping, gaming, and is an important part of many businesses'marketing strategies. Maybe this is the secret to its consistent popularity – the constant adaptation to the digital transformation of the world.

Furthermore, if we consider the most downloaded app in 2022, we hover over the entertainment area. According to Data.ai, Instagram was the most downloaded app in Q1 2022, while TikTok takes the first place for the most consumer in-app purchases. However, a digital app study by Sensor Tower positions TikTok as the most downloaded app in the first months of 2022.

As it might have been expected, the most used/ downloaded apps are those that offer mobile content entertainment (although they are also used for brand communication and promotion). To put into perspective, in the first part of 2022, digital app downloads reached a worldwide total of almost 37 billion. As for the downloading sources, Google Play is the leader from afar with 28.3 billion downloads, compared to 8.6 billion for App Store.

3. What are the top 10 used apps?

App tops made by various publications and organizations vary depending on the type of applications, the number of downloads, or revenue generated. We’ll consider their popularity in terms of monthly active users, as we consider it is the best indicator to show how well these web or mobile apps answer consumers’ needs and offer a good user experience.

The number of downloads is important, of course, as it indicates popularity, but it doesn’t imply that the app was further used, thus considered relevant by the consumer.

The variety of purposes is immense and so are the examples. Almost anything can be done by using a digital app. Apart from the ones that we already know, for networking, messaging, sharing photos or entertainment, there are apps for project management, marketing strategy, social media marketing, and supply chain, but also digital writing apps, apps for health, learning, for creating graphics and fonts, and the examples could go on and on.

So, let us see which apps are the most used in 2022, according to data collected by Data.ai.

  1. Facebook

As mentioned earlier, Facebook maintains its appeal to users all over the world. The fact that is no longer a social networking platform in the restricted sense of the term (getting in touch with people you know or want to know), makes it the go-to app for individuals and businesses alike, who include content marketing in their marketing strategy.

  1. WhatsApp Messenger

Having recently joint the Meta family, along with Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram, WhatsApp is no.1 among the ios android messaging apps. Having started as a casual chatting app for friends and family, WhatsApp is now used plenty for business contacts, communicating with teams, and even fast document sharing.

  1. Instagram

Although it ranks third overall, Instagram is the top photo-sharing app. Still, we can say Instagram has long overpassed its initial “photo sharing” role and it becomes a more complex platform by every year.

  1. Facebook Messenger

Having separated from its roots in Facebook, Facebook Messenger has taken off as an app on its own and gained a lot of popularity. Still, behind WhatsApp, it is largely used to communicate both formally and informally.

  1. TikTok

The big surprise of the past years is the rise of TikTok. It has the most downloads in 2022, but it appears to be only in the 5th place in terms of active monthly users. Maybe it has to do with its public, mostly young people and video content consumers. However, it becomes largely adopted by businesses, especially to promote consumer goods and a certain side of their organizational culture.

  1. Amazon

The huge platform and its many functions make it amongst the most used app in 2022.

  1. Telegram

Another messaging app that has gained popularity over the recent years, especially due to the data privacy issues and concerns raised around Meta’s messaging apps.

  1. Twitter

Twitter hasn’t lost its appeal and is still largely used for sharing news and relevant information, but also for expressing personal opinions on various subjects. It is still followed by newsrooms and publications, to get fresh info and quotes from the public figures of the moment.

  1. Spotify

Spotify is the no. 1 app for audio streaming, home to many popular podcasts and artists.

  1. Netflix

A rising star over the past few years, Netflix has become no. 1 among the entertainment apps and digital TV apps. Its original, trending content attracts more and more users and we may see it going up some positions in this top 10 by the next year.

Image from undraw.co

4. Top 5 Digital Apps Any Business Should Use

So far, we’ve covered general use (or mainly leisure) applications. Probably not surprising, business web or mobile applications were not within any “most used” or “most downloaded” apps top. So, let us see the 5 digital applications used in business that we think you should adopt to keep up with the evolving social and economic environment.

  1. Slack: remote work is slowly becoming the new office, so you need a communication and workspace app like Slack to manage a team spread all over the world or even the town. It is one of the most used management tools.

  2. Salesforce Service Cloud: this customer service platform covers many relevant functions for any business, from digital marketing to customer relations.

  3. Trello: a productivity app that takes the project and team management to an upper level; its value stands in efficiency and ease of use.

  4. Google Drive: although it may seem obsolete, Google Drive remains the preferred digital app for sharing files and collaborating on documents. The fact that most people have a Google account, makes it very accessible for anybody within and outside the company.

  5. Freshbooks: especially useful for SMEs, this accounting app renders financial tasks much, much easier and fastens a lot of core operations. Not to mention that you gain real-time valuable information for business decisions in a single tap.

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5. Top 10 Free Digital Marketing Apps in 2022

If you wanted to use an app for every operation in your company, you would need a very generous budget just for digitizing your business. The good news is that there are plenty of common digital applications used in the workplace that are free and do a good job of making your work more efficient. When you think to search for such a digital app marketing is the field where you can find a wide range of choices. Here are some recommendations for relevant, free marketing apps:

  1. Google Analytics: one of the must-have digital marketing apps; it provides the data analysis you need to understand how well your website performs and what you need to improve.

  2. MailChimp: a very friendly and efficient tool to create quality email marketing, which still offers the highest ROI amongst marketing tactics.

  3. Hootsuite: social media manager with a free plan for one user and two SM accounts. It should be enough if your business just seeks to create brand awareness. It allows you to schedule with a single tap posts and ad campaigns from one place.

  4. Google Adwords: you can set up online advertising campaigns and landing pages and look for keywords. Along with Google Analytics, it is an important tool in your marketing strategy.

  5. Google Search Console: it provides relevant information about your website traffic and performance.

  6. BuzzSumo: a useful tool for content marketing; its free version allows you to check topics, terms, or URLs and get inspired by the kind of content that is already available.

  7. Keyword Planner from Google to help choose the right keywords for the online content you plan to create in order to get more visibility and traction.

  8. Semrush: a tool for discovering keywords, too, that offers, in its free version, some basic, yet useful insights.

  9. Canva: with the free version of this digital app design gets easy and cost-free; the available templates, graphics, and fonts are rather good and can do the job well for basic marketing materials while offering a nice user experience.

  10. Grammarly: it can be placed amongst the digital writing apps, as it write-proofs texts of any type, making improvement suggestions.

6. How many digital apps are there?

That is a difficult question to answer, as the market is fast evolving. According to Statista, in March 2022 there were 2.5 million apps in Google Playstore. As for Apple App Store, in August 2021 there were 4.3 million. New 2022 data from Statista show that amongst the mobile app categories, games are on top, closely followed by business apps with a 10.15% share. It shows a clear trend of digitizing businesses all over the world.

These are numbers for mobile apps available in the main app markets. There are, however, many additional apps that can be downloaded or used straight from the browser, on their websites (like the ones mentioned above). If you think about developing one yourself, you can also check some extra web app ideas.

7. What is digital application development?

The name says most of it: it means to develop a digital app that serves a specific purpose for the consumer through a series of functionalities. To develop such an application, that would be accessed anywhere there is an internet connection and/ or a computing device, you need to employ custom software development.

Why custom? Because the digital app that you want to create needs to benefit the specific needs of certain end-users, a unique user experience while creating value for your company. Companies are different, just like people are, so there hardly is “one size fits all”. You can consider developing a digital app even if you are not in the business of software development. There are web application services for that, specialized companies that turn ideas into apps for a living.

With a fast digitizing business environment and a growing appetite for mobile devices, content marketing, and applications, consider welcoming them more into your company’s life, whether as business tools or as a new business line - why not?

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