There are more and more celebrity apps on the market. Just take a look: Kim Kardashian, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Ellen DeGeneres, Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg, Britney Spears, and many other famous people already have their own mobile apps. Even Tom Hanks has his own app. And official celebrity apps continue popping up.
Celebrities are becoming more tech-savvy, which means there will be even more celebrity mobile apps developed. These apps are great tools for famous actors, musicians, and influencers to stay connected with their audiences and strengthen their personal brands.
Why celebrities need their own apps
Public figures have always been active on social media including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Social media helps them to expand their audiences and stay in touch with fans. Now, celebrities are actively launching their own apps for the same reasons.
In 2014, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood was launched on the App Store. This app shocked the industry: in its first five months, Kardashian’s app was installed 22,857,239 times. Since that time, celebrities have been tightly connected with tech development. Let’s see why it’s important for celebrities to create personal mobile apps.
[The Kim Kardashian: Hollywood app]
To build a strong personal brand, celebrities should stay connected with their fans both online and offline. A mobile app can be the perfect brand marketing channel for celebrities.
First of all, developing a personal celebrity app is a good idea as it lets celebrities show that they’re keeping in step with the times. Decades ago, regular appearances on TV shows were enough for stars to stay popular. Years ago, an official website was a must for all stars. Nowadays, celebrities still have their personal websites. But is a website enough? Not really. Personal celebrity apps are a hot topic now.
Social media presence means a lot for celebrities and their brands. And today, you’re more likely to reach people on mobile apps than via TV. That’s why celebrities should not only be present on social media channels like Twitter and Facebook but should also offer their own mobile apps to stay in touch and engage with their audiences.
There are lots of celebrity apps already. But not all of them attract many users and become popular. To create a successful celebrity app, it’s important to keep in mind who the celebrity is. By who, we mean what kind of person the star is and what their values and purpose are. An app should reflect a celebrity’s personal brand.
Offering fans a personal app that shows off a celebrity’s personality is a great idea. Social media is full of gossip. So celebrities can use their own apps to share news and represent their ideas and values. Personal apps also help to establish strong and trusting relationships with celebrities’ audiences.
Revenue from in-app purchases
Money isn’t the last reason why celebrities decide to develop apps. Of course, celebrity branded apps bring in more revenue than non-branded apps. Most celebrity apps mix free and premium content, so they attract lots of users. Celebrity apps commonly offer in-app purchases within free apps. Users can spend money on premium content, subscriptions, and various packages.
Glu Mobile launched Kim Kardashian: Hollywood on iOS and Android in June 2014. In the first five days after its release, the game made $1.6 million. By the end of its first quarter, it had 22.8 million players and had made $43.4 million.
Another great example is Restaurant Dash: Gordon Ramsay. This app also was released by Glu. According to Sensor Tower, Gordon Ramsay’s mobile game has made more than $10 million in revenue on iOS devices since it was launched in June 2016.
[Sensor Tower statistics on Restaurant Dash: Gordon Ramsay revenue]
The Restaurant Dash: Gordon Ramsay app offers updates regularly to whet users’ appetites. The app brings in consistent monthly revenue of more than $500,000 worldwide on Apple’s platform.
Developing apps is profitable for both celebrities and mobile development companies.
Types of celebrity apps
Okay, so we know that mobile apps play an important role in celebrities’ personal brand marketing. Now let’s see which types of celebrity apps are already on the market and which ones work best.
Games are probably the biggest niche for celebrity apps. In 2014, the guru of celebrity apps – the mobile development giant Glu – launched Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, one of the most popular celebrity mobile games. Users of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood can live the lifestyle of Kim Kardashian in the game. Offering people the opportunity to live the life of socialite Kim Kardashian, the game raked in $1.6 million in its first five days on the market.
After the app’s tremendous success, many celebrities including Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Nicki Minaj, and Gordon Ramsay have tried to repeat the success of Kim Kardashian by rolling out their own games. What are celebrity games all about?
Kim Kardashian’s game lets users create their own celebrities and rise to fame. Users create and customize stars. There are tons of looks and styles, including Kim Kardashian’s personal picks. A star can be a movie actor, a model, a fashion designer, or anyone else. Stars join an interactive adventure: your personal celebrity encounters other celebs, fans, and even Kim herself. There are lots of fashionable spots in the game, so users can visit expensive boutiques, luxury homes, and clubs.
Glu made the game interactive. Users can invite their friends to join using Game Center and Facebook. Users can also help each other rise to fame, compare styles, and send gifts. But most importantly, users compete to see who can become the biggest star.
Most celebrity games are free to download but offer in-app purchases. Kim Kardashian: Hollywood also makes money through in-app purchases. Players can buy clothes and change how their avatar looks. The app also includes Bronze, Silver, and Gold subscription plans costing $4.99, $19.99, and $49.99 per month respectively.
Another example of a celebrity game is PewDiePie’s Tuber Simulator, a game by the biggest YouTube star Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, known online as PewDiePie. The game is free to download and is a simulator where players can try to become the best YouTuber. Users make videos to gain views and subscribers. They can buy different items like furniture, equipment, and clothes. Players can also use “bux” to purchase special items. “Bux” is the game’s currency, which is available to purchase. Players can connect with their friends and follow others. They can also join competitions where users vote for their favorite player.
Ellen DeGeneres’ mobile game Heads Up! doesn’t simulate the life of the popular TV host. It’s actually a fun card game that Ellen often plays with her guests on the Ellen DeGeneres show. A player has to guess the word on the phone screen as they hold it to their forehead and the timer counts down. There are more than 40 themed card decks including celebrities, movies, and animals. Users can choose to play with one or many friends at the same time.
[Ellen DeGeneres' mobile game Heads Up!]
There’s no question which charade game users prefer – a no-name one or the one from Ellen’s show. Heads Up! launched in 2013 and immediately appeared at the top of the App Store. The app was downloaded over 650,000 times in its first month. Heads Up! costs $0.99. It also offers in-app purchases of additional decks.
Mobile celebrity games work great for connecting with fans, and it’s crucial for the celebrity to participate in the app development. When a celebrity adds their personal view to the game, it can attract more players. Kim Kardashian, for example, participated in choosing the avatars’ looks. PewDiePie recorded voice-overs for his game.
Some celebrities share their behind-the-scenes photos and videos and even personal journals. Usually, this comes as a mix of free and paid content. The Kardashian-Jenner sisters offer great examples of such lifestyle apps. Kim Kardashian has not only a mobile game but also the Kim Kardashian West Official App. It’s free, but it also offers a $2.99 per month subscription. Khloe Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, and Kendall Jenner also have similar apps. They’re all free to install and charge $2.99 per month for a subscription.
Some of these apps feature makeup tutorials and links to products used. Users can also find links to buy accessories and clothes to copy the celebrities’ looks.
Such lifestyle apps help celebrities stay connected with fans. They’re also a great tool to strengthen a personal brand by showing off candid videos so fans not only see perfect pictures of celebrities on social media but can also feel a bit more familiar with popular actors, models, and influencers.
The content that celebrities share in their apps depends on what they’re famous for. Famous British chef Jamie Oliver has released cooking apps: Jamie’s Recipes and Jamie's Ultimate Recipes. Jamie shares his step-by-step cooking instructions and inspires his fans to cook.
While the Jamie’s Recipes app is free (content include photos, videos, how-to guides updated weekly, and a built-in shopping list), his second application, Jamie's Ultimate Recipes, costs $9.98. The Jamie’s Ultimate Recipes app includes recipes, photo and video content, shopping lists, and guides. But it’s called “ultimate” for a reason: the app includes more than 600 of Jamie’s all-time best recipes.
Another example of a celebrity app with useful content is Sweat: Kayla Itsines Fitness. This is a fitness app created by Kayla Itsines, a world-famous personal trainer with almost 10 million followers on Instagram. Years ago, fitness celebrities sold their programs on VHS tapes and DVDs. Today, it’s an app business.
[The Sweat app by Kayla Itsines]
The Sweat: Kayla Itsines Fitness app has multiple trainers and home workout programs. Users can track their progress and learn about nutrition and healthy lifestyles. Kayla’s app is free to download. Users get a free seven-day trial but then have to buy a monthly ($19.99) or yearly ($119.99) subscription. This app has been downloaded 30 million times and is expected to hit about $76.75 million in revenue in 2018.
A social platform for fans
Taylor Swift nailed the social platform celebrity app. The Swift Life app connects her to fans. Users can find out the latest news from Taylor herself, including exclusive photos and videos. But what makes this app special is that it lets users connect with other fans so Taylor’s fans can like, share, and comment on each other’s post.
Users can connect with Taylor also as she gives feedback on some posts. There are weekly events and daily top posts, so there’s always some new content to discover. By completing tasks, users collect Taymojis, Taylor’s version of emojis that can also be purchased in-app.
The Swift Life is free to download. But it also offers in-app purchases that cost from $2.99 up to $149.99.
This type of celebrity app works well to unite and extend a fan’s community.
We already know that it’s Kim Kardashian who sets trends for celebrity apps. In 2015, she launched her Kimoji app, a customized collection of emojis.
[Kim Kardashian's Kimoji app]
Since that time, more and more celebrities have released their own emoji apps. Amber Rose, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Steph Curry, Rick Ross, and many more celebrities have already launched their own emoji packs. Most of them cost from $0.99 to $2.99.
Celebrity emojis are a great way to strengthen popularity, as emojis are something people use almost every day while chatting.
Celebrity apps continue gaining popularity. Developing apps has proven to be profitable for mobile development companies and celebrities themselves. But before creating a celebrity app, it’s important to choose the right niche and business model. It’s hardly possible that Gordon Ramsay’s app would become popular if it focused on something other than cooking. It’s also crucial for a celebrity to participate in app development to share their own ideas and thoughts on the app.