Video Monetization

Community Apps: The Top 6 of 2024 Ranked & Reviewed

By James Johnson
10 Min Read
image showing group of people gathered around a community app on a phone

If you’ve landed on this post, you’re probably just starting your journey of exploring the best community apps on the market right now.

But: 

There are lots of options out there, and many of the platforms can look and feel the same. How are you supposed to know which one is right for you?

Well, in this article, I’ve got you covered.

I’m going to walk you through the most popular community apps of 2024, looking at different use cases, to help you make an informed decision.

Let’s go…

What to Consider When Choosing Your Community App

Where you choose to build your own community app is a BIG decision.

We’ve worked with thousands of community-driven creators and we know just how much it can impact the long-term success of your business. 

As a creator myself, I’ve found this process gets a lot easier if you’re clear on:

  1. Why you’re building a community app
  2. What you want to achieve with your community

Why?

Because the features of your online community apps will need to align with the needs of the business you want to run, and the community you want to foster.

If you’re a YouTuber looking to monetize your audience, you’ll need one kind of app. If you’re focused on online course platforms, you might need a different one altogether. 

In this guide, I’m going to do my best to help you make sense of what platform best fits your needs, based on real-world experience and existing customer insights.

But, there are some key elements you should pay close attention to, no matter what you’re trying to achieve:

  • User experience: your community app should be easy for both you and your customer to use and navigate
  • Content management: the features should make it easy to upload and interact with your content, in the way you think is best for your community
  • Monetization: your app should offer monetization opportunities that suit your business, like subscriptions, one-off payments or premium access
  • Privacy and security: look for robust security features that protect user data, privacy, and keep your content safe
  • Engagement features: pay attention to interactive features like polls, live streaming, and group segmentation to keep members active and involved
  • Analytics: get valuable insights to help you better understand your community app and make key changes to improve your offering
  • Support: because there’s nothing more frustrating than when you’re stuck and you can’t get help!

You can also check out some of our online community examples if you want to get an idea of the look and feel of a community, before diving into any decision making.

How I Built This Community Platform List

The order of this list has been based on the G2 Rating for all of the community apps. 

This is an independent score based on ratings by real customers and reviewers. It’s a bit like TrustPilot or TripAdvisor, but for software.

example of G2 reviews of best community apps

Each review contains a link back to the G2 review  page, so you can go through and see what real customers have to say about the platform and their experiences.

The 6 Top Community Apps, Ranked

1. Circle

Best For: creators looking for advanced customizations options.

G2 Rating: 4.9 out of 5

Reasons to use: 

  • Advanced community customizations 
  • Effective moderation tools
  • AI content co-pilot
  • Unique workflows
example of circle community apps

Circle is a comprehensive online community app that focuses heavily on engagement and managing large online communities. It was founded by ex-Teachable employees, so comes with a strong foundation as a course builder with educational features.

Because they combine this foundation with advanced features, like live community events and group meetings, they’ve quickly become a favorite among entrepreneurs and educators looking to build on an existing brand or community they’ve built elsewhere.

In fact, their most successful customers typically migrate from existing community spaces, like Facebook Groups, using Circle to improve on their offering and create a more immersive and brand-led environment.

Building a circle community is probably the best option for you on this list if your primary focus is community, and content creation is only a small part of your offering.

Some notable users of Circle include:

What Customers Say

“The team at Circle is incredible — they’re kind, knowledgeable, and go the extra mile. The technical support is quick and top-notch, the account managers are SO invested in our company’s success and go out of their way to provide strategic support whenever they can, and their sales team takes more of a consultative sales approach to make sure you end up in the right spot for your business. They’re very receptive to feedback and are always building out and refining their features based on customer thoughts.” 

– Candice A, Verified User

“Circle is exactly what I was looking for in a community platform- not tied to social media, lots of control of aesthetics, etc. Also, their customer service is top notch. They have so many group coaching opportunities, and opportunities to talk with people one on one about the service, and pain points. It’s almost like business coaching programs are included. All the examples they provide make it easy to succeed!” 

– Leyla S, Verified User

Pros of Using Circle

  • Robust engagement tools: solid tools that balance user interaction without causing notification fatigue
  • Advanced features: including live streaming, online courses, and detailed member profiles and badges
  • Branding: customize your community space to align with your brand

Cons of Using Circle

  • Basic support: email support and a help center, but no live chat or real-time support 
  • Limited analytics: basic insights provided, but could be have a more comprehensive platform
  • UI customization: though you can change the branding, editing options to make a more intuitive interface are limited 

Circle Pricing

Circle offers 3 pricing options and a 14-day free trial:

  • Professional: $99 per month
  • Business: $219 per month
  • Enterprise: $399 per month

You can also explore custom pricing on their Circle Plus platform.

2. Uscreen

Best for: established video creators who sell digital products.

G2 rating: 4.8 out of 5

Reasons to use:

  • Video and community all in one place
  • Create tiered subscription plans to maximize recurring revenue
  • Superior video capabilities
  • Browser- and app-based streaming for better accessibility
  • Outstanding customer support
uscreen community page example

Uscreen is an all-in-one membership platform and community app built for video creators. They’ve helped creators  build a thriving online community around their content!

They believe that valuable content is key for long-term sustainability, so they built their platform to put your content center stage. 

Uscreen lets you easily create a paid membership platform that includes on-demand video, a customizable library, live streaming, and a white label community builder. All of this can be done in your own branded membership site and mobile and TV apps.

In their experience, starting with a paid community can blur value propositions, so they make it easy to clearly define the value you deliver through premium content and community interaction.

This means you can build a stronger brand, create a more loyal community, and maintain a successful community app.

View An Online Community For Yourself…

If you want to get an idea of what video-first online community platforms hosted on Uscreen look like, take a look at Jump Rope Dudes.

homepage of the jump rope dudes community website

As part of their online fitness platform, they’ve created an accessible community where people can actively share their progress and milestones with other like-minded jump-ropers.

There are videos, images, and text-based updates, as part of their standalone community content. They also use this like accountability tools for people to share their progress.

screenshot of community post from the jump rope dudes community website

Jump Rope Dudes currently have their platform open to the public, so you can take a look at a live and active Uscreen community by clicking the link here.

What Customers Say

“Uscreen’s communties features has been a gamechanger for us. It helps us to connect with our customers daily, to keep them engaged, and the feedback we recive from our community members is that this daily connection with us is what keeps them subscribed.” 

Mark A., Verified User

“I love how easy it is to set up your content inside the membership and how you can manage everything from one dashboard, including sales, marketing, customers, and community. My favorite part is that you can build your app to deliver a much better experience for your members. Customer support is also excellent!” 

Juan G., Verified User

Pros of Using Uscreen

  • Video-first: built for video creators who want to add a community to their content
  • Monetization tools: design your own tiered subscription to maximise recurring revenue
  • Browser-based experience: an additional browser-based user experience broadens accessibility for your audience 
  • Branded mobile app option: use our white-label app builder to create an app around your brand identity

Cons of Using Uscreen

  • Video-first (again): not built for communities that aren’t driven by video content
  • Entry-level features: lacks functions like direct messaging and group meetings

Uscreen Pricing

Uscreen pricing comes in 3 plans:

  1. Growth: $149 per month + $1.99 per paid member, per month. Best for creators focused on growing a small video membership online.
  2. Pro: $499 per month + $0.99 per paid member, per month. Best for serious creators growing a robust community on mobile & web.
  3. Plus: Custom pricing. Best for established creators needing full brand control on all devices. 

It’s simple with Uscreen.

Build, launch and manage your membership, all in one place.

3. Mighty Networks

Best For: Creators who want a community-first approach, with advanced community features

G2 Rating: 4.6 out of 5

Reasons to use: 

  • Powerful community engine
  • Intuitive course platform
  • Monetization tools
  • Group chat events
mock up of mighty networks community platform

Mighty Networks is a well-established name in the community platform space. They’ve been around for a long time, and have a great reputation! 

They’re a great platform to explore — much like Circle — if the goal of building your own app is more community than content. This is especially true if you’re building around a B2B or professional services niche. Many of their most successful customers are focused on HR, entrepreneurship, and financial services.

Mighty Networks has been around for a (relatively) long time, so they’re a safe bet if you’re looking for a platform that will be around for the long haul. This extra time has allowed them to develop a comprehensive suite of existing tools — one that’s both a selling point and overwhelming for new users.

Check out some of their notable communitiesbelow to find out more:

What Customers Say

“Customizing the site, adding content, and all the options for branding are very helpful. The build-out was easy to use, and there was help when we got stuck.” 

– Alicia P, Verified User

“I work for a nonprofit with a membership component. We have seen our community blossom over the past year, since we’ve been using Mighty Networks. Customer support is great and available to both us and our network memberships. We have a bit of a complicated network and Mighty has been very helpful in getting things set “just right.” MIghty rocks!” 

– Cindy L, Verified User

Pros of Using Mighty Networks

  • All-in-one platform: bring together courses, memberships, and private spaces in one cohesive platform
  • Advanced engagement tools: including virtual events, group calls, polls, and discussions
  • Mobile accessibility: native mobile apps allow for on-the-go access

Cons of Using Mighty Networks

  • Limited integrations: harder to pair with 3rd-party software compared to other platforms
  • Learning curve: it can take a while to get proficient with their dashboard and features
  • Support limitations: for non-US customers, support can be lacking or slow

Mighty Networks Pricing

Mighty Networks has 4 pricing options:

  • Courses: $99 per month
  • Business: $179 per month
  • Path-to-Pro: $360 per month

If you’re interested in Mighty Pro, you’ll need to speak to a sales advisor.

4. Thinkific

Best For: established online course creators who want to add a community app

G2 Rating: 4.6 out of 5

Reasons to use: 

  • LMS capabilities
  • Easy customization of community apps
  • Marketing tools
  • Simple to add an integrated blog
visual representation of thinkifics community platform

Thinkific is typically known as an online course platform which may make them seem an unusual addition to this community app platforms list. However, with the addition of their “Learning Communities”, they’ve become a strong community app for their target audience of people running a more conventional online course business model.

If your main priority is to create online courses and an active community is an added bonus for your students — or a new facet of your business you’re testing — then Thinkific might be a great choice for you.

Their features are somewhat basic when compared with other platforms on this list, but this contributes to making a community app an easy thing to manage around your course content. 

If you’ve been running this on social media community so far, Thinkific lets you bring everything onto the same platform and boost your earning potential while reducing the “oh god I forgot to check Facebook” headaches.

You can learn more about Thinkific’s community apps from some of their users below:

What Customers Say

“We love the ability to create an entire online learning environment. The analytics and insight into student behavior is also very valuable. The customer service and support has been really helpful to make sure we’re getting the best out of what Thinkific Plus has to offer.” 

– Kat P, Verified User

“The platform itself is very easy to use and navigate, though limiting with customization features. Thinkific have taken a lot of our feedback and improvement suggestions on board and we’re looking forward to seeing how they grow. It’s a great platform that has so much potential to grow into an amazing one and would recommend it to anyone looking for an affordable LMS that is easy to administer.” 

– Paul B, Verified Use

Pros of Using Thinkific

  • Ease of use: drag-and-drop builders and pop-up guides that make creating courses and communities intuitive, even for those without technical knowledge
  • No transaction fees: no transaction fees, ensuring that all revenue generated from sales goes to the creator (credit card processing charges may apply
  • LMS integrations: perfect for large scale educational communities

Cons of Using Thinkific

  • Course-first platform: extremely limiting for creators outside of the course space
  • Lack of sales features: hard to build funnels and high-converting campaigns
  • Limited messaging: members can’t send DMs or host group chats

Thinkific Pricing

Thinkific has 5 available pricing plans:

  • Free plan: create one course or one community at no cost
  • Basic: $49 per month
  • Start: $99 per month
  • Grow: $199 per month

If you’re interested in Thinkific Plus, then you’ll need to speak to a sales advisor.

5. Facebook Groups

Best For: communities looking for an easy, low-risk place to grow

G2 Rating: 4.3 out of 5

Reasons to use:

  • Product familiarity
  • Easy access
  • Community engagement features
screenshot of uscreen's facebook group community

Facebook Groups have been a staple of online communities since they launched in October 2010. And, they’re still making the list of best community apps 14 years later.

If you’re just getting started on your community journey, and want to test the waters before going all-in on a community driven business, Groups are a great place to start. 

The major selling point here (beyond being free) is that Facebook has a high level of familiarity for both you and your users. Roughly 68% of adults still use Facebook, and many are already walking around with their app downloaded on their phone. So, the barrier to entry is really low and you can be up and running in just a few hours.

However, as you can probably tell from the summaries of other community apps on this list, you will need to move your Facebook group long term if you’re going to turn this into a long-term lucrative business and thriving community. 

What Customers Say

“I love that I can continue to develop my online community, stay connected, and provide and allow feedback. Our online community platform continues to grow, and their platform continues to be a wonderful effective way to communicate with one another.” 

– Sarah M., Verified User

“The plethora of options for every category is my favorite part of the platform. One can choose which type of group they want to join within a category based on their needs and requirements. A wonderful way to connect with like-minded folks from across the globe and learn from all.” 

– Richa S., Verified User

Pros of Using Facebook Groups

  • Familiar and user friendly Interface: no learning curve to get used to the platform
  • Low friction: many of your members will already be using Facebook
  • Free: and they will likely be free forever

Cons of Using Facebook Groups

  • Restricted growth: you’ll eventually need to migrate away from Groups to maximise your earning potential
  • Off-platform monetization: all transactions will need to take place on a 3rd party platform

Facebook Groups Pricing

Facebook groups are free to use.

6. Discord

Best For: simple, free discussion communities (especially for the gaming community).

Capterra Rating: 4.7 out of 5

Reasons to use: 

  • Community forum engine
  • Chat & messaging
  • Built-in live streaming
vector image of Discord's platform

You can’t talk about online communities without talking about Discord. Much like Facebook, they helped pioneer how we use and interact in online communities over the last few years.

Discord sits somewhere between social media and a private community platform, with a clear focus on user engagement.

It’s free to use unless you charge for access on external websites, and community members can upgrade to Nitro if they want additional features like emojis and larger file sharing to use in their chat space. (This works a little like YouTube Channel Memberships, if you’re familiar with those.)

Communities are hosted on servers that support real-time voice, chat, and content updates. Originally designed for gamers and content streamers, it’s a lot less structured than some of the other community apps on this list, often feeling more like a vibrant Slack community channel.

Discord is a great place to cut your teeth running a community before you decide to go all-in on a more suitable solution. Though, it will probably work best if you’re focused on live-streaming or game-driven content.

Pros of Using Discord

  • Easy community building: tools for creating and managing communities, like roles, permissions, and custom emojis.
  • Accessibility: available on desktop and mobile devices
  • Customization: offers a surprisingly high level of customization for a free platform

Cons of Using Discord

  • Short-term fix: you will eventually need to migrate to one of the comprehensive community apps on this list long term for this to be a successful business model
  • Safety concerns: private servers can be secure, but joining public servers may expose community members to inappropriate content or behavior
  • Pretty steep learning curve: much harder to use than comparable platforms

Discord Pricing

Discord is free to use.

Wrapping This Up…

And there you have it: our list of the best community apps, for all different types of online business!

It’s worth keeping an eye on G2 ratings as they change all the time. But, there should be something in the list to cater to every creator or online business owner.

And, if you’re a video-focused creator looking to join a community, you’re already in the right place to get started. Click below to find out more about how Uscreen can help you!

It’s simple with Uscreen.

Build, launch and manage your membership, all in one place.

What is a community app?

A community app is a mobile application that allows you to host, build, and grow an interactive virtual community that people can access on-the-go. They can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play Store, and in some cases used as a web app.

What does a community app do?

A community app allows business owners, community leaders, or social media influencers to host a virtual space where like-minded individuals can connect. Community mobile apps come with community engagement features that promote connection and interaction, and also allow for content to be shared.

What are the benefits of an in app community?

There are numerous benefits to having an in app community. It allows you to establish connections with your audience through regular, direct interactions and brand engagement. They provide opportunities for monetization through memberships, content creation, sponsorships, and brand deals. You’ll have greater access to feedback, and can reduce your customer support costs, through stronger real-time interactions. You can also create spaces that are all your own, for your community to thrive and to inspire brand loyalty.

How do I start an online community app? 

You can start an online community by focusing on these 6 areas:

1. Define a shared interest and core values: what is the key element that will bring everyone in your community together?
2. Choose a format: how will your community look and feel? Will it have more of a social media vibe, or will it be a focused space with high value content?
3. Decide on a price point: how much will you charge for access to your community, if at all?
4. Pick a community platform: you can start on social media or expand to comprehensive platforms like Uscreen and Circle.
5. Customize the member experience: adjust the interface and branding to make it feel like your community.
6. Create community guidelines: outline clear rules for how people should interact, engage, and handle themselves within your community