Telegram Turns 10 and Revenue is... Stagnating. And Instagram. And Discord.

Ariel Ariel
2 minute read 9/29/23

This is a single insight from This Week in Apps - Time to Adapt. Check out the full article for more insights.


Telegram, the messaging app that promises privacy first, has seen demand growing massively over the last few years. It also started monetizing its users in 2022. That's a new trend that's becoming more popular thanks to Twitter.

Also also, Telegram turned 10 this August and added a feature that fits a social network more than a messaging app - Stories.

Companies clone features that don't always fit when revenue isn't growing as they want - is this the case here?

I've covered Telegram's revenue growth several times since the subscription rolled out last year, and in the first few months, things were looking great.

Between June and December of 2022, Telegram's in-app net revenue grew 6x from a little under $250K in June to more than $1.5M in December, according to our App Intelligence. And that's net which means what Telegram gets to keep after Apple and Google take their share.

The App Store was responsible for the majority of this revenue, roughly 75%, but that's pretty normal. But when we look at where the money is coming from "normal" ends.

On the App Store, Telegram's biggest markets include Russia, the US, China, and Ukraine. In that order. That's not something you see normally.

When you combine this with revenue from Google Play, which isn't available in Russia or China, the US wins, but only for that reason.

2022 was a very good and promising year for Telegram, so naturally, it was expected that 2023 would continue to follow the growth trend. Right?

Well, that depends.

Taking on Discord?

Revenue in 2023 continued to grow and in February, Telegram hit a mega milestone - $3.3M in net revenue, according to our estimates. That's more than double December's revenue.

But that's where the "depends" come in. Revenue dropped a bit in April, to $2.7M and remained in that area for the rest of the year.

August was an exception with $3.3M of net revenue, again, but that's an increase many apps saw if you look at the Mobile Revenue Index.

So, even though revenue grew in 2023, growth stagnated.

Is that why Telegram cloned stories? To extend its reach beyond the users it's already serving? That's not a terrible assumption, and may even be right.

Telegram seems to want to grow beyond messaging and to communities, which pretty much means they want to turn into a social network but at a smaller scale, which means they'll be competing directly with Discord.

That's probably why Telegram also added the concept of boosting, which lets users add features to a channel by paying for them instead of having the channel's owners pay. A feature I think is very clever.

Discord's revenue has also stagnated this year. Let's see what this new competition will do to it.

App Intelligence for Everyone!

The insights in this report come right out of our App Intelligence platform, which offers access to download and revenue estimates, installed SDKs, and more! Learn more about the tools or schedule a demo with our team to get started.

Are you a Journalist? You can get access to our app and market intelligence for free through the Appfigures for Journalists program. Contact us for more details.

All figures included in this report are estimated. Unless specified otherwise, estimated revenue is always net, meaning it's the amount the developer earned after Apple and Google took their fee.

Tagged: #social-media

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