Bluesky is Open to All - Will it Dethrone X?
This is a single insight from This Week in Apps - Is Blue the New Black?. Check out the full article for more insights.
About a year ago, a new competitor to X launched in private beta. On Tuesday, this competitor emerged out of beta and is trying to become the new alternative to X but with a twist - it's decentralized, which means you can own your handle.
That new competitor is Bluesky, and what's interesting here is that Bluesky was developed by Twitter when Jack Dorsey was at the helm.
Now, Bluesky is its own entity, and after a year of being invite-only, the app is now letting everyone join.
Here's the question - does anyone care? Let's start by looking at Bluesky's downloads before it opened up.
According to our estimates, Bluesky's mobile apps saw a total of 3.6M downloads from the App Store and Google Play since it was launched back in February of 2023.
Most of the downloads, 40%, came from the US with Japan, Germany, Brazil, and the UK rounding out the top 5 biggest countries for Bluesky. The four were responsible for 28% of its downloads.
And I was a bit surprised to see the distribution between the App Store and Google Play leaned more towards the App Store but not too much - 64%.
On Tuesday, the first day of being open to the public, Bluesky saw 31K downloads, according to our estimates. The majority coming from the App Store. That's not a lot but it's about 10 times higher than the daily downloads in January.
The news must have taken some time to spread because by Wednesday, downloads rose to 104K, with Japan taking the lead and the US behind it. This might seem like a surprise but Japan happens to be a very big market for Twitter as well.
The best way to answer my original question is to compare these download figures to X's. This year, X is getting 280K new downloads per day on average, according to our estimates. Bluesky is a bit behind at this point...
Web vs. Mobile
I have a strong suspicion that users who joined during the private beta and those joining now that it's open are very very different. I say that because I looked for numbers from Bluesky regarding users and their beta numbers seem to align with our download estimates as expected. Post-beta, however, they start varying, likely due to more users only using the website and not the mobile app.
A post from the official Bluesky account announced the service added a million new users since it opened up. If all of those users came through its apps Bluesky would be the most downloaded app in the world right now - but it isn't.
Bluesky is currently ranked 228th on the App Store and 97th on Google Play.
That adds up to 139K downloads in the first two days, making it clear those new users are coming from the web and not through the app.
I suspect that means more readers and fewer writers, and those won't stick around for too long without more content streaming through their feeds.
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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.