This Week in Apps #117 - All Fun & Games...
This Week in Apps is a short, no-fluff, round-up of the most interesting things that happened in the mobile industry.
U.S. Revenue Index (30 Day)
1. High Gas Prices Lead to... Lots of Downloads
Everyone is talking about the high gas prices here in the US, and with good reason. Prices have gone up so much they're now around $5 across much of the country. I remember when it was a dollar...
Demand for two apps that help with this has been rising this week.
Those two apps include GasBuddy, a crowdsourced service where drivers report gas prices in different stations so you can find the cheapest option, and Upside, a service that offers cash back on gas.
Although they're different, the two end up doing the same thing - saving you money on gas, and that's what people want these days.
How many people? According to our estimates, combined downloads of the pair rose more than 3x in April, hitting an average of nearly 200 thousand downloads a day over the last few days. They averaged just 60 thousand in early April, in case you're comparing. And while we're at it, the daily average in January was about half of that.
Things are weird right now in many ways, which means there are, and will be, more opportunities for many apps. The key is that you have to be ready for when the opportunity comes.
Is your app ready?
2. Diablo Immortal Hits the App Store, and Users Feel the Squeeze
If you're a gamer or an old timer, the name Diablo should be familiar to you. I'm at least one of those two (I'll let you guess which one), so I've been waiting patiently for Blizzard to release Diablo for quite a while.
Now that the game's been released and has a few days in the stores, it's time to see how it's doing. For that, we'll dip into our revenue estimates.
In its first week on the air, Diablo Immortal, which was developed for mobile first and wasn't supposed to be on PC (but is now in beta), has earned a whopping $6.5 million in net revenue, according to our estimates. That's what Blizzard gets to keep after giving Apple and Google their fee.
Most of the revenue was generated in the US, which contributed roughly 53% of the total. Japan, South Korea, Germany, and the UK were the top five countries by revenue.
Store wise, Google Play added about 30% of the total, with the App Store being responsible for the larger portion. Not a real surprise here.
Here's the thing. Many gamers who played Diablo Immortal complained about the game's constant need for microtransactions and how things get very expensive and progress requires a big wallet. That seems like something more free-to-play games with big brand names are trying to do these days.
I can't fault them. Monetizing is hard, advertising has become more expensive thanks to ATT, and the competition is already ahead in terms of optimization. I expect the trend to go in that direction for more games, especially if it works, which I'd say is the case here.
3. This Plant Finder App is Crushing It Right Now!
I look at the top charts quite often, as you would expect, and lately, I've been seeing a lot more of one app I really didn't think would be that popular but is.
PictureThis identifies plants using your phone's camera. I can see the use for such an app, but given its popularity, I just had to look up its revenue. And I'm glad I looked!
According to our estimates, PictureThis ended May with more than $13 million of net revenue from the App Store and Google Play. Looking at the trend, it's clear that May kicks off the hot season for PictureThis, and that revenue is pretty seasonal. This season is doing better than ever before.
Compared to May of 2020, revenue is up 270%. The competition is barely showing single-digit growth...
PictureThis isn't the only plant identifier app out there, but as you can see in the chart, its competitors aren't even remotely close. PictureThis beats its closest competitors on current revenue and also revenue growth over the last few years.
Why PictureThis? It's not a difference in pricing. All three cost a similar amount. The next item to check is how well each app converts downloads into revenue.
We can get a rough proxy for how well that app converts by dividing revenue by downloads. Over a long enough period, this gives insightful results. And this is where we see the difference.
- PictureThis: $6.68
- PlantIn: $3.71
- Blossom: $2.25
- NatureID: $2.05
Clearly, PictureThis is doing something different. According to our ad intelligence, PictureThis is also advertising heavily in the App Store with Apple Search Ads and out of the App Store on various networks, giving it a significant advantage in terms of downloads.
Lots of downloads + a higher revenue-per-download give PictureThis the upper hand here. Do you know the RpD of your competitors? This is a good time to mention we offer App Intelligence that's super easy to access.
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4. Instagram is Getting Close! The Most Downloaded Apps
This week I crunched the numbers and ranked the most downloaded apps in the world in May. Let's look at the list, which is much like April's but with higher numbers.
TikTok was, again, the most downloaded app in the world, making its way into 54 million new iOS and Android devices worldwide while still being banned in India.
Fun fact: TikTok has been the most downloaded app in the world every month so far in 2022.
Unlike in previous months, second place Instagram almost matched its downloads. When you round to the nearest million, which is what we do in our graphics, you end up with 54 million downloads for it as well.
That's the first time Instagram got so close to TikTok this year, and a possible sign that it could eventually regain the lead. Maybe. We'll see.
Meta's trio, Telegram, Snapchat, Messenger, and WhatsApp Business make up much of the list, oh and let's not forget constant Capcut. This month there's a new entrant to this list: fast fashion shopping app SHEIN.
SHEIN has seen demand grow a lot in 2022, something I looked at in episode #110. I have a feeling we'll see more of it this summer.
Together, the top 10 most downloaded apps in the world made their way into 353 million new devices in May, according to our estimates. That's a bunch more than April if you're comparing. Actually, the most this year.
5. Let's Get Hyper Casual! The Most Downloaded Games
This week I (also) crunched the numbers and ranked the most downloaded games in the world in May. Get ready to get (hyper) casual!
Subway Surfers was the most downloaded game in the world in May. The classic title added 41 million new users to its user pool in May, the game's biggest month so far this year. It's worth noting that Subway Surfers has been the most downloaded game every month this year. Nice!
And while Subway Surfers is a great oldie, the rest of our list is full of new(ish) hyper-casuals... Although advertisers continue to complain about Apple's App Tracking Transparency, it seems that with summer coming, a hit on ROI isn't the end of the world. Which is expected.
Also on this list is a game that launched at the end of May and managed to score quite a few downloads, enough to get into our list, and that's Apex Legends, which I looked at last week. In May, Apex Legends added 16 million new downloads, leading me to believe we'll be seeing it again in June. Probably at a higher rank.
Together, the top 10 most downloaded mobile games were downloaded 198 million times in May, according to our estimates. Much like apps, May has also been the strongest month for games so far this year.
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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.