This Week in Apps #133 - Already Breaking Records
This Week in Apps is a short, no-fluff, round-up of interesting things that happened in the mobile industry. Here are our top highlights.
U.S. Revenue Index (30 Day)
1. Hurricane Season Pushes Demand for Weather Apps
Hurricane Ian hit Florida this week, wreaking havoc along every inch it touched. Before I get to the data, I hope you were not affected by it, and if you were, that you are safe.
The change in weather caused demand for weather apps to spike, and for some, grow more than 1,700% over the last few days.
Clime, The Weather Channel, NOAA Radar, and FOX Weather have all seen downloads rise this week.
Combined downloads for the group hit 1 million in the last seven days. That's more than double the downloads the group saw over the same number of days earlier in the month.
Not all apps grew the same even though all apps are spending money on Apple Search Ads. More on that in a bit.
Fox Weather, which currently holds the lowest category rank of the bunch, grew the most last week. Fox Weather's downloads rose from just around 1K last Wednesday to 24K this Tuesday. That's an increase of 1,766%.
Clime, the app with the highest category rank, rose 1,023% to 229K downloads on Tuesday, according to our estimates.
The Weather Channel, the most well-known option of the bunch, grew 220% to 76K estimated downloads on Tuesday. Definitely not as much in absolute or percentage terms, and what's also strange is that it's the app paying for the most keywords on Apple Search Ads of the group. More than 7,000 according to our ASA Intelligence (coming soon).
Clime, Fox, and NOAA Radar also use Apple Search Ads with the first two popping up in more than a thousand different keywords each while NOAA Radar shows up for about half.
So if you're wondering, even big companies can do ASA wrong.
2. Dunkin Fumbles a Great Growth Opportunity
Thursday was National Coffee day, an amazing opportunity for stores to add users to their rewards programs via app. That's at least how I see it.
And this year the odds were stacked in favor of exactly one national chain – Dunkin' Donuts (or as the kids call it these days, Dunkin'). Why? Because they wanted to become a beverage-led company and donuts don't help there.
Oh, the odds were in Dunkin's favor because Starbucks didn't take part in the tradition this year and didn't offer free coffee as it did in years before.
That's a huge opportunity for Dunkin'. But...
The premise is simple - download Dunkin's mobile app > join the rewards program > get a free coffee.
But the app didn't work. Par for the course, at this point...
That's not to say there wasn't some success.
Dunkin's downloads started surging around 9am (EST) on Thursday. By 3pm Dunkin' became the most downloaded app in its category and by 6pm, less than 12 hours after the spike began, peaked as the 16th most downloaded app in the App Store.
Here's the thing, almost every other app that gave free food (or drink) for downloads made the top 5, at least.
The problem was, the app didn't actually work for many users sending many to Twitter to complain. And those complaints ensured growth stopped.
Ranks started sloping down right after that peak and while it's still the #1 in its category, it's moving down the ranks overall. I fully expect it to dip back to where it started, all the way down around #200.
Dunkin is not the first, nor last, to give something for free for downloading and using its mobile app. It's also not the first, or sadly the last, to fumble the opportunity and get negative publicity instead of amazing growth.
We've seen almost every big name in the industry go through this except for McDonald's. At least one company gets it right!
3. Demand for Parler is spiking in the least expected place
Parler's return to Google Play was met with silence with daily downloads in the low hundreds. But this week I noticed downloads spiking.
This spike seems to be very specific and... unexpected.
Downloads from Google Play in India started growing last Saturday. Rising from about 100 almost every day last week to more than 4,000 on Tuesday, according to our estimates. The majority of those came from Android users in India.
The App Store, which I kept as a separate line in the chart, didn't move an inch.
I'm not sure why demand is growing in India, where Parler was the 45th most downloaded app on Google Play, but it is interesting to see how specific this demand is.
In comparison, downloads from the App Store haven't gone up at all. In India or in any other country. And downloads on Google Play are pretty low across all other countries, including the US.
One possibility is that users in India want to see that side of politics and Parler is the only good way to get it. Rumble, the current winner in terms of downloads, isn't available in India. The runner-up, in terms of downloads, is Trump's own app, Truth Social, which isn't available on Google Play at all.
So there are no other options. For now.
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4. Canva Becomes One of the Highest-Earning Apps in the US
Canva is one of those apps that if you need the functionality you know about it, and if you don't you probably don't... That's why its latest milestone surprised me a bit. A little more than a bit!
Canva hit its highest month of revenue ever!
In case you're not familiar, Canva is a simple graphics app aimed at non-designers who need to design. It offers templates for pretty much everything, from YouTube thumbnails and Instagram stories to a video editor into a phone, and even has logos.
How much do you think all of that is worth?
I can tell you - Our estimates show $9.8M in net revenue, meaning after Canva parted with Apple's and Google's share, in August alone. That's right!
This number is impressive all on its own, but what's even more impressive is the direction of Canva's revenue growth trend, which is strongly up-and-to-the-right.
With a few minor exceptions, revenue has grown every month since the beginning of 2019.
It ended 2018 with net revenue of a little over a million and so far in 2022, which isn't close to over, already earned $77M of net revenue. And just so we're clear, this is after Apple's and Google's fees.
I've talked about photo and video editors being big businesses before, and it makes sense as more consumers shift away from laptops and desktops to doing (almost) everything on their phones. Canva is a great reminder that even pros are moving in that direction.
I see a lot of opportunity here.
5. Firefox is blaming Apple and Google for its failure, but is it really their fault?
Earlier this week, browser maker Firefox released a report that blames Apple, Google, and other OS makers for the lack of demand for Firefox.
I used to love Firefox, and for many years it was my browser of choice. But in my case, it was Firefox that made me stop using Firefox, not anything else...
According to Firefox, built-in browsers mean users won't download non-first-party browsers. If you're old enough this should feel like deja vu.
So I looked at downloads. If Firefox is right, all third-party browsers should have a fairly similar number of downloads, right?
They should, in theory, but let's see if theory = reality.
I used our App Intelligence to compare the downloads of the top browsers in the App Store right now, which include DuckDuckGo, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Brave, Opera, and Firefox Focus. Yes, Firefox has two separate apps. Oh, and Google Chrome.
FYI - There are a few browsers in the Utilities category I chose to omit because they don't come from a known brand.
If we ignore Chrome for a moment the answer here is maybe.
Of the bunch, and ignoring Chrome, Firefox is doing pretty well. When looking at downloads from the App Store since the beginning of 2022, Firefox comes in right behind Microsoft Edge with 4.8 million downloads, according to our estimates.
Edge is surprisingly more popular with 6.5 million estimated downloads. And this is on Apple's App Store, where Microsoft doesn't have any sort of magical abilities.
4.8 and 6.5 aren't that far apart, so maybe something is capping demand for browsers.
Let's unignore Chrome, the leader of the bunch and by a mile!
Google Chrome saw 63 million downloads in the same period. And like Microsoft, Google doesn't have any magical abilities on the App Store. That's why I'm focusing this specifically on the App Store.
When you consider Chrome's downloads I think it's hard to say downloads are capped by some force.
I agree that it's harder to get people to seek an alternative to something that works well, but if Chrome can do it, so can Firefox. And I don't mean to pick on Firefox here but the data tells a slightly different story that can't be ignored. And that's why I don't think we'll see a reply of what happened to Microsoft with Internet Explorer.
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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.