This Week in Apps #136 - What a Mess!

Ariel Ariel
8 minute read Oct. 21

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)

App Store
405.51 +3.1%
Google Play
337.68 -8.7%

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Insights

1. Trump's Truth Social Launches on Android - First Week Numbers

Trump's social network Truth finally launched on Google Play last week, nearly eight months after launching on the App Store in late February.

I initially called Truth's move to launch on iOS first a mistake, and now, looking at the downloads Truth is seeing on Google Play after a week, I stand by my statement.

According to our App Intelligence, Truth Social was downloaded more than 271,000 times from Google Play between 10/13 and 10/18.

That's roughly 55K downloads every day except for the first one.

The Android launch also seems to spur interest in the iOS version. Downloads on the App Store, which we estimate to average around 2K/day before the Android rollout, have doubled since, and for a single day, tripled.

I believe launching on both stores at the same time would have given Truth a lot more momentum and a lot more engagement. Splitting it up really makes it tough to build an audience. Regardless of why they didn't, not doing both was a mistake.

Maybe a calculated mistake, but a mistake nevertheless.

Will this be the spike Truth needs to make its way into the mainstream? Unlikely. Truth has seen a few spikes in downloads this year, but none were monumental or sticky enough to matter. Expanding to another platform will get more engagement, but likely from an audience that already expected it and not from new users, which is what the platform needs.

It'll need something else to get those.

2. Will Kanye West Buying Parler Legitimize It Enough?

There's a lot going on with Kanye West right now, none of which I really want to think about, except for this one thing he did on Monday that is relevant to our industry.

After getting himself banned from both Instagram and Twitter, Kanye West decided to join the alternative social platform movement.

And by joining, I mean channeling his inner Elon Musk and acquiring the OG platform - Parler.

If you recall, last time I looked at Parler's downloads, things weren't looking all that great. Just a few hundred downloads a day.

After Kanye's acquisition announcement, Parler's downloads grew more than 2,000%! Daily downloads averaged around 500 per day last week. They were higher the week before, but only as a result of the app launching on Google Play a few weeks ago.

On Monday, the day of the announcement, downloads rose to 10K, and on Tuesday, doubled to 20K. It could be natural curiosity given all the news coverage, but it could mean something else.

But first, a fun fact. Excited to share the news with their "VIP" users, Parler sent an email about the acquisition which had all those VIPs in the CC field of the email. That's the wrong way of sending emails, and ended up exposing the full list to everyone on it, which leaked to the media very fast.

Ouch!

Now what? Kanye's latest series of battles is hurting his popularity but isn't killing it. He still has many millions of fans, some of which don't know enough about politics. Those fans could follow Kanye to Parler not knowing what they're stepping into.

That could be good for the platform because it'll (finally) get more users on both ends of the political spectrum, but it's also possible those new users won't bring an opinion from home and rather let what they see on Parler shape their opinion.

I'm not taking any sides here and just looking at the data.

3. Amazon's Second Prime Day of the Year Didn't Really Impact Downloads...

Amazon tried something interesting this year by attempting to kick off the holiday shopping season before Thanksgiving or even Halloween.

It did that using Prime Day Early Access, two days of discounts across the entire catalog, much like what it's been doing every summer for the last few years.

Starting the shopping season early gives Amazon a big incentive because most other retailers haven't started their sales just yet. It's also possible the first Prime Day did so well, Amazon figured it should just run the same playbook.

Did this Prime Day help Amazon grow its mobile user base? Let's have a look at the data.

According to our estimates, Amazon's downloads in the US rose 9% on the 11th, the first day of the promotion, and 31% on the 12th.

In more absolute terms, we're looking at an increase of 10K downloads and 35K downloads vs. the daily average, respectively, and that's not bad at all, but it's also not as big as what Amazon is used to seeing coming from previous Prime Day promotions.

I think this isn't something Amazon is proud of... And yes, I know new downloads aren't the main KPI for Amazon on Prime Day but it does give us a glimpse into Amazon's growth.

Even without growth Amazon will continue to do well, but not for too long, so growth is still important and the excuse that "everyone uses amazon already" isn't something I believe.

If you ask me, it was all about promotion. Or in this case, lack of promotion.


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4. Peacock's Latest Release Helped It Overtake Netflix

The streaming race got some attention again this week after mostly being over for a while. The big news was Netflix's plan to roll out a new low-cost tier supported by ads, and the other one was Peacock's domination of the App Store.

Peacock's downloads rose to their highest peak ever. That's right, ever. Our estimates show downloads rising 467% last Saturday compared to the average of the previous week, from around 60K to more than 340K downloads. All in a single day.

Peacock also topped the App Store at the same time and stuck around for a decent part of the week. We estimate Peacock made its way into more than 1.2M new devices between Friday (10/14) and this Tuesday (10/18).

The spike wasn't accidental but rather thanks to the release of Halloween Ends, a new movie that was released to theaters and Peacock at the same time. Yes, Peacock is trying what HBO Max and Disney+ are trying to move away from.

Original content continues to run the show. Not a surprise.

But there is something interesting here beyond big numbers. I compared the downloads of Peacock to the downloads of Netflix in the US to see how the two stack up. Why Netflix? Because it's (finally) getting into the ad-supported business, something Peacock has done from the get-go. Netflix's ad-supported tier isn't free like Peacock, so it's not exactly the same, but more on that in a bit.

Since Friday, Peacock has been beating Netflix on downloads.

Although downloads have gotten close in the last few months, Netflix was consistently on top and with a solid margin between them. That flipped on the 13th and is still the case a week after.

While Peacock added more than a million new users Netflix added about 400K. A third.

If you're curious why Netflix is trying to lower its price, this is exactly why. The decision to not make the ad-supported tier completely free is a strange one and if I had to guess I'd say it's just a cautious approach to eventually go free but to first see how/if it'll cannibalize their current offering.

Netflix had a lot of momentum but lost a lot of it in the last few years "thanks" in part to apps like Peacock and others who offer a free tier that includes ads. Netflix needs those viewers back, and will have to build a real ad business to make it all worth it.

The faster their ad business is built and refined the faster we'll see this low-cost tier turning free.

I'm curious to see how Netflix's free offering will go, especially because it will also apply to its mobile apps. More on that in the future.

5. Duolingo Hits Highest Revenue Ever in Q3

Duolingo is the most popular app for learning a new language. And I say that strictly by looking at estimated revenue growth.

In the last quarter, Q3, Duolingo got very close to hitting a new milestone - $100M of gross revenue in a single quarter.

It's almost there.

According to our estimates, Duolingo earned $59,000,000 of net revenue, meaning after Apple and Google collect their fees. That amounts to about $84 million in gross revenue, or what Duolingo's users gave the service to learn a language.

Based on quarterly growth this year, Duolingo will cross $100M in Q4, which has a higher-than-average revenue anyway. So, I expect a massive number!

Platform distribution is pretty standard, about 25% of this total came from Google Play and 75% from the App Store. English-speaking users are the biggest spenders with the US, UK, and Canada contributing the most, but revenue came from every country we provide revenue estimates for.

Looking at the trend, this growth isn't new. Duolingo's quarterly revenue has grown every quarter with a single exception, leading me to believe this growth is a result of great strategy and perfect execution.

Except for the whole Katy Perry incident last week, which is probably a fluke, so I'll ignore it.

But I think there's more to it. I think Duolingo is riding a wave sparked by lockdowns and the shift to working remotely.

This might be a stretch, but the move to remote work made it "normal" to conduct all meetings via video and not always from a professional setting. This, in turn, made it easier to hold meetings with farther destinations, the kind where both sides don't speak the same language.

It wasn't impossible before, but it wasn't as accepted or easy. It is now, and that could be a catalyst for Duolingo's growth.

What do you think?

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.


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