This Week in Apps - The Comeback?

Ariel Ariel
7 minute read 4/21/23

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.


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Insights

1. AI Art's Comeback - FaceApp Download Grew More than 500%

FaceApp has topped the App Store quite a few times over the last few years.

The app that uses AI to apply filters and became viral for oldifying people started a trend that sparked excitement and concerns about privacy, and above all, downloads.

Well, FaceApp is at it again!

At the end of March, FaceApp's downloads started growing across the App Store and Google Play after being on a soft decline since the beginning of the year.

According to our App Intelligence, daily downloads jumped from around 100K at the end of March to a peak of over 560K in early April. And, that's in one day.

Like most other temporary trends, downloads subsided quite quickly, but are still going strong. 310K on Wednesday.

Here's something interesting. While on a normal day, Google Play brings in nearly twice as many downloads for FaceApp, during this spike, downloads from both stores grew, but the App Store is outpacing Google Play two to one.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that the US is leading the charge on the App Store with more than 32% of the new downloads, but that isn't at all the case on the Google Play side of things, where the US is 5th. India, Brazil, Indonesia, and Mexico beat it, adding up to 34% of the downloads.

I figured this must have been an Apple Search Ads campaign that's shooting FaceApp to the top, but after reviewing their campaigns and keywords, I don't think that's the case. FaceApp does seem to advertise, but the campaigns aren't nearly big enough to have that sort of impact + seem to be focused on a competitor.

Is it all the talk of AI thanks to ChatGPT? Is it that people want to feel old all of a sudden? What do you think?

2. Apple Music Classical Hit a Milestone, But Is There Real Demand?

A few weeks ago Apple launched a new app -- Apple Music Classical. Exactly what you'd expect from the name, and overall, not very interesting or exciting. But...

When it rolled out, Apple Music Classical was the top app on the App Store for a few hours. Right out of the gate.

That felt a little forced to me.

Luckily we can look at the trend to tell if that rank was really a result of massive demand for high-quality classical music or not.

If you're guessing it wasn't, you're probably right.

Downloads started high, which makes sense given the amount of visibility a top app gets. Our estimates show almost a half million downloads on launch day.

The rank didn't stick for long enough though. A week in, daily downloads were already below 100K and are now heading toward the 10K mark.

Let's zoom out - since launching, Apple Music Classical was downloaded 2.1M times from the App Store, according to our estimates. 44% of the downloads came from the US and the rest were spread across 100+ countries, including just a handful of downloads from Yemen and Bhutan.

I think it's fair to say that being ranked is still a great mode for discovery. That's a question I get asked often.

But back to the original question... was the initial rank driven by demand?

Actually, maybe!

See, Apple Music Classical isn't the first app to pull off a #1 rank on launch day. It's not common, but it definitely happened more than once, and if you follow the newsletter, you may know why.

Pre-orders!

Apple (and Google) let developers publish their apps as pre-orders before they officially launch. That means users can sign up to download the app as soon as it goes live, automatically. Do that enough time in advance, promote it, and drum up as many pre-orders as you can, and a half a million isn't that crazy.

If you're a developer, this should be on your earliest checklist, even before you start developing.

3. A Closer Look at Monopoly GO's First Million

A new Monopoly app rose to the top of the App Store recently. That's Monopoly GO from Scopely.

This isn't the first, and probably not the last, app to bring the classic game to your phone. There are 14 other apps by that name on the App Store and 58 on Google Play. All are available to download right now, so there's some variety.

The latest one just crossed a milestone, and quickly.

Since launching on the 12th, officially, Monopoly GO has made its way into 1.8M iOS devices, according to our estimates. The majority, 35%, were in the US, and the rest are spread across big countries in Europe for the most part.

The game is free to download with in-app purchases, and according to our estimates, those have earned Scopely $680K of net revenue since the official launch, and $1.6M since launching in test markets late last year.

The game itself stays true to the Monopoly you know from the box but with social features, and thanks to the IP it has + a simple but solid AS strategy, it's the #1 result for the keyword "monopoly".

It's a mistake to underestimate the power of organic discovery. A mistake Scopely hasn't made in this case.

Scopely, the publisher of Monopoly GO, has been in the news recently for being acquired for what feels like an astronomical figure. I don't think that is why Monopoly GO is successful - the brand is plenty on its own.


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4. Here's Why Reddit Just Hit its Biggest Day of Revenue!

I have a set of alerts saved in Explorer so I know when big things happen in the App Store, and this week, the alert was pointing at Reddit's revenue, which grew to its highest ever on the App Store last week.

Can you guess why?

Hint - It's not because they're following Twitter's lead and going to charge for API access...

Let's start with the numbers.

Reddit's daily average net revenue from the App Store, according to our estimates, is $10K. And that's net, meaning after Apple takes its cut.

On Tuesday, net revenue on the App Store grew to $560K, according to our estimates. Just that one day! It didn't stick and dropped fairly quickly to $25K after a week, indicating this was a temporary event and not a shift.

In that week, however, Reddit's iOS app brought in $1.3M of net revenue, according to our estimates. That's about a quarter of Reddit's entire 2022 revenue from the App Store. And again, that's net, meaning that's what Reddit is keeping after giving Apple more than $550K.

You're probably curious, what's the event?

Reddit released a new batch of Collectible Avatar NFTs.

Last year, Reddit got into the NFT game by letting artists sell their NFTs through Reddit. The first batches were fairly small both in terms of artists and NFTs, and sold out instantly netting Reddit new revenue highs.

Last week, Reddit rolled out the third batch with more NFTs from more artists, leading to Reddit's new best day of revenue ever.

The limited aspect of NFTs made them extra hot in 2021 and to some extent 2022 but that excitement seemed to have died out since. Until now!

Can NFTs become hot again? Is this the catalyst?

I don't really know, but it does look like more supply = more demand, so maybe.

5. Dairy Queen's Current Promotion Nets Massive Results

A few weeks ago I looked at a new campaign Dairy Queen announced, which in my mind, marks the beginning of free-food-for-downloads season. At that time the promotion hasn't started and downloads were already growing.

Now that the campaign is almost over, I was curious to see if the rush after the announcement was it or if there's more.

There's more. Much more!

DQ gets about 6K downloads per day on average. After announcing the campaign, which drops the price of its Blizzard to 85 cents for its birthday when ordered through its mobile app, downloads grew nearly 10x. And that's before the promotion even started!

That initial wave was just the beginning. When the promotion actually started, in April, downloads grew beyond the 150K mark, peaking last Wednesday at 174K. That's in just one day. And they stayed around this level for the rest of the week.

In total, since the announcement, Dairy Queen's app was downloaded a total of 2.2M times from the App Store and Google Play according to our App Intelligence. That's almost the same as all of the downloads in 2022 combined!

If each download equals a discount, at an average cost of $6 per blizzard, we can estimate that DQ is spending more than $100M on user acquisition with this campaign.

The real total is much lower because they don't pay retail, but that's still a pretty big investment. The key, now that they have the downloads, is to engage.

I expect many more promotions like this one to happen this summer.

Oh, if you're a fan of ice cream (like me) and live by a Dairy Queen (unlike me), don't forget to download the app. The promotion ends this weekend.

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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