Since the launch of the App Store back in 2007, apps have changed the way we do things, from calling a cab, to ordering food, and most of all, to how we connect with those around us. 87% of people born in the early eighties or later acknowledges to be constantly attached to their smartphone, no matter if it’s “night or day”. What are they doing? Socializing and communicating.
In the past few weeks, we have been lucky to have some great insights published by App Annie and Mary Meeker, with their data and predictions for how apps and specifically communication apps have changed the smartphone market, and how they continue to grow. In short, this is what you need to know!
Both app stores and in-app advertising revenues has increased with 70% in just one year, according to Insights Into App Engagement: Q1 2015, with an expected growth of 76.52 billion US dollars in 2017. The importance emphasized is knowing how users interact with apps in order to harvest on these good looking numbers. Today’s common denominator of key markets is using smartphones as communication and social networking devices. The top five p2p communication apps have 7x as many sessions as the counterparts in music and games for US iPhone MAUs, and in South Korea, 60% of all Android sessions are represented by the communication and social categories. Accordingly, users spend most of their time with apps that offer communication, especially messaging apps, and these are the clear winners. So – because communication and socialization features are essential for app engagement, and because the market demand is at growth – now’s the perfect time to add communication in your app.
Except for today’s dominant markets, emerging ones shows great potential for app developers, with countries such as India and China being especially promising. In her 2015 Trend Report, Mary Meeker points at the Indian market for instance being WhatsApp’s biggest, with its 70 million MAUs! Measuring by usage, TrueCaller, Facebook Messenger and Hike Messenger are unsurprisingly among the top apps. Considering this – or the fact that Nigeria enters first place when it comes to mobile percentage of total internet traffic by country – we’re looking at an ever so globalized mobile marketplace.
It goes without saying that potential users across the globe can be reached by making communication compensate for geographical distance. Simultaneously, today’s users withhold an inevitably powerful position: user-generated content is a growing force, and engagement is as prevailing as ever. Mobile usage has seen an increase from an average of less than 3 hours to almost 6 hours a day, owning 51% of the total internet usage in the US, according to the Meeker report. Communication and sociability, engagement, and content creation is therefore intimately related to one another. Why is this relevant?
Okey, so, socializing an app doesn’t only imply great potential in user engagement, but is also becoming a market demand that needs to be met in order to compete with the giants. Attracting users and turning it into profit is, however, not only about getting users to download an app – or even “kick the tires” as Matt Pope, Product Lead at Talko phrased it. “The nature of the app ecosystem” only requires “a simple tap”, as he says. Pope has a good point. Metrics such as engagement and retention needs to be considered too. Communication does that.
…“For now”, she writes, implying that many attracts more. Users want ubiquity and ease, and as Josh Constantine and Matthew Lynley writes at Techcrunch: “Apps that break away to become 100 million user-plus networks can enjoy sustained success, as it becomes tougher to convince people to try a similar service their friends aren’t already on.” In other words, the dominating messaging platforms are growing at a quick pace, with Facebook Messenger’s recent 200% (y/y) increase in MAUs as one great example.
Users are particularly engaged with apps featuring communication and social networking, and when engaging, they’re also creating. With users as innovators and stakeholders, they become a determinant factor for app success slash failure. To succeed, the answer is immediate user activation: retention curves tell us that as much as 77% of the average app’s DAUs are lost within 3 days, and that apps with strong retention rates during an initial phase also ends up with the strongest absolute numbers. Making sure that your users are engaged is therefore key, and as proven – in-app communication equals user engagement.
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