Tuesday, October 19, 2021

From failures to hits: How the app industry is evolving

TikTok, the social media app you may have heard of, has topped one billion monthly active users, despite the app hitting its major crossroads two years ago when its once stellar growth began to slow down.

The app, made by TikTok creator Jinny Kim, has surged over 300 percent in user growth over last year, according to Twitter. The fast growth has helped transform the Seoul-based business into a $7 billion company, with users in more than 100 countries and growing at an accelerated rate every quarter.

TikTok’s meteoric rise has actually pushed China’s WeChat, owned by the Chinese tech giant Tencent, into second place, where it has experienced growth rates nearly 40 percent greater than those of TikTok.

However, unlike WeChat, the TikTok app is currently not available in the United States, which is likely one of the main reasons why the business hasn’t been a mainstream hit in the United States. WeChat, on the other hand, is wildly popular in China, with over 1.4 billion monthly active users, and 30 percent of the app’s monthly active users are from the U.S.

In China, TikTok ranked No. 20 for worldwide grossing apps in 2018, trailing China’s Tencent as well as the China versions of Spotify and Facebook’s Instagram. However, the TikTok app was not accessible to U.S. users, and even though the company has partnered with Warner Bros. to release videos through TikTok, the majority of TikTok users in the U.S. are still on YouTube.

Social media app growth

That’s not to say the industry doesn’t have a bevy of competitors. In the past few years, the app install ads industry has exploded, with the success of influencers like Harry Style and Christian Siriano, who has sold 18 million of his own dresses.

Not only is the content market booming, the industry itself is becoming more competitive. As social media companies continue to struggle, companies are going outside the box to cash in on the explosion of user growth. Netflix tried out an “apocalypse prepper” app, Tisch, in January. Jogger tapped into the backgammon app boom that has seen a soaring rate of growth over the past year.

Whether it’s a new virtual dog park, clothing or a virtual cocktail service, the apps are every single week trying to find their niche among users who want a fun experience and are looking for something that combines fast friendliness with entertainment and community.

This social trend is one that will carry into 2019. Daily deals platforms Snapchat, Facebook and Google, along with music streaming and streaming gaming platforms like Pandora and Spotify, are all looking to find ways to monetize their data. From short-form videos, ads on shopping and online marketing, Facebook and Twitter are diversifying their business models, and it shows.

Social apps are going to continue to transform into venues for brands to reach people in more than just an advertising format. Video content on these apps could become popular for creating VR-like homes. YouTube is already testing out 360-degree videos on its app. After the success of virtual reality, other tech companies are turning to AR (augmented reality) apps and VR (virtual reality) apps. As these new apps become more sophisticated, apps such as Facebook Messenger, which is already home to content creators, games and an app store, will be the best place to find new things.

In 2019, the app industry will continue to evolve, and more developers will turn to content creators to create their own videos as platforms like TikTok allow for faster versions of the traditional video game.

This story originally appeared on Braden Sanchez’s website, Bizjournals.com

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