Facebook Loses Impact as ‘Top 10’ App as BeReal and TikTok Grow – TechCrunch


Facebook Loses Impact as 'Top 10' App as BeReal and TikTok Grow - TechCrunch

According to an analysis of data from the iPhone App Store, Facebook has struggled to maintain its position in the top 10 apps in the US App Store this year. As younger consumers move to newer social networking experiences like TikTok and now BeReal, the tech giant’s big blue app has lost traction in the App Store’s top charts.

Last year, for example, Facebook fell out of the top 10 free iPhone apps in the US just seven times. But in 2022, that number has already risen to 97 – an indication that Facebook may be losing ground as new apps make their way into the App Store’s top rankings.

For direct comparison: The Facebook app fell out of the top 10 apps in the App Store only six times in the first half of 2021. However, it has fallen out of that grouping a total of 59 times in the first half of 2022, per data provided to TechCrunch by app intelligence firm Sensor Tower.

It even stayed outside the top 10 once for 37 consecutive days in 2022, the company noted, down from just two consecutive days in 2021.

Additional analysis provided by another App Store data provider, data.ai (formerly App Annie), also supported this conclusion. It turns out that Facebook’s due dates this year were mostly concentrated in April, May and June. April has been Facebook’s worst month so far, as the app’s rank plunged into the 30s on April 18 and dropped to 44 on April 21. Notably, BeReal was climbing the top charts on the App Store at the time. Breaking into the top 5. Today, BeReal is the #1 non-gaming app in the US App Store.

To what extent this trend should be a concern for Facebook is less clear.

Even in previous years, the company was not able to consistently maintain a strong position in the top 10. Also, a ranking in the top 10 apps is just a means of measuring an app’s success — it’s an indicator of a company’s ability to attract new users, but not its ability to gain a foothold with existing users. Facebook hasn’t backed down on that front yet. According to data.ai analysis, it is still the top app by monthly active users in the last quarter.

However, it’s more problematic when Facebook loses its top 10 position to social media newcomers — like current #1 app BeReal — than when it loses its rank due to growth from COVID-era necessities like Zoom would.

Photo credit: mascot (opens in a new window) /Getty Images

The failure to inspire a new generation of users is something the company is concerned about, and an issue Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has spoken openly about before.

Last fall, the executive told investors that the company had “retooled” its teams to make serving young adults its North Star, rather than using its apps to “optimize for the larger population of older people.” He admitted that this kind of shift could take years, not months, to complete. What was unspoken was whether the company would successfully market Facebook to a new generation — especially at a time when the company was betting billions on what it called the Metaverse.

But Meta was aware of his youth troubles long before we saw the signs on the top charts.

Last October, Bloomberg reported that Facebook had compiled internal reports showing that the “time spent” metric for US teens on Facebook was down 16% year over year in March 2021. Young adults in the US spent 5% less time on Facebook, data showed, and teen sign-ups were also down. (The report was one of hundreds released by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen.)

This year, Meta announced another troubling metric.

In February 2022, the company reported to investors that Facebook had lost daily active users for the first time in its history and its monthly active users remained flat. While daily active users grew modestly in subsequent quarters, the platform lost more monthly active users following a ban in Russia — a signal that a single market loss could dampen Facebook’s growth.

By the last quarter, daily active Facebook users had increased to 1.97 billion now, from the 1.929 billion reported in February, when the number had fallen.

Handsome numbers like this, combined with the slight uptrend, can make it difficult to see Facebook’s troubles. After all, it’s not dead yet! And the flagship app isn’t the only arrow in the company’s quiver.

Last year, Meta-owned apps achieved all four top spots in terms of monthly active users worldwide, led by Facebook at #1, according to data.ai’s State of Mobile annual report. It was followed by WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram – well ahead of TikTok at number 6. Facebook was still number 1 last quarter, but now Messenger, Amazon and Instagram follow. TikTok has moved up to 5th place.

What these numbers hide, however, is that Meta’s apps – and Facebook in particular – are being promoted by older adults, combined with heavy usage in both large and emerging internet markets. For example, India has the highest number of Facebook users due to its large population. This clouds the picture of where the journey for Facebook could go in the long term. After all, it is the next generation of social network users who will drive the platforms of the future.

To predict where this market might be headed, it helps to keep an eye on the top charts on the App Store. These charts are largely a window into new app installs combined with install speed and other factors. It’s also important to examine US data, as it’s one of the largest markets for social networking apps, and one that — perhaps more importantly — helps generate significant revenue.

Downloads fueling the top charts include people installing an app for the first time – a metric that can skew younger people as it now represents the Gen Alpha demographic and the end of Gen Z – groups, who may be getting their first smartphones, such as children, tweens or teens. In 2022, these people are not downloading Facebook in sufficient numbers for the app to easily maintain its top 10 position. Instead, newer apps like TikTok, BeReal, and Gen Z’s perennial favorite Snapchat are dominating the top charts.

Other third-party research also suggests that Facebook is losing its ability to reach a new generation of US users. A recent Pew Research Center study released this month found that just 32% of US teens ages 13 to 17 said they use Facebook, while a previous survey from 2014-2015 put that number at 71%. revealed. But Pew’s studies, while relevant, are user-based to say they do, while the App Store’s charts are an indication of what people are actually do.

And right now, people seem to be looking for Facebook alternatives in the form of novel social networking experiences powered by recommendation engines like TikTok or by real-world friendships like BeReal and Snapchat.

You May Also Like