Analysis: Data Shows Almost All Mobile Apps Gained at SXSW, Even If There Were No Clear Winners

  • SHARES

By Kim-Mai Cutler Comment

The field of mobile and social apps looking to breakout this week at SXSW was quite crowded. But it looks like almost everyone got a bump in active usage and downloads. Personally, I got pulled into eight GroupMe groups and found myself drifting back to Foursquare from Facebook Places. So New York — not Silicon Valley — won SXSW for me.

To get a more accurate picture of how SXSW impacted different apps, we pulled data on Facebook usage from AppData and looked at iOS app store rankings through AppAnnie and install numbers on Android Marketplace. Unlike many of the mobile games we cover, apps like Foursquare and Instagram are inherently social. They almost always have a strong Facebook integration so these numbers are a decent — if imperfect — proxy for growth.

When looking at the charts below, there are a few things to keep in mind. For some apps like Ditto, where is the no alternative to logging in with Facebook, these numbers actually measure total usage. But for others like Instagram, which only uses Facebook to find new friends, these numbers account for probably less than half of the apps’ total usage. How many people choose to log in with Facebook depends on how well the integration is designed.

The iOS app store rankings are based on pure downloads while Android shows installations (a better metric since it doesn’t count apps that have been downloaded and then later deleted). Android will show a range of installations (e.g. 10,000 to 50,000 or 10 million to 50 million), but not an exact number.

So this is an imperfect way of looking at app usage, but it’s better than reading press releases about downloads or registered users.

Group Messaging


Recently acquired by Facebook, Beluga still made a strong showing at SXSW, grabbing more than 16 thousand monthly active Facebook users during the past week. It also held its iOS app store ranking higher than much-hyped GroupMe through out the entire interactive part of the conference. While Facebook will keep the app alive, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Facebook launch its own standalone group messaging app in the next six months.

iOS App Store Ranking 10-Mar 11-Mar 12-Mar 13-Mar 14-Mar 15-Mar 16-Mar
Overall (U.S.) 672 549 647 777 687 622 533
Social Networking (U.S.) 45 34 35 41 37 35 33

Daily active users on Facebook: 7,583 (+1,703 last 7 days)
Monthly active users on Facebook: 79,907 (+16,062 last 7 days)
Installs on Android Marketplace: Between 100,000 and 500,000

Ironically, we can’t really track the app that I seemed to be most dependent on at SXSW. Because it uses phone numbers and Twilio’s API to seed its userbase, it is difficult to get a handle on GroupMe’s daily and monthly active usage. GroupMe has a Facebook integration, but it’s buried three clicks into the app so that metric isn’t going to be very accurate.

iOS App Store Ranking 10-Mar 11-Mar 12-Mar 13-Mar 14-Mar 15-Mar 16-Mar
Overall (U.S.) N/A 751 879 936 977 738 730
Social Networking (U.S.) 62 47 47 49 50 41 43

Monthly active users on Facebook: 4,395
Installs in Android Marketplace:
Between 10,000 and 50,000

Kik Messenger’s aggressive user acquisition techniques using the phone’s address book helped trigger its fast growth. It recently pulled together an $8 million round involving Union Square Ventures. It didn’t have too much of a SXSW presence and declined a little in app store rankings this week against more visible competitors like Beluga.

iOS App Store Ranking 10-Mar 11-Mar 12-Mar 13-Mar 14-Mar 15-Mar 16-Mar
Overall (U.S.) 583 610 702 760 731 742 743
Social Networking (U.S.) 35 36 38 39 40 42 46

Installs in Android Marketplace: Between 1 million and 5 million

Yobongo, an app that aims to jump start local conversations between strangers, will likely have a harder time attracting new users compared to apps that leverage real friendships. And it shows. On the homepage, users can choose between logging in with Facebook or signing up through Yobongo, so it does have a stronger Facebook integration. It’s only managed to attract just under 1,500 monthly active users on the Facebook platform.

iOS App Store Ranking 10-Mar 11-Mar 12-Mar 13-Mar 14-Mar 15-Mar 16-Mar
Overall (U.S.) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Social Networking (U.S.) 121 116 153 193 170 157 169

Monthly active users on Facebook: 1,484
Daily active users on Facebook: 36
Installs in Android Marketplace: No Android app

Fast Society: Another group-texting app from a three-man team out of New York’s Dog Patch Labs, this app lets users create¬†five groups with up to 25 people in each and mixes chat, photos and location-sharing.

iOS App Store Ranking 10-Mar 11-Mar 12-Mar 13-Mar 14-Mar 15-Mar 16-Mar
Overall (U.S.) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Social Networking (U.S.) 169 151 181 234 178 166 172

Installs in Android Marketplace: Between 500 and 1,000

Photo-Sharing

Despite media coverage hyping a race between Benchmark-backed Instagram and others, this really is a one-sided competition. The San Francisco-based company has more than four times as many monthly active Facebook users as Picplz and it dominates iOS’s photography category. It gained users steadily throughout SXSW after launching an update that overhauled its news feed and gave users a new tilt-shift effect to play with.

iOS App Store Ranking 10-Mar 11-Mar 12-Mar 13-Mar 14-Mar 15-Mar 16-Mar
Overall (U.S.) 87 101 104 100 84 72 80
Photography (U.S.) 2 2 1 1 1 1 1

Monthly active users on Facebook: 436,209 (+25,127 last 7 days)
Daily active users on Facebook: 43,785 (+2,097 last 7 days)
Installs in Android Marketplace: No Android app

Picplz’s¬†saving grace is that it has an Android presence, which likely makes up most of its active user base. After launching an update that lets users add borders to their images, it gained a healthy number of users on Facebook and jumped up in the iOS photography rankings noticeably.

iOS App Store Ranking 10-Mar 11-Mar 12-Mar 13-Mar 14-Mar 15-Mar 16-Mar
Overall (U.S.) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Photography (U.S.) 158 72 53 53 52 45 50

Monthly active users on Facebook: 106,373 (+15,451 in last 7 days)
Daily active users on Facebook: 53,396 (+4,532 in last 7 days)
Installs on the Android Marketplace: Between 500,000 and 1 million

Despite a well-regarded team and funding from Kleiner Perkins, Path still appears to be struggling. Unfortunately, the Apple app store didn’t green light the new version of Path — complete with a better Facebook integration — until yesterday after the last day of SXSW Interactive. So the chart showing declining monthly active usage may start to reverse later this week. With its latest edition of the app, Path followed in the footsteps of Instagram and Picplz with lenses. It’s experimenting with in-app purchases by charging for them.

iOS App Store Ranking 10-Mar 11-Mar 12-Mar 13-Mar 14-Mar 15-Mar 16-Mar
Overall (U.S.) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Lifestyle (U.S.) 206 178 219 256 261 217 191

Monthly active users on Facebook: 15,361 (-2,421 in last 7 days)
Daily active users on Facebook: 597 (-67 in last 7 days)
Installs on the Android Marketplace: No Android app

Other Mobile-Social Apps

Ditto, from former Googler Jyri Engestrom, lets users share what they’d like to do in a more structured way. People can say that they’re up for dinner or a movie while friends can chime in, offering to join. It started off the week slowly but has crept up and nearly doubled to just over 10,000 monthly actives. The apps’ stickiness, as measured through daily active users, seems weaker though because Ditto! hasn’t grown that number over the last seven days.

iOS App Store Ranking 10-Mar 11-Mar 12-Mar 13-Mar 14-Mar 15-Mar 16-Mar
Overall (U.S.) N/A 919 953 964 N/A N/A N/A
Social Networking (U.S.) 178 57 52 52 55 57 67

Monthly active users on Facebook: 10,620 (+4,195 in last 7 days)
Daily active users on Facebook: 1,979 (-15 in last 7 days)
Installs on Android Marketplace: No Android app.

Foodspotting, an app for foodies who irrationally like to take photographs of what they eat, also made a decent climb up the charts this week. It broke into the top 1000 apps overall in the U.S. and rose from 30 to 18 in its category Travel. The app has a weak Facebook integration, so AppData probably grossly undercounts total usage.

iOS App Store Ranking 10-Mar 11-Mar 12-Mar 13-Mar 14-Mar 15-Mar 16-Mar
Overall (U.S.) N/A N/A 990 818 831 755 785
Travel (U.S.) 30 28 25 19 17 18 18

Monthly active users on Facebook: 8,722 (+721 last 7 days)
Daily active users on Facebook: 321 (+49 last 7 days)
Installs on the Android Marketplace: 10,000 to 50,000 (of Foodspotting Lite)

This is a brand new app from an Austin-based team that is, in some ways, what Facebook Events could have been. The app is meant to support spontaneous get-togethers between friends. It only shows events happening in the next 24 hours that are nearby or happen to involve friends. With a launch right before SXSW, Hurricane Party picked up just over 2,000 users throughout the week. It looks promisingly sticky at the moment with a high DAU/MAU ratio.

iOS App Store Ranking 10-Mar 11-Mar 12-Mar 13-Mar 14-Mar 15-Mar 16-Mar
Overall (U.S.) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Social Networking (U.S.) 171 161 195 254 261 269 311

Monthly active users on Facebook: 2,464
Daily active users on Facebook: 2,184
Installs on Android Marketplace: No Android app.

Location-Sharing Apps

The sweetheart of last year’s SXSW, Foursquare has seemed to hold its own despite the arrival Facebook’s location sharing product Places last fall. It crossed 7 million registered users just three weeks before the conference and in fact, it anecdotally seemed more widely used there than Facebook Places.

iOS App Store Ranking 10-Mar 11-Mar 12-Mar 13-Mar 14-Mar 15-Mar 16-Mar
Overall (U.S.) 154 125 115 123 119 119 130
Social Networking (U.S.) 10 10 9 9 9 9 9

Daily active users on Facebook: 281,046 (+25,248 last 7 days)
Monthly active users on Facebook: 1,822,465 (+31,759 last 7 days)
Installs on Android Marketplace: Between 1 million and 5 million

Gowalla was the hometown rival to Foursquare and it too saw a bump in usage. But it remains far behind its East Coast rival with less than one-seventh of Foursquare’s active Facebook user base.

iOS App Store Ranking 10-Mar 11-Mar 12-Mar 13-Mar 14-Mar 15-Mar 16-Mar
Overall (U.S.) 251 248 317 335 330 293 291
Social Networking (U.S.) 19 18 22 20 20 20 21

Daily active users on Facebook: 24,484 (-4,827 last 7 days)
Monthly active users on Facebook: 246,190 (+17,540 last 7 days)
Installs on Android Marketplace: Between 100,000 and 500,000

Advertisement
Advertisement