Social and communication apps were the No. 1 app category based on sessions per active user in the first quarter of this year, according to App Annie. The mobile analytics firm released its Insights Into App Engagement report based on data from its usage intelligence platform.
- The Communication and Social categories played a key role in app engagement across all five major markets. In South Korea, the Communication and Social categories accounted for around 60 percent of all Android smartphone app sessions in the first quarter of 2015, while Germany and the United States were not far behind.
- In the United States and Germany, these two categories combined accounted for approximately 60 percent of time spent in apps on Android smartphones.
- The top five person-to-person communication iOS apps by average monthly active U.S. iPhone users in the first quarter of 2015 saw over seven times as many average monthly sessions per active user as the leading game apps and the leading music streaming apps.
- In Japan and South Korea, over 90 percent of iOS and Google Play app store revenue comes from games, whereas games accounted for approximately 70 percent of app store revenue in the United Kingdom and around 80 percent in the United States in the first quarter of 2015.
"As publishers select the categories in which their apps are listed, there can be considerable overlap in functionality between the Social and Communication categories, especially among the top apps where social networks and messaging apps dominate," the report says. "However, the top apps across these categories reveal some small but key differences in app use between different countries."
The differences App Annie is talking about may depend in part on what you call a messaging app versus a social app. In the U.S., for example, Facebook remains a dominant player, though it could be argued it has been evolving from primarily a social network into a messaging platform. Overseas, LINE and KakaoTalk are messaging apps which, conversely, have been building more social-like capabilities to grow their number of users and level of engagement.
The lines are obviously blurring, but the takeaway for the average indie developer is that if you're not offering some kind of social and/or messaging functions in your app experience, successful growth and monetization may be difficult to achieve. As the app economy evolves, one-way conversations just don't work.
- get the report here
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