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Apple Publishes Listing of Most Popular Apps for 2019

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“Let me guess,” I hear you say. “TikTok tops the list?”

Actually, it doesn’t, but it’s right up there. Apple has this week released its listings of the most downloaded apps for 2019, based on App Store activity over the past eleven and a bit months. 

And while there are separate lists for paid apps, games, and iPad apps, the most important one is probably the overall listing of most popular free apps – which is:

  1. YouTube
  2. Instagram
  3. Snapchat
  4. TikTok 
  5. Messenger
  6. Gmail
  7. Netflix
  8. Facebook
  9. Google Maps
  10. Amazon

Most of the app ranking data throughout the year has focused on the rise of TikTok, which, as you can see, comes in at fourth most popular. But really, the listings are another reminder of the digital dominance of Google and Facebook. Google-owned apps come in at 1, 6 and 9, respectively, while Facebook also has three spots in the top 10 (2, 5 and 8).

Snapchat has also held its ground, despite all the attention that TikTok has garnered. In fact, considering that billions of people have already downloaded most of the apps on the list, it’s somewhat surprising that TikTok isn’t right up on top.

Questions have been raised about TikTok’s usage stats – TikTok hasn’t released any official update in its active user count since reporting 500 million monthly actives in July last year, though it has, more recently, suggested that it’s now somewhat higher than that. Some industry watchers have suggested that TikTok’s advertising blitz (TikTok was the number one advertiser on Snapchat in September, and the number 2 advertiser on YouTube) has belied the actual user interest in the app. With TikTok pouring so much money into its ad blitz, it seems like the app is everywhere, but really, possibly, users may not be as engaged as this would suggest.

Given that Snapchat has come in ahead of TikTok on the App Store list, and Snapchat has 210 million daily active users, it’s hard to imagine TikTok would have any more than that, especially when you also consider Snap had a head start on TikTok in terms of downloads by virtue of being in the market for longer (though TikTok was originally Muscial.ly, which had some 200 million users by late 2017).

But really, overall, there are no big surprises in Apple’s list. Other than TikTok, most of these apps have floated around the top download charts for the past few years, and you would expect them to stay there, given the usage of each. 

In terms of marketing insight, the listing shows that YouTube should probably be higher on brand priority lists, while the rise of TikTok – aforementioned concerns aside – makes it one to watch and consider.     

You can check out the rest of the apps in the App Store download report for 2019 here.

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Meta Announces New Ad Options for Facebook Reels Which Could Facilitate Creator Revenue Share

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Meta Announces New Ad Options for Facebook Reels Which Could Facilitate Creator Revenue Share

Meta sees Reels as ‘the future of video’ on its platforms, with engagement with short-form content being one of the only positive growth trends across its apps at present.

Whether that’s due to more people looking to watch Reels, or Meta pumping more of them into feeds, is another question – but clearly, Meta’s keen to double-down on Reels content, which also means that it needs to offer Reels creators greater revenue share, in order to keep them posting.

On this, Meta has today outlined some new Reels ad options, which will provide more capacity for brands to tap into the format, while also, ideally, providing a pathway to revenue share for top creators.

The first new option in testing is ‘post-loop ads’ which are 4-10- second, skippable video ads that will play after a Reel has ended.

As you can see in this example, some Facebook Reels will now show an ‘Ad starting soon’ indicator as you reach the end of a Reel, which will then move into a post-loop ad. When the ad finishes playing, the original Reel will resume and loop again.

As noted, it could be a way to more directly monetize Reels content, though the interruption likely won’t be welcome for viewers, and it’ll be interesting to see what the actual view rates are on such ads. It’ll also be interesting to see if Meta looks to attribute those ad views to the original Reel, and how that could relate to revenue share for Reels creators.

The option is only in early testing, so there’s not a lot to go on at this stage.

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Meta’s also testing new image carousel ads in Facebook Reels – horizontally-scrollable ads which can include up to 10 images that are displayed at the bottom of Facebook Reels content.

Meta ads update

These promotions will be directly linked back to individual Reel performance, and could provide another monetization option for creators, while also enabling brands to tap into popular clips. TikTok offers a similar ad option in its tools.

On another front, Meta’s also giving brands access to more music options for their Reels, with new, ‘high-quality’ songs added to its Sound Collection that can be added to Carousel Ads on Reels.

Meta ads update

Note that these aren’t commercial tracks – you won’t be able to add the latest Lady Gaga song to your ad. But there are some good instrumental tracks to add atmosphere and presence to your promotions.

“Businesses can select a song from our library or allow the app to automatically choose the best music for an ad based on its content.”

I’d probably advise against letting the app automatically choose the best music, but maybe, based on its suggestions, you might be able to find the right soundtrack for your promotions.

Short-form video monetization is the next big battleground, with YouTube recently outlining its new Shorts monetization process, and TikTok still developing its live-stream commerce tools, as a means to facilitate better revenue share. Inserting ads into such brief clips is challenging, especially in a user-friendly way. But the platform that can get it right stands to win out, by providing direct creator monetization, based on content performance, which will likely, eventually see the top creators gravitate towards those platforms as they seek to maximize their opportunities.

Meta’s new options don’t seem to be a match for YouTube’s new Shorts program, which will allocate a share of total ad revenue to Shorts creators based on relative view counts. But it’s still early days, and no one has the answers yet.

As such, you can expect each platform to keep trying new things, as they work to beat out the competition.  

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