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TikTok Leads the Way in App Annie’s 2021 App Performance Report



App Annie has published its annual review of the top performing apps by downloads and revenue, which once again underlines the dominance of TikTok, and the influence that it’s having in broader social media space.

As explained by App Annie:

“[TikTok’s] influence on the 2021 data is obvious. It ranked #2 in the breakout app spend chart (this chart ranks apps that have registered the biggest change in spend over 12 months), and it also propelled CapCut to the top of the breakout downloads chart. Why? Because CapCut is an editing tool for TikTok, which rolled out globally in April 2020.”

App Annie app performance chart

As you can see here, both TikTok and CapCut rank high in each list, though Instagram remains strong in active users, with Facebook down at the bottom of the top 10.

But it’s not just TikTok’s own apps that highlight its influence, with TikTok replica apps like India’s MX TakaTak and Moj also gaining traction, as replacements for TikTok which is banned in the region.

That broader impact is why every social app is now trying to add in TikTok-like features and elements, because the broader shift is not just based on TikTok’s own rise, but the habitual trends and behaviors that it’s inspiring, which users are now actively engaging with in other spaces.

Does that mean all apps will eventually look like TikTok? Yeah, it probably does, with Twitter launching a new experiment with its Explore feed, converting it into a TikTok-type display, and Instagram also now testing out a new vertical format for Stories as well.

Instagram Stories feed

Pinterest’s Idea Pins are getting more TikTok-like, Snapchat’s Spotlight feed already utilizes a full-screen, swipeable UI. It’s safe to say that usage trends point to everything going TikTok-style, at least until the theoretical metaverse takes over, and we’re all engaging in wholly immersive virtual environments.

In terms of overall app spend, according to App Annie’s data, TikTok has also seen the biggest jump year-over-year.

App Annie 2021 app performance chart

That bodes well for the app’s expanded eCommerce and monetization ambitions, which will help fuel its creator economy, which will be a key element in growing the app beyond a billion users.

Short-form video can’t utilize in-stream ads, so platforms need to find alternative monetization pathways, and for TikTok, that will largely hinge on its ability to facilitate eCommerce and brand deals for creators.


If it can ensure creators get paid, they’ll keep them posting to the app, and building their audience – but if other platforms have better revenue share deals on offer, you can bet that they’ll migrate away over time.

The data here suggests that TikTok is in a strong position to keep growing, and facilitating business opportunities for more creators.

Of course, none of this is surprising, as pretty much every report has reinforced TikTok’s rising strength, and as noted, every social app is now working to negate TikTok’s expansion if they can. But it’s another reminder of the platform’s influence and position, which may well see it become the biggest social platform in the final stages of the medium as we know it, before we move onto the next phase of digital connection.

You can check out App Annie’s full 2021 mobile apps report here.



Google Announces New Search Updates Which Will Put More Emphasis on Content Depth



Google's Latest Core Search Update is Rolling Out from Today

Google has announced some key updates to its Search algorithms which will look to highlight more valuable results, created for humans, as opposed to web pages that have been designed purely with SERP ranking in mind.

Google’s main target with these new updates is low quality aggregator sites, which aim to match up with common search terms in order to suck in more Search traffic.

Now, Google says that it will put more emphasis on content quality and depth, which could spark a change in broader SEO approach.

As explained by Google:

Next week, we’ll launch the “helpful content update” to tackle content that seems to have been primarily created for ranking well in search engines rather than to help or inform people. This ranking update will help make sure that unoriginal, low quality content doesn’t rank highly in Search, and our testing has found it will especially improve results related to online education, as well as arts and entertainment, shopping and tech-related content.”

The update, as Google says, is aimed at low quality sites that have been constructed purely to game the algorithm, by including specific keyword matches and data notes that align with key Google search trends.

In other words, if you’re creating shallow content based purely on keyword matching, in order to rank in Search, you may soon see a dip in your SERP rankings.


“For example, if you search for information about a new movie, you might have previously seen articles that aggregated reviews from other sites without adding perspectives beyond what’s available elsewhere. This isn’t very helpful if you’re expecting to read something new. With this update, you’ll see more results with unique, authentic information, so you’re more likely to read something you haven’t seen before.”

As always, Google wants to ensure that users get the most relevant, helpful results, which are generally not provided by aggregator sites or those constructed purely with Search rankings in mind. That could reduce the value of common SEO tactics, like using exact search terms in your headers, and keyword stuffing (which is already bad practice).

The change shouldn’t impact sites that are genuinely creating helpful, in-depth content on a specific topic. Really, the bottom line is that you should be creating content with your audience in mind, with Search being an afterthought in the process.

Though it’s difficult to give specific guidance, as we don’t know what the full impacts will be at this stage. Again, it shouldn’t impact most sites, which are not designed to game Google’s systems, but it may be worth keeping an eye on your Analytics data in the coming months.

Google’s also announced a new update to its review ranking process, designed to surface quality, helpful reviews in Search results.

“Last year, we kicked off a series of updates to show more helpful, in-depth reviews based on first-hand expertise in search results. We’ve continued to refine these systems, and in the coming weeks, we’ll roll out another update to make it even easier to find high-quality, original reviews. We’ll continue this work to make sure you find the most useful information when you’re researching a purchase on the web.”

Similar to the helpful content update, Google’s review focus is designed to highlight more product reviews that share in-depth research, ‘rather than thin content that simply summarizes a bunch of products’.

So if you’re looking to incorporate product reviews and UGC into your website, you’ll want to try to include more in-depth info, as opposed to quick hitter quotes and one-liners.


Again, the main focus for Google is to keep providing quality, informative results in Search, which answer the questions that searchers have when they come to its apps. The better you can do this, in detail, the better your Search performance should theoretically be.

It’d not always this simple, but these updates underline Google’s focus on providing more in-depth responses and original content, as opposed to summarized, aggregated answers.   

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