In news that will likely come as no surprise, TikTok was once again the most downloaded app in July, according to the latest data from app analytics platform Sensor Tower.
That shouldn’t be surprising, because TikTok has been atop the monthly download charts for the past year and a half, with the only two exceptions being November last year, when WhatsApp briefly re-took the top spot, and January this year, when Telegram saw a sudden download surge (as a result of WhatsApp’s controversial data privacy update).
As explained by Sensor Tower:
“TikTok was the most downloaded non-gaming app worldwide for July 2021 with more than 63 million installs. The countries with the largest number intalls were from Douyin in China at 15%, followed by the United States at 9%.”
So despite its significant market presence, TikTok is still gaining users in its primary, established markets, it’s not only getting attention in new regions where it’s just been released.
Which bodes well for the platform’s ongoing growth, and its monetization potential – because while audience growth in itself is a key success factor, it generally takes time for users in new regions to become paying users in any form. If TikTok is still growing in regions where it’s already built an audience, that points to expanded potential on both fronts as it looks to further boost its global presence.
If you ever find yourself wondering why Facebook and Snapchat and YouTube keep trying to push their own TikTok clone functionalities, this is why. TikTok is not only now a major platform, and a significant challenger in the social media space, it’s also still growing at a faster rate than any of its competitors. That puts all of them under threat, so while it’s logical, on one hand, for them to seek to retain user engagement by aligning with the short video trend, given that each platform is able to cater to such, in different ways, based on their existing content functions, these replica add-ons can also be viewed as a measure of self-preservation.
The most obvious example here is Facebook’s own rise, which saw it supersede MySpace as the social media platform of choice. That shift started among younger users, with Facebook becoming the new trend, which then permeated to broader groups, older users, brands, etc.
Facebook became the place to be after first taking seed with younger user groups, which is a lot like TikTok right now – and while TikTok doesn’t offer the same functional options that Facebook does, and Facebook itself is now so big that it would be difficult to upend it completely, the risk is clear. TikTok, which is on track to reach a billion users in 2021, and continues to add new functions like in-stream shopping, Stories and expanded live broadcasts, is looking more and more like a genuine challenger, which could severely impact usage of Facebook’s apps over time, and may eventually make it the prime social network of choice, over Facebook or Instagram.
It’s got a long way to go, and as you can see, Facebook’s apps still dominate the overall top 10 list, taking up 4 of the top 5 spots. But the TikTok replication effort makes perfect sense when viewed from this perspective.
Among other app trends, video editing app CapCut, which enables users to create videos to post in other apps, and is also owned by TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, remains in the top 10, while Chinese shopping platform TaoBao has also returned to the charts.
But the main point of note remains TikTok, and its enduring popularity. Now you know why Facebook sought to stoke fears about Chinese tracking through the app with US Senators in 2019, an angle that it’s no doubt still working behind the scenes, in the hopes that it might get shut down in the US.
Because right now, it doesn’t look like much else is going to slow down its growth and expansion around the world.
Twitter Moves to Next Stage of Testing for its New ‘Status’ Indicators
Do you struggle to provide adequate context within the 240 characters allowed for tweets?
If so, then you’re in luck, as Twitter’s developing a range of tweet status indicators, which will eventually provide a simple way to add another element to your tweeted message, which could help to better communicate meaning and intent.
Or not. As shared by app researcher Jane Manchun Wong, this is the current listing of Twitter status options in testing:
Pretty unique combination of possible status alerts here – a mix of trending sayings and popular activities. Users won’t be able to create their own status, you’d have to use one of these presets – which is a little restrictive, but it could be handy? Maybe.
Twitter’s been testing out its Status indicators for a while, with the original list of status options, which Wong also tweeted back in July, including a few that have been culled as part of this expansion.
As you can see, when you add a Status, it will be displayed above your tweet, and below your username, adding immediate context to your message.
Status indicators would also be searchable, with users able to tap on a status indicator, which will take you through to a listing of all the tweets that have applied the same activity.
Really, Twitter’s actually been testing Status markers out since 2018, when it previewed this format for the option.
The idea, at that stage, seemed to be to help people list events that they were attending, which users often do already by adding the event hashtag to their username. A status indicator would make this easier, while also helping people connect around said event – but since then, Twitter’s revised its approach to the markers, making them more of a topical sorting option to help users find relevant activity and engagement opportunities.
Which, I guess, they could facilitate.
Maybe, by tapping on ‘Picture of the Day’ that could become another engagement and discovery element, or by tapping ‘Hot Take’ you could find more tweets to interact with, and add your own opinion.
It could be a handy way to sort tweets by topic, which could be beneficial. Maybe, though I’m not sure that it’s going to have much of an impact on overall tweet engagement.
Twitter’s been working to add in more content sorting and discovery tools over the past couple of years, including Communities, Circles for private chats, and topics in the Audio tab. Twitter also added and the capacity to follow Topic streams back in 2019, which it had hoped would give users more ways into Twitter discussions, and to find interactions more relevant to their interests.
For more regular users, those probably aren’t particularly useful – but for new users coming in, they could be important, as Twitter isn’t overly intuitive for people when first starting out. This has been an issue for the platform since forever, and these types of additional discovery measures could help to address this.
If Twitter can integrate them in an effective, engaging way.
The problem on this front is that Twitter’s topics algorithms are still fairly basic, with the tweets shown to users within topic streams often being off-topic, even offensive, because they’re being displayed based on basic keyword mentions and total engagement with each tweet, not on relevance.
Which is why the Spaces/Audio tab isn’t attuned to your interests, based on usage, why the ‘Who to Follow’ display is never locked into users you might be interested in. It’s all too basic, and in this sense, Twitter has fallen behind other platforms on algorithmic sorting and alignment.
Which is why it’s now seeking more manual intervention, by letting users add status markers to categorize discussion.
Which seems like a backwards step, given that other platforms are becoming increasingly good at showing you more content based on your interests, without you needing to do anything other than use each app.
But maybe, it’ll become a thing, and provide another way for Twitter to boost engagement.
There’s no official release plan in place for Twitter’s status updates as yet, but they’re likely coming very soon.
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