Throughout the week we’ve been covering all the amazing benefits you can get from our App Engagement feature which we’ve just released for SMB – including interesting insights into user behavior through usage patterns. We’ve made some updates to the feature since its nascent beta phase, and we’re excited to show you how it works in action.
Before, you could see the app usage rank both for the US and in its specific category by looking at the ‘App Overview’ section in the App Engagement tab. Now you can see this information in the App Index (formerly known as App Usage Rank). The App Index is based on our own algorithm that factors in both ‘Current Installs’ and ‘Active Users’ in the selected country and leader boards for the past 28 days. Essentially, the App Index represents an app’s popularity in terms of usage, which is something that both app developers and their competitors will find valuable.
Apps can be filtered by Free, Paid, Grossing, New Free and New Paid groups, just like in the Google Play Store. So now you can rank the apps according to their store rank or app index by simply clicking on the respective column heading. The data in this section is updated daily. Right now, this data is only available for the Google Play Store (read: Androids only) in 26 countries for all categories, but we’re working on iOS compatibility.
To illustrate how this works, we’ve filtered the Social category for the top free apps in the US, based on the App Index. So without further ado, here are the top free social apps for Android devices in the US based on usage:
The Top 15: Rank Breakdown
The first 3 places in Index Rank won’t be of surprise to anyone: Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. For these 3 industry leaders, store rank correlates perfectly with usage (app index) rank.
Once you get past the big 3, things start to get interesting. You can see where a lot of these social apps are undervalued in the app store – meaning their store rank is low, when their usage rates are actually pretty high.
First there’s Timehop, the “time capsule app” which allows you to vicariously travel back in time on your social account through your photos, to show everyone what you were doing at some point in the past. This nostalgic little app actually appeared to be used more often than some major social players like Twitter or Pinterest, which is why it beat out both to place in at number 4 on our list of most used social apps in the US.
Then there’s Front Lock Screen, an ad-powered app that doles out cash for putting ads and curated links to content on your smartphone’s lock screen. Out of all the apps we analyzed, it’s the most undervalued in terms of app index to store rank ratio. Even more telling is the fact that while the app dropped 55 positions in store rank, it simultaneously increased its app index ranking, which means usage is increasing despite a slight decrease in installs.
Dating apps are all the rage, especially MeetMe and Badoo, both of which out-usage ranked the ever-popular social messenger Tango. If you look at store rank alone, you wouldn’t see this info. You might suppose that people are more interested in finding new love than maintaining the connections they already have.
Among the top social apps by app index only Tumblr is losing ground. Looks like user engagement for this popular app is decreasing, despite what store rank says.On the other hand, Google + is still a thing! Looks like the SEO’s social media of choice has got a high place in the app index, which means usage is way up. Currently it’s ranked as the 8th most used free social app in the US.
Credit is also due to the geosocial networking app Grindr, which is the only gay dedicated social app that appears to be one of the 10 most popular social apps in the US. Its actual popularity extends far far beyond 57th place – it’s official rank in the Google Play Store. Based on usage, Grindr takes 9th place, way ahead of more established dating apps like OkCupid or Vine.
After taking a look at the App Index as it relates to these highly addictive social apps, its clear that an actual app’s popularity can be clarified when you look at the whole picture – actual usage patterns, not just store rank. This is how you can discover previously hidden opportunities, and that’s why the App Index – and App Engagement – are so crucial to uncovering the app economy.