Social Networking Apps Gaining Ground in Asia

Social Networking Apps Gaining Ground in Asia

Who is not part of any social network these days?  Chances are if you regularly use a computer, tablet or smartphone you have registered with any of the hundreds of social networks in the Internet catering to general or specific types of customers.
Today it is estimated that more than half of the world’s 7 billion population is registered in at least one social network and with most of the number checking their accounts online using mobile handheld devices.
And developers have found this group a very rich market for their apps.
Social networking apps was off to a slow start at first before gradually gaining ground over the years.  As of last January 2013 social networking apps generated the third largest amount of revenue for Apple mobile and handheld devices last January, with downloads from users in Asia registering the highest figures.
Only a year earlier social networking only ranked twelfth in the list of top revenue generating apps, according to research group App Annie.  Now it’s coming in third after game apps and productivity apps.

The world’s top earning social networking apps

For social networking apps, it is still the messaging and dating apps that are taking in most of the money.
The top social networking apps downloads by iOS for January 2013

  1. LINE
  2. WhatsApp Messenger
  3. Zoosk
  4. Badoo
  5. Grindr Xtra
  6. eHarmony
  7. AdopteUnMec
  8. Scruff
  9. YYC

The top two on the list are messaging apps.  WhatsApp Messenger, which lets users send free text messages over the web to other devices, led the figures last year but was overtaken by LINE which caters to a predominantly Japanese clientele.  LINE is an app that also allows users to send free messages and make free voice calls.
The rest are dating apps.
LINE was the clear leader in Japan, as well as Thailand and Taiwan.  WhatsApp Messenger was the top-grossing social networking app in the United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, Italy and Spain.  Zoosk, a dating app, is number one in the United States, Canada and Australia while AdopteUnMec or is leading in France.

Facebook app tops most downloaded again

As of January 2012 the Facebook app was the most downloaded social networking app downloaded in iOS.  A year on it now Facebook Messenger has now become the most downloaded, already having a good base on those who have installed the Facebook app before.
The top social networking apps downloads by iOS for January 2013

  1. Facebook Messenger
  2. Find My Friends
  3. Facebook
  4. Twitter
  5. Skype
  6. WeChat
  7. Viber
  8. Pinterest
  9. Skype for iPad
  10. Tango

Apple’s Find My Friends climbed from the 17th place to make second.  App Annie said one reason for this rise is perhaps because of a splash screen in iOS 6 that encourages users download free apps from Apple.  What was one of those apps?  Find My Friends, of course
China downloads on the rise
It already been mentioned that the most iOS social networking apps downloads came from Asia.
LINE was the leading social networking app in Japan, but it only has an estimated 48 million subscribers.  China has more than 1.1 billion mobile subscribers and this population continues to grow at an estimated 10 million new subscribers each month.
So what were the top social networking apps downloaded by iOS in China as of January 2013?

  1. Micro Love – For Lovers
  2. PaPa-Photos Speak
  3. WeChat
  4. Find My Friends
  5. Meet-Dating with strangers
  6. Love Chat – Free Call and SMS
  7. Weibo-Microblogging
  8. QQ 2012
  9. QQ HD 2013
  10. QQVoice Network Phone – Free Calling

According to App Annie the top app download, Micro Love – For Lovers, started moving up the ladder only December 2012.

How do they make money

But wait!  Aren’t most of these social networking apps free? In fact they are.  So how do free apps in general generate revenue?  Apps make money several ways.

  • The Freemium strategy. App developers sometimes use something called a freemium.  It’s either an app with limited features or a full one with a limited time use, sometimes both.  They hope you’ll try it, like it then buy it when the trial time is over or when you want more features.
  • In-App Purchases. These are great for games apps.  These allow users to unlock features or purchase something in the game.
  • Sponsorship. Landing a sponsorship is another way for a developer to make money.  A developer approaches a company, pitches an idea and then the company comes up with the money and support needed to produce the app if the idea is accepted.
  • Ads. Advertisers pay for banner space in apps.  The more successful the app the more users, the more users the bigger the chance of that ad getting seen, the bigger the chance of that ad getting seen the better the chances of a sale.  A simple formula really.

What social network apps were used most in 2012?
According to Business Insider, the 12 most used Social Networking Apps for the mobile and handheld devices in 2012 were as follows.

  • Facebook. Still the number one social network in the world with over a billion members, over half of these using mobile devices to check their accounts, it has recently reported hugely profiting from mobile adds.  Available on the PC Android, Blackberry, iOS, Windows Phone
  • Foursquare. This Helps users keep in sync with their friends and what they are up to.  Also recommends places to visit based on recommendations from your friends.  Available on Android, Blackberry, and iOS
  • Google+. Google’s social network can let you chat with up to nine friends at once via text.   Available on Android and iOS
  • This app allows you to keep in touch with friends through Facebook Chat, Google Talk, Skype, MSN, ICQ/AIM, Yahoo, and Steam among others.  Available on: Android, Blackberry, iOS and Nokia.
  • Instagram. Take a photo, add cool effects and upload it quickly.  That fun, that fast.  Available on Android and iOS
  • LinkedIn. Helps remind users of calendar activities.  Available on Android, Blackberry, iOS, and Windows Phone
  • Official Twitter App/TweetDeck. All of Twitters features made available for the handheld device.  Tweet, retweet, share photos or video, check photos or video, repeat.  Available on Official Twitter (PC), Android, Blackberry, iOS, and Windows Phone
  • Path. Lets users to connect with family and close friends, limiting you to 150 connections to other mobile devices.  Available on Android and iOS
  • Pinterest. A quick way to share others with others who can also share your pics if they want.  Available on the Android and iOS.
  • Tumblr. Today’s fastest growing blogging site.  Let’s you create a blog or follow the blogs of others.  Available Android and iOS
  • WhatsApp Messenger. Lets users send free text messages over the web to other devices.  Available on the Android, Blackberry, iOS, Symbian, Nokia S40, and Windows Phone
  • Yelp. An app that allows users to find out about local restaurants, bars, shops in any city they may be in.  Available on the Android and iOS.

All the apps except for WhatsApp Messenger are free.  WhatsApp is offered as a freemium which is free for a year after which users are asked to pay a $0.99 subscription fee to continue use.

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