App store analytics firm Distimo published its Social Networking Apps report and it emerged that Facebook was no longer the most downloaded social network app in the top 10 markets worldwide.
Between July 2010 and 2011, Facebook dominated app downloads and was clearly the most popular social networking app in the top markets that Distimo surveyed. Out of 21 countries including US, UK, Australia, China and India, Facebook emerged as the most popular in 16 markets.
Of the remaining 5 markets, Facebook did not figure in the top 5 in China and South Korea. In aggregate, the 5 most popular apps during July 2010-11 were revealed to be Facebook, Skype, Live Messenger, Viber and Twitter.
The Distimo report points out a major shuffle in the list of most popular social networking apps in the app store during 2011 -12. Facebook still led the pack in terms of being most popular on an aggregate basis in the same markets from the year before.
However Facebook’s popularity and downloads dropped in individual markets including Spain, Australia, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore. Viber became the most downloaded app in Spain and Australia while Chinese text and voice messaging app WeChat was most popular in China and Hong Kong. Free mobile messaging app KakaoTalk retained its top popularity in South Korea.
Photo sharing app Instagram became the 2nd most popular and free phone call app Viber was 3rd. Skype and Facebook Messenger took 4th and 5th spot as Twitter dropped a place to 6th position. Unlike its solid presence in 2010-11, Live Messenger dropped from being the 3rd to the 10th most popular social networking app by July 2012.
By 2012, Instagram app’s popularity had surpassed many other established social networking apps including Twitter and Viber. In April 2012, around the time it was taken over by Facebook, an official blog post revealed that more than 3 crore accounts were set up on Instagram.
Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram in April 2012 is seen by commentators worldwide as a move to ward off competition. The Distimo report mentions that Instagram could have could have ‘potentially harmed Facebook’s dominant position’.
The Distimo report also noted that of all the app categories, social networking apps witnessed a much higher growth rate as compared to the rest. Downloads for the top 100 social networking apps were 193% higher in July 2012 as compared to July 2010 while the 100 most popular apps overall saw a growth of 43% during the same period.
An app that has not yet been featured in the Distimo report but has created quite a buzz is Pinterest. It may be because the photo sharing website did not have an app for iPhone until March 2011 and made an app for iPads available just last month.
Pinterest, the website by itself has become one of the world’s most popular social networking services. It received in excess of a crore unique monthly visitors in January 2012 from US alone. This made Pinterest the fastest site ever to surpass the glorious 10 million mark on a monthly basis. TNW reported that various analytics including comScore estimated that the site surpassed 2 crore unique monthly visitors earlier this year in March.