With the rise of BeReal and TikTok, Facebook is losing its place as one of the top 10 apps
As of this year, Facebook has struggled to stay in the Top 10 of the iPhone App Store. The tech giant's big blue app is losing traction in the App Store's Top Charts as younger consumers shift to newer social networking experiences like TikTok.The Facebook app only fell out of the Top 10 free iPhone apps in the U.S. seven times last year. In 2022, that figure has already risen to 97, indicating that Facebook may be losing ground to new apps in the App Store.
In comparison, Facebook's app fell out of the Top 10 apps on the App Store just six times during the first half of 2021. Sensor Tower data provided to TechCrunch shows it dropped out of this group 59 times in the first half of 2022.The company even stayed out of the Top 10 for 37 consecutive days in 2022, an increase from just two consecutive days in 2021.
Another App Store data provider, data.ai, also supported this conclusion. This year, Facebook's drop-off times were mainly concentrated in April, May, and June. As of April 21, Facebook's rank had fallen into the 30s, dropping to No. 44 on April 21. April has been the worst month for Facebook so far. It was around this time that BeReal broke into the Top 5 of the App Store's Top Charts. BeReal is currently the No. 1 non-gaming app on the App Store.
As well to not consistently holding a top 10 spot in prior years, the company hasn't maintained a position in the Top 10 for some time. A ranking in Top 10 Apps is only one way to measure an app's success - it indicates whether a company can attract new users, but not whether it can maintain traction with existing ones.
Facebook hasn't conceded on that front yet. According to data.ai's analysis, it remains the top app by monthly active users. As a result, Facebook losing its top 10 position to newcomers in social networking - such as the current No. 1 app BeReal - is more problematic than losing its rank due to growth from COVID-era necessities. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has previously discussed how the company is concerned about failing to inspire new generations of users.
Meta was well aware of its teen issues long before the Top Charts began to reflect them. As of March 2021, Facebook's internal reports showed the "time spent" metric for U.S. teenagers on Facebook was down 16% year over year. The number of new teen signups was declining, too, and U.S. young adults were spending 5% less time on Facebook.
The company reported to investors in February 2022 that it had lost daily active users for the first time in its history, as well as monthly active users that remained flat. After a ban in Russia, Facebook lost more monthly active users, indicating a single market loss could dampen the platform's growth. The number of daily active users on Facebook has climbed back up from 1.929 billion in February, when it had dropped, to now 1.97 billion.
Combined with the slight upward trend, large numbers like these can make Facebook's problems hard to detect. After all, it's not dead yet! The company's flagship app isn't its only weapon. Per data.ai's "State of Mobile" annual report, Meta-owned apps accounted for all four of the top spots in terms of monthly active users worldwide last year.
Next came WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram, well ahead of TikTok at No. 6. Facebook still holds the top spot this quarter, followed by Messenger, Amazon, and Instagram. The number five spot has moved to TikTok.The figures mask, however, that both large and emerging internet markets are strongly using Meta's apps - and particularly Facebook.
As a result of its large population, India has the highest number of Facebook users. Facebook's long-term direction is clouded by this. Future platforms will be driven by the upcoming generation of social networking users. The App Store's Top Charts can be used to forecast where that market is headed.
As well as the velocity of installations, these charts provide a window into new app installations. It is also important to examine U.S. data since it is one of the largest markets for social networking apps and one that, perhaps m, more importantly, drives significant revenue.
The Top Charts are fuelled by first-time app downloads - a metric that represents Generation Alpha and the tail end of Gen Z - groups who may be getting their first smartphones, like kids and teens. The number of people downloading Facebook in 2022 will not be high enough for the app to easily maintain its Top 10 ranking. TikTok, BeReal, and Snapchat, perennial favorites of Gen Z, are dominating the Top Charts instead.
A third-party study also suggests that Facebook is losing the ability to reach a new generation of U.S. users. According to a Pew Research Center study published this month, only 32% of U.S. teens aged 13-17 use Facebook, down from 71% in 2014-2015.
The App Store's charts show what people do, while Pew's studies are based on what users say they do. As it stands, people are seeking out alternatives to Facebook in the form of recommendation engines, like TikTok, and real-life friendships, like BeReal and Snapchat.