eMarketer says that the global number of social network users is only increasing. In 2012 it was 1.4 billion, and in 2017 - 2.46. It is estimated, that this figure will reach 3.02 billion in 2021.
The daily amount of time spent on social networks has increased too. In 2012 Internet users spent there 90 minutes per day. As of 2017, this figure turned into 135 minutes.
Why Social Apps Become More and More Popular and What Trends to Prepare For
1. Brands use social apps too.
In the modern world, social apps offer much more than simple communication with your friends and family. Brands use social networking applications to connect with their clients and improve their shopping experience, and artificial intelligence makes the process of communication easier and faster. Apps like Telegram and Slack allow building chatbots, and brands use this possibility to stay in touch with the clients.
So what can we expect? Obviously, brands will invest more funds in connecting with their potential and existing clients in socialized apps. However, if you are going to focus on brands, you still have to attract their target audience - this means that you won’t be able to monetize your app at once. Be patient, and don’t forget to make sure that your app will be convenient for brands to use.
2. Live streaming and Instagram Stories are trending.
Live streaming and Instagram Stories are a great way to attract attention - users adore disappearing content and do their best not to miss it. According to the data provided by Facebook and TechCrunch, in October 2016 the number of daily active users of Instagram Stories was 100 million. Only one year later, this number tripled.
Brands have already understood this trend, so they are using Instagram Stories and live streaming to get new followers. We know, it is hard to compete with Instagram Stories, but features like this are very popular nowadays. If your app has them, users will be more likely to love it.
3. Consider Generation Z.
Just to make things clear - Generation Z and Z Nation have nothing in common. Z Nation is about zombies and post-apocalypse, and Generation Z is a term related to people born since about 1995.
So, according to Goldman Sachs, more and more organizations are coming to appreciate Generation Z more than Millennials. Companies will invest in apps which are popular among Generation Z, so keep this in mind when developing your own app.
4. Virtual Reality is coming.
Virtual Reality has already entered the game industry, and now it is conquering the world of social networks. Facebook Spaces is a social VR app which allows users to “hang out” with up to three friends. Currently, the app is available for lucky owners of Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, so it can’t really compete with other social apps.
According to eMarketer, 2.1 billion people used smartphones in 2016, while SuperData Research reports that 243,000 Oculus Rift and 420,000 HTC Vive headsets were sold the same year. The difference between these numbers is huge - the headsets are not even visible on the graph!
But this doesn’t mean that you can forget about VR - it is a trend of the nearest future. It may be complicated to learn how to use this trend, but you can check the examples of smaller VR apps to understand how things work.
What’s about Expeditions, an educational app? It is a really cool thing, and you don’t even need a special headset - this app has a 360-degree mode.
“Virtual reality is inevitably going to become mainstream - it’s only a question of how good it needs to be before the mainstream is willing to use it.”—Palmer Luckey, designer of the Oculus Rift
5. Augmented Reality is on the rise too
While VR offers you an absolutely new reality, AR just changes the existing one. Snapchat is a great example, and it is becoming more and more popular. In 2014, 71 million people used Snapchat on a daily basis, and in 2017 this figure reached 187 million (thanks to Snap Inc. for reliable data).
However, creating something like Snapchat doesn’t have a lot of sense — this app successfully fulfils its mission. Obviously, you have every chance to create an application which will knock Snapchat off the pedestal. But it might be better to develop something special and unique — for instance, sippCLUB calls itself the first AR wine club ever. Sounds intriguing, right?
Facebook and Other Industry Giants Are Not the Only Apps in the World
Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Twitter, and other popular social apps are not the only players on the market. There plenty of other apps which also allow sharing content and communicating with other users, and some of them are even more useful!
For instance, Petcube allows you to monitor your pets and even to play with them! Monitoring and playing with someone else’s pets is also possible, just like commenting on pictures of cats, dogs, spiders, and other creatures people keep at home. To use this app, you also need a Petcube Camera, which makes things a bit more complicated. But in any case, this application is very special - Facebook and other popular apps can’t offer the same experience!
“Facebook is not an unstoppable juggernaut. There are a lot of other things people can do on the web.”— Fred Wilson, an American businessman
Another nice example is Red Karaoke — a great app for those who love singing but are too lazy to go to a karaoke club. This application is all about singing and sharing videos of your brilliant performance.
A Small World is an app designed only for VERY rich people, while Goodreads is about book reviews. Cuddlr allowed you to find people who want to… exactly, to cuddle.
So here is one more recommendation for your future app — make it special. There are enough applications for instant message exchange, it will be difficult to compete with them if your creation has only this feature. And don’t forget to choose your target audience — just like creators of Red Karaoke chose karaoke lovers.
Creativity is The Key
There are plenty of social apps which look a bit unusual (like Petcube), but now they are successful. It is virtually impossible to make an app for one and all, but you don’t have to do it. Users need something special, something like social clubs where they can meet people with similar interests. And that’s exactly an area where you can shine. So unleash your creativity and soon you’ll come up with a really cool idea of a social app!