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A Summary of

The Stickiest, Most Addictive, Most Engaging, and Fastest-Growing Social Apps, and How to Measure Them

Bennett Carroccio
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Evaluating the potential of a social app can be complicated. Many factors must be considered. Using Apptopia, social platforms in the top 1,000 on the US App store were analyzed and ranked according to growth rate (see graphics in-article).


  • Two of the fastest-growing categories among the social apps were friend discovery and vertical communities
  • Will the future of social media be interest-based platforms that foster meaningful connection?

Social App Metrics

  • Usually, Daily Active Users (DAU) and Monthly Active Users (MAU) are used to measure scale and growth
  • DAU/MAU=stickiness. Can be used to evaluate an app’s network effects, or how strong the network is based on how frequently its users engage with the platform.
  • DAU/MAU is helpful but isn’t all-encompassing—often will be higher around media consumption
  • Addiction (number of times app is accessed a day) and absorption (how long each session on the app lasts) are also important metrics that were analyzed. The key is the combination of the two given by the attention equation: frequency+depth=total time spent

Benchmarks by Category

  • Every app’s success benchmarks are specific to the app’s category
  • Dating apps should be compared to other dating apps, not TikTok or Facebook, etc.

Friend discovery apps and vertical communities

  • Fastest growing social apps
  • Friend discovery—teens turn to social apps to make and build friendships
  • Vertical communities—the value of going niche; social networks formed around specific interests
  • Combination of utility and community results in high retention and downstream monetization opportunities The best social apps are those with an intrinsic social component. Measuring success can be difficult and there is more than one path. Category matters for benchmarks!
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