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Lemon8, the Instagram rival from TikTok parent ByteDance, fails to gain traction in US

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TikTok proprietor ByteDance’s efforts to make its Pinterest-slash-Instagram competitor Lemon8 take off within the U.S. haven’t but panned out. Since launching within the U.S. earlier this 12 months, the Lemon8 app has solely seen round 2.6 million whole U.S. downloads, based on new information from app retailer market intelligence supplier Appfigures. This paltry turnout comes regardless of a large influencer advertising and marketing push the place numerous TikTok creators have been praising the app to their followers, after studies indicated the U.S. was presumably shifting ahead with a TikTok ban.

The timing didn’t seem like coincidental, in different phrases. If TikTok have been about to lose its U.S. viewers, ByteDance seen Lemon8 as a doable backup plan, and it was leveraging the large TikTok viewers to assist it develop. Influencers touting the app on TikTok started closely posting in regards to the app within the first quarter of the 12 months, describing the approach to life group in glowing, constructive phrases, like “cute” and “aesthetically pleasing,” and evaluating the app to a cross between Pinterest and Instagram.

Accessible in Japan as of 2020, and in style in different Japanese markets like Thailand and Indonesia, the app didn’t acquire a lot traction till April 2020, when installs grew from lower than a thousand per thirty days to 13,000. The app then reached its first all-time excessive for month-to-month downloads when it peaked at 292,000 in July 2021, Appfigures’ information exhibits. Because it expanded in 2022, it peaked once more with 1.5 million downloads in July 2022, resulting in a complete of 10.6 million downloads for the complete 12 months.

This 12 months, Lemon8 started quietly rolling out to the U.S. and U.Ok., and ByteDance started boosting the app through creator advertising and marketing. Insider reported in February, for instance, that ByteDance had paid creators to put up on Lemon8 to seed its preliminary U.S. content material. The next month, creators started posting to TikTok utilizing comparable language of their overly constructive movies. Inside 24 hours in late March, some 350+ movies matching the search time period “Lemon8” appeared on TikTok, most of them constructive critiques. Some creators even stated they have been downloading it in case TikTok acquired banned.

Regardless of seemingly following a script of types, not one of the movies we had encountered on the time have been marked as sponsored content material. This helped to current Lemon8 as an app that was rising organically via word-of-mouth suggestions

However TikTok didn’t find yourself banned within the U.S. — although it has been banned from quite a few authorities units, at some universities, and within the state of Montana, beginning in January 2024. (The latter is being challenged in courtroom.) And even whether it is banned or compelled to spin out a sale sooner or later, it doesn’t seem that Lemon8 can be a straightforward substitute. As well as, most of these installs got here from “spikes,” not a rising pattern. (Maybe the TikTok viral impact, in actual fact.)

iOS accounted for a lot of the U.S. downloads, at 2.5 million, and the app is ranked No. 2 within the Life-style class on the U.S. App Retailer. Nonetheless, it strikes up and down within the High General chart. As of the time the info was collected, it was No. 90 General. As we speak, it’s No. 70 on the High Apps Chart within the U.S. Although its rankings are respectable sufficient, the whole installs are nonetheless pretty low for one thing that’s supposed to slip in to switch TikTok within the occasion of a ban.

September 2023 was Lemon8’s greatest month when it comes to U.S. downloads, because it noticed 525,000 new installs. Downloads don’t equate to the variety of lively customers, after all, so Lemon8’s utilization is probably going even decrease. For comparability, TikTok had greater than 150 million month-to-month lively customers within the U.S. as of March 2023.

In fact, there’s nonetheless the chance that ByteDance might leverage TikTok once more to spice up Lemon8’s traction within the U.S. For example, product intelligence agency Watchful.ai found a number of months in the past that TikTok was creating a function that may permit customers to sync their Lemon8 posts to TikTok, after which add sounds and music utilizing TikTok’s editor. TikTok wouldn’t reply to requests for touch upon the matter after we requested.

On the time Lemon8 had roughly 25 million worldwide downloads, per market intelligence agency data.ai.

As we speak, its greatest markets by whole downloads are Japan (7.6 million), Thailand (6.5 million) and the U.S. (2.6 million).

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