What’s Happening with Super Apps and How Mobile App Market is Changing
Back in 2019, many articles were published with predictions and arguments of experts that super apps are the future and they will take over the global app market and that ‘single purpose’ apps won’t gonna make it. But it’s like the weather forecast — sometimes real things are hard to predict. This is what happened with super apps — the breakthrough has happened only in certain areas and in certain markets. Let’s find out if it’s true and how the super apps trend is affecting mobile marketing.
A bit of context: where super apps come from
China is the birthplace of super apps and the rightful trendsetter of this format. The main apps of this kind in the country are WeChat and Alipay. They are fully integrated into people’s lives — even the homeless accept donations through WeChat. Let alone shops and restaurants — a credit card won’t help you, there is only scanning a QR-code.
Now in WeChat, you can exchange messages, get a taxi, transact with local businesses, government service providers, and more (read — everything else).
By 2025, the number of WeChat users in China is projected to reach 1,089.7 million users. In this chart, you can see that the number of the app users is increasing and the increase is not slowing down.
WeChat is a mobile messaging app launched by the Chinese company Tencent in 2011. Today, WeChat is one of the leading social networks in the world, ranking 6th in terms of the number of active users.
Pros and cons of super apps
Like any global phenomenon, super apps have two sides. If we talk about the advantages for users, it’s obvious that there is no need to register many times and go from app to app, because everything is in one place: bank, ticket booking, payment of fines, ordering a taxi, and so on.
Just imagine, how much data such an app knows about you: who you are, where you work, where and how often you go, with whom you communicate, and why you spend more money on Wednesdays than on Saturdays. No one will say to you honestly that your data is being used (only in China, where developers are required to cooperate with the government), but the question is unlikely to remain closed — just take a look who has access to your data in Yandex Legal documents.
For business, the benefits are obvious: a wide audience, the possibility to integrate, rapid scaling of products. Despite this, many apps belong, for example, to one publisher, but branding and apps are separate. The best-known example is Facebook, whose ecosystem includes Facebook, WhatsApp, SnapChat, Messenger.
Before thinking about a super app, you first need to think about the geographic ‘coverage’ of your product and certainly study your audience. If in China users prefer everything to be arranged according to a single-window concept, then, for example, in Europe and the USA people will also pay extra money for a private messenger or a separate app for booking tickets.
There are exceptions, though. Mostly, it applies to FinTech. Lydia and Polaroo apps can be taken as examples. The first app is common throughout Europe. It combines accounts of different banks, mobile wallets, contactless payments, savings tools and instant loans.
The second app is popular just in Spain. It tracks all regular payments and user subscriptions in a single window, reminds of payments, and offers more advantageous tariffs.
The most popular super apps in 2021
Here are some apps that definitely fall into the ‘super’ category this year. We have not found a common rating and statistics around the world, so you can add your variants in the comments — let’s discuss.
- WeChat (Сhina)
- AliPay (China)
- Go-Jek (Indonesia)
- Line (Japan)
- Yandex Go (Russia)
- Careem (Dubai)
It’s interesting to note that you can choose only one category for the app in the store. For example, WeChat has a ‘social networking’ category, Yandex Go and Go-Jek — ‘travel’.
How are super apps different from other apps and are there any advantages in promoting them?
Often super apps are the result of long work on an app that was not originally planned as a super app and had only one or few related functions. These functions define the app categories and usually, they are no longer changed, since it does not always have a positive effect on the ranking of the app.
The advantages of super apps are that they are very popular and have a large user base and name recognition.
All this makes optimization and promotion easier. Another advantage can be a broad semantic core since apps offer many different functions and services, each with its own keyword tool. Since super apps often have an active inflow of a large number of installs, working on graphical optimization and increasing conversions can bring tangible results. Even a small increase in conversion can bring tens of thousands of installs.
How is user engagement in super apps changing and whether it is necessary to do ASO
The way of user engagement in super apps is changing. Primarily, it applies to the first step. It can be not an install, but a retention or LTV, for example. You will need to check and rely on completely different metrics, as well as create other ways to attract new users and inform old ones. Push notifications, new onboarding for a fresh feature, ad on social networks or with bloggers, a special project with the media, and so on. The bottom line is that registration will cease to be one of the key metrics of success.
If you don’t have a super app. Trends come and go and you shouldn’t completely trust them with the fate of your product. We believe that the foundation and routine that sometimes you want to get rid of and find a magic pill instead are simply a must.
ASO is essential for any app, since new tasks appear that need to be solved at different steps of the becoming and development of the app.
The rivalry between super apps generally takes place not in the ASO field, but in the field of external marketing and traffic purchasing. Since apps represent a business and its services, the lion’s share of promotion costs are spent outside of mobile stores. However, apps inside the stores are also actively trying to oust competitors.
One of the features in super apps optimization is the step where the emphasis is placed on the main functionality of the app when preparing text metadata, especially the title.
It is this functionality that is associated with the app and most of the semantic core is associated with it. Super apps work more on user retention — high stability of the app and quality of service. Often super apps are engaged in seasonal optimization of metadata, which brings extra traffic.
It seems that super apps’ tendency is only picking up steam, but let’s check this latest news: the FAS Russia has initiated case against Yandex, and Germany is introducing an amendment to the Act against Restraints of Competition. These are just a few examples, but the world is starting to think that the lack of competition is a dead end in innovative development.
On the one hand, Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) is looking to create a WeChat-like super app, Instagram is turning into a giant market and Uber is delivering food. On the other hand, TikTok, the most downloaded app in March 2021, is the app with a single purpose.
Super apps are a global phenomenon both for the world and for the mobile industry. Now, in many large countries there is at least one app that seeks to cover all the needs of the user and make his life easier. And yet, with the privacy and data protection trend, it’s not clear how popular super apps will be in the future.
Sometimes super-apps like the Chinese WeChat cover the need for a single window, and sometimes such products hinder the development of independent promising projects. When it comes to mobile marketing, ASO remains fundamental whether you’re promoting a super app or just an app.
Don’t forget to work with keywords and graphics, pay attention to rankings and competitors. Build your promotion strategy, relying on fresh mobile analytics. You can use Checkaso tools for this. Sign up for a demo or try our free 7-day trial.