ironSource’s “Q4 Fastest Growing Apps” Insights


Lite Apps Rise in Popularity and Emerge as a Top Growing Sector.

ironSource, an app discovery company, announced its Q4 insights from the company’s Fastest Growing Apps platform, a free data and analytics tool that enables app developers to understand app market trends by identifying the categories and apps with the quickest acceleration of growth.

“We meet almost a billion users every month,” said Omer Kaplan, CMO and Co-Founder of ironSource (pictured left). “That scale puts us in a unique position in the ecosystem that gives us a great perspective on the market, and we built Fastest Growing Apps as a way to share these insights with the developer community. By focusing on the categories and apps with the most rapid growth, we are able to effectively identify emerging areas of opportunity for developers.”


Lite Apps Lit Up.
Q4 insights showed the increasing popularity of Lite Apps across a wide variety of categories. Following Facebook’s launch of Facebook Lite in early 2015, more important players have joined the trend by creating Lite versions of their existing apps, which are less than 1 MB and designed for 2G networks and areas with limited network connectivity.

In November of this quarter, additional big-time player, Cheetah Mobile, the world’s leading mobile tools provider, joined the Lite apps arena. The company launched a Lite version of Clean Master—Clean Master Lite—which is specifically designed for phones with less than 1 GB of memory and a small installation package size of only 3.61 MB. The app, which is popular in emerging countries including India, was December’s sixth fastest growing app in the 500K-1M download range, doubling from 500K to 1M download last month.

“The increase of Lite apps being developed by important players in the app industry is a clear identifier that this is a growing field with the potential to become a key factor in successfully accessing emerging markets,” explained Kaplan. “With massive populations and smartphone adoption at an all-time high, these markets represent a huge opportunity for app developers, and building Lite versions of their apps is a critical step in taking advantage of this huge potential.”

Gaming Apps Tied to TV Shows and Movies.
This quarter also saw the rise of brand-driven gaming apps released in conjunction with a TV show or movie. This trend linking the entertainment and mobile gaming worlds can prove lucrative for developers, who can learn from the success of apps like the Walking Dead, Minions, Good Dinosaur and Star Wars, which were all among the fastest growing this quarter.

Shop ‘Til U Drop.
At the category level, Shopping was in the top three fastest growing categories, led by the success of shopping apps such as Wish, Amazon and AliExpress. While this growth can be attributed to the recent holiday season surge and retail-oriented shopping events such as China’s Singles Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, with the flood of mobile retailer purchases made during the holiday season, many apps in the Shopping category also tend to increase their user acquisition budgets in order to focus on pre-acquisition ahead of the holiday season.


Insights for ironSource’s Fastest Growing Apps tool are generated by an algorithm which analyzes the average growth of app categories and applications in the Google Play Store above 500K downloads. The algorithm takes into account the possibility of exceptional growth from a singular app and discards these outliers in order to prevent a biased outcome. The data, which is updated monthly, shows which applications are topping each Google Play download range by average growth in downloads. This way, each app developer can see which apps are trending in his or her desired Google Play range and understand the growth of different subcategories.



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