Lapse, The Photo App Chasing Virality, Sees Declining Downloads


Lapse, the photo-sharing app that gained rapid popularity earlier this year with its growth hacking strategy, is now experiencing a decline in downloads. The app achieved success by compelling users to invite their friends to join, a method that has recently been adopted by the new social app ID by Amo. However, a recent report reveals that relying solely on growth hacking techniques is not enough to sustain an app’s success in the long term. According to data from app intelligence firm Appfigures, Lapse’s downloads have plummeted by as much as 70% from their October peak.

Key Takeaway

Growth hacking techniques may allow an app to quickly rise to the top of the App Store, but sustained success requires more than just user acquisition. Achieving long-term engagement and user retention is crucial for an app’s survival in the competitive app market.

Originally launched in 2021, Lapse was developed by co-founders and brothers, Dan and Ben Silvertown, with the aim of recreating the experience of a point-and-shoot camera. The app’s unique feature was that it delayed the viewing of photos to simulate the anticipation of developing film. This concept had been previously explored by other photo apps like Dispo and Later Cam. However, Lapse’s team noticed that users were using the app more as a photo journal, which led to a pivot in its strategy. The revised version of Lapse focused on organizing photos into albums and creating user profiles with monthly photo dumps, aligning with the trend seen on larger apps like Instagram.

While TikTok ads and the invite mechanism initially fueled Lapse’s growth, the app faced criticism for its onboarding process. Users described the inviting feature as “annoying” and felt compelled to “spam” their friends. Despite these complaints, Lapse maintained its top ranking for a period of time. Appfigures data indicates that Lapse started September with an average of 8,000 downloads per day, which increased to 210,000 downloads per day by the end of the month. It became the most downloaded app on the U.S. App Store and consistently ranked in the top 5 daily. The peak was reached in October when Lapse garnered 218,000 downloads in a single day. However, the app’s performance started to decline thereafter.

Although Lapse continues to attract new installs, its daily downloads dropped last week to 63,000 per day, reflecting a 70% decrease from its peak. By November 24th, downloads had further decreased to as low as 44,738. Lapse has yet to comment on the data. Similar trends have been observed with other apps in the social and photo app space, such as Dispo and Poparazzi. Despite achieving millions of downloads, Poparazzi ultimately had to shut down due to a lack of sustained user engagement. Another photo app, BeReal, also saw a decline in U.S. monthly users from 3.7 million in November 2022 to 3 million in August this year, as reported by analytics firm Similarweb. However, BeReal claims to still have over 25 million active users worldwide.

It appears that maintaining momentum in the competitive social and photo app market is challenging, regardless of how quickly an app rises to the top of the App Store rankings. Meanwhile, ID by Amo, a new app that combines the collage-making features of Pinterest’s Shuffles with a social network, has also witnessed a decline in installs after its launch, according to data from Appfigures. The fate of ID remains to be seen.

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