While not particularly well known for data-driven reporting, BuzzFeed found that by looking at the number of tweets linking to an app, it was possible in some cases to detect the health of an app, and whether it was likely to shut down in the near future.
The site began collecting data after anonymous social updates app Secret closed down at the end of April. By charting how many tweets linked to an app over several months, BuzzFeed was able to spot a decline in interest in Frontback and This Is My Jam, two services that shut down recently (Frontback was snapped up Frontback was later snapped up by an unknown partner).
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So who’s in trouble next? Ello, the new kid on the social network block that launched last year, hasn’t seen much action since January.
Twitter co-found Biz Stone’s social polling app Jelly also saw a major decline in tweets soon after it launched.
BuzzFeed notes that fewer tweets don’t always mean that an app will die soon. It shared the example of selfie app Shots, whose Twitter activity took a plunge in January when the company disabled sharing photos on the social network in order to keep its content exclusive to its community.
Timehop, an app that surfaces your social posts from the past, also saw a slowdown in early 2015. To make matters worse, Facebook launched a similar feature in March. However, Timehop CEO Jonathan Wegener told BuzzFeed that he attributed the decline in tweets to the app’s shift towards private shares via text messages and screenshots, and that the company has “no plans to pivot or shut down any time soon.”
Following Twitter activity may not always be the most accurate way to track an app’s health, but it does help seek out key milestones and turning points that can be linked to major changes in the product and the way it’s being used.
➤ Social Decay: How Tweets Can Predict The Death Of An App [BuzzFeed News]
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