TikTok’s Instagram rival, Whee, has no traction | TechCrunch


TikTok earlier this month launched a brand new social app referred to as Whee, an Instagram-like service for taking photographs to share with buddies. Like Instagram, Whee additionally helps using photograph filters and consists of messaging. Nevertheless, the corporate’s plans for Whee aren’t clear, because the app has comparatively few downloads and has but to promote itself by way of Apple’s Search Adverts, in keeping with new information from app intelligence agency Appfigures.

With out advertising assist, new apps stay largely invisible on at present’s App Retailer. That seems to be the case for Whee, as effectively, which quietly launched June 18 in 71 nations worldwide. Because of the lack of promotion, Whee didn’t discover its approach into the High Free Apps chart on Apple’s App Retailer, nor did it instantly develop into one of many High 500 Social apps in its supported markets, although that later modified.

Whee is linked to TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, however it’s printed by TikTok itself, not its guardian, in keeping with its App Retailer itemizing.

As of Tuesday, Whee had solely gained 13,000 whole international downloads on iOS and someplace north of 10,000 Android downloads, per Google Play information. It’s additionally clearly not being pushed within the U.S. in the interim, as its prime markets on iOS embrace Malaysia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Peru and Indonesia. Nonetheless, these nations are solely contributing a small variety of downloads.

As an illustration, the No. 1 market Malaysia delivered 2,400 downloads whereas Indonesia rounded up fifth place with simply 800 installs. Due to the small numbers, these are probably downloads from individuals who randomly got here throughout Whee whereas looking the App Retailer. In smaller markets with fewer apps, Whee made it into the High 500 Social apps, although by no means as excessive because the High 10 and principally effectively previous 50.

Picture Credit: Appfigures

What’s extra, Appfigures says ByteDance hasn’t but tried to promote Whee by way of Apple’s Search Adverts, which assist apps rank extremely when App Retailer customers seek for apps utilizing particular key phrases. There hasn’t been any Apple Search Adverts exercise linked with Whee as of but, the agency discovered. As well as, consumer suggestions from those that discovered Whee can be pretty tepid, because the app has an Total score of three.6 out of 5 globally, throughout 31 App Retailer scores, solely 10 of which have evaluations.

ByteDance has not commented on its plans for Whee, however the timing of the app’s launch has raised eyebrows on condition that President Biden formally signed the TikTok ban into regulation in late April after the Home handed a revised invoice that compelled both a TikTok ban or sale. (TikTok has since sued the U.S. to dam the regulation from coming into impact, which can at the very least delay the ban for a while whereas the legality is labored out within the courts.)

Whee’s arrival could possibly be a plan B of kinds that permits ByteDance to take care of a social presence within the U.S., even when TikTok’s ban is upheld.

This isn’t the primary time ByteDance has tried to generate curiosity in different social apps outdoors of TikTok. Earlier in 2023, the corporate quietly launched one other Instagram-like app, Lemon8 within the U.S. and U.Okay., and even paid TikTok influencers to put up concerning the app with the intention to seed its preliminary content material. These efforts didn’t instantly repay; by November 2023, the app’s U.S. downloads on iOS had solely reached 2.5 million — nice numbers for a brand new startup, however nothing close to the dimensions of TikTok, which has over a billion month-to-month lively customers, together with the 170 million within the U.S. Nevertheless, Lemon8 could possibly be a slow-burn try at development. Right now, it’s the No. 2 Lifestyle app within the U.S., with practically 7.7 million iOS installs on this market.

ByteDance additionally operates one other standard video app, CapCut, typically used for making TikTok movies. And it briefly dabbled with a BeReal rival, TikTok Now, although that was shut down after lower than a yr.

Whether or not Whee will observe the identical playbook as Lemon8 stays to be seen. But when your favourite TikTok influencer begins randomly speaking about Whee sooner or later sooner or later, bear in mind they have been most likely paid to take action.

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