It still has a tough road ahead, and initial hype is not a definitive marker for future success. But according to these stats from app analytics provider Sensor Tower, Byte, the second-coming of Vine, is off to a pretty good start.
As you can see here, Byte reached 1.3 million downloads in its first week, surpassing Vine’s performance in the same time period after launch. And while the comparison is not exactly fair – Byte has the advantage of building off of Vine’s popularity, and there are more social media and app users now than there were back in 2013 – it’s still a pretty good performance measure for the short-form video app.
But the app hasn’t been totally free of issues. One of the main problems that many Byte users have noted early on is that the comment streams below each video have been flooded with people desperately seeking to boost their follower counts, with a view to monetizing their content.
At launch, Byte founder Dom Hoffman vowed to right the wrongs of Vine by ensuring that the platform’s top creators and influencers would get paid for their work – even if the app has to dip into its own funding to make that happen. And while there are no parameters around how such a payment system might work, many users, it seems, are under the belief that if they build big followings in the app, they’ll be able to monetize sooner, rather than later. Hence, the push to get more followers, which Byte has since vowed to clean-up in response to concerns.
As noted, it’s not going to be an easy path for Byte, with Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok already at least somewhat established in a similar space, and already, in the case of the first two, offering at least some form of monetization opportunities for top creators. Hoffman’s right in noting that Vine failed in this respect, but offering its own funding to creators doesn’t seem like a viable strategy – but as Byte looks to take market share from TikTok, it may be forced to look at drastic measures to lure users across.
Whether they’ll stick around is another thing. 1.3 million downloads in a week is significant, but we’ll have to wait and see how that translates into active users, and people coming back to Byte daily.
And then, how that impacts TikTok. In some ways, the two apps have the potential to cannibalize each other, leading to less success on both fronts, and if neither can work out an equitable, sustainable practice for monetizing their content, that’ll see them lose steam quickly, as top producers shift across to YouTube and Instagram – just as they did with Vine in 2017.
But it’s a good start, and it’ll definitely pique the interest of many marketers considering the potential of ‘the next big thing’.
Byte is available now on iOS and Android.