A new report contesting the validity of Triller's recently announced download numbers prompted Triller to respond by threatening legal action. Triller, a newly contested TikTok rival who could potentially benefit from a US TikTok ban, has sought to capitalize on recent events regarding its main competitor. Earlier this month, Triller released a press release claiming that numerous new downloads had been recorded following the news of a possible TikTok ban, bringing Triller's app to a total of 250 million downloads worldwide for iOS and Android. The company also separately reported 65 million monthly active users. However, estimates by third-party mobile data and analytics companies call these numbers into question.
First, App Store intelligence company Apptopia compiled the numbers for Triller's downloads and found that 250 million downloads are inflated. According to its analysis, Apptopia had estimated that Triller's app had been downloaded 52 million times on iOS and Google Play worldwide since launch, not 250 million times as Triller had said.
theinformationsuperhighway reached out to Triller for comment on Apptopia's results. Triller and Apptopia then came into contact independently of one another through a joint investor. After some back and forth between the two, Apptopia decided to pull up his report.
During that time, Triller also threatened to sue Apptopia for misinformation in a comment to theinformationsuperhighway.
Mike Lu, CEO of Triller, told theinformationsuperhighway via email that Apptopia "has clearly taken the liberty of becoming a builder of these huge conglomerates, particularly those like TikTok, with whom we are in an active legal dispute over the theft of our patents." (Lu was referring to the recent patent infringement lawsuit Triller filed against TikTok.)
"We would have welcomed Apptopia with open arms if they'd just reached out to us and helped them understand our numbers, and now they've made themselves part of our TikTok litigation," threatened Lu. "We are going to bring a lawsuit against them for distributing harmful, false and knowingly harmful information," he said.
This is a pretty aggressive response to an App Store download dispute. Industry insiders know that none of the analytics companies in the App Store have absolutely accurate figures. In the meantime, regular consumers can get a feel for how popular an app is by looking at the App Store's top charts, which are public.
For another connection with the now controversial download number, we asked the mobile data and analysis company App Annie and the app store intelligence company Sensor Tower for their own trill data. App Annie declined to share downloads but shared ranking data. Sensor Tower data showed that Triller had reached 45.6 million installs worldwide on iOS and Android since its inception. That is even less than the 52 million that Triller vehemently denied.
Sensor Tower suggested that the discrepancies between third-party estimates and Triller's own numbers could be related to how Triller counted its installations. Some publishers include other types of installs, such as fresh installs, updates, and direct installs from Android APKs (i.e., installs outside of Google Play). Third party companies do not see these numbers. Third party companies don't count things like reinstallations either, as doing so effectively counts the same user twice. Of course, the sensor tower doesn't know how Triller counted the internal installations.
While Apptopia no longer stands behind its original report and estimate of 52 million installs, its report contained some other interesting findings that are still worth looking into as they are not based on its forecasting technology.
For example, Triller recently told CNBC that it has 65 million monthly active users (MAUs). Counting an app's MAUs is a way of measuring its current usage and popularity. This is usually a much smaller number than the total number of downloads an app has, as not everyone who tries an app will stick to it as a normal user.
Using Triller's own download count of 250 million and his own 65 million MAU count, it claims a lifetime retention rate of 26%. (The lifetime retention rate determines the percentage of total app downloads that the current MAU number represents.) The trill rate is well above what the best apps in the business can achieve.
Snapchat, for example, has a lifetime retention rate of 20%. TikTok has a lifetime retention rate of 11%. Trillers is higher based on its own numbers.
Triller's answer to that part of the claim is that his app has changed a lot since it launched in 2015. For example, it didn't become a social media platform until 2018. If you look at the 90-120 day retention numbers for TikTok or Snap, they would be over 30%. This is how the numbers should be compared.
Apptopia's report also pointed to Triller's App Store and Google Play chart rankings as another data point in questioning Triller's download claims.
For strangers, the App Store chart rankings are determined by downloads combined with other factors like download speed, ratings, user retention, and more.
To analyze Triller's claim in the context of its chart ranking, Apptopia compared several other popular US apps, including Twitter, Pinterest, Gmail, and Twitch.
These apps were chosen because they had a similar number of US downloads as Triller for the period that Apptopia was used to analyze Triller's claim: July 23, 2015 – August 2, 2020. The former is the date Triller was launched, and the latter is the time a press release was published stating the download number of 250 million.
Simply put, if Triller's 250 million figure were correct, apparently the app would appear much higher than her on the US App Store and Google Play charts.
On iOS, the average overall ranking for Gmail during that period was # 17, Twitter # 35, Pinterest # 33, and Twitch # 233. Triller was # 353. (Twitch is lower than the others because it's one less app used because chart rankings are not entirely download-dependent and because many Twitch users stream on desktop, not mobile. But even they rank higher than Triller.)
You can see that Triller is consistently way below the other trends on the US charts. This trend becomes even clearer when you zoom into the last 90 days (see below).
Here, too, Apptopia's estimate is in line with App Annie's data. While App Annie did not achieve a lifetime average rank like Apptopia, in the past 90 days it did achieve Triller's average overall US iPhone App Store rank, which was No. 303.
A similar trend can be observed on Google Play, where Triller does not even rank enough days in the "Overall" category to be statistically relevant in the specified period. (Gmail didn't either, but that's because the app comes pre-installed on many Android phones so users don't have to download it.)
Triller's answer to that claim is that it was again a different app before 2018 and has risen to number 1 in many markets outside of the US, including Korea where it is currently number 1. For the past 10 days, it has been # 1 in Pakistan, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Italy, and France, and for the past 30 days in India, the United States, South Africa, Nigeria, and dozens of others.
"Our growth and numbers are very fresh and very new, so it is neither relevant nor applicable to us to take something long-term or just the US," said Mike Lu, CEO of Triller.
The timing for Triller's 250 million download claim follows reports that the startup is raising hundreds of millions in new funds. Fox Business recently reported that Triller had "pledges from investors of $ 200 million to $ 300 million." Pegasus Tech Ventures, a Triller investor, emailed journalists to cover Triller in early August. The app has "now collected around $ 250 million at a valuation of $ 1 billion".
Triller also recently made news for Patent infringement lawsuit against TikTok, verified in court files theinformationsuperhighway pulled from PACER.
None of this is accidental. Triller has set itself the goal of becoming the TikTok alternative that wins the US market if TikTok can't reach an agreement in the time allotted by Trump supreme command TikTok must sell its US operations or be banned in the country.
Mr. Lu denied claims made by third-party mobile data companies when he reached for a comment. The company stands by its numbers.
"No app intelligence company provided our data," said Lu. “Any of the numbers they provide have no relevance or accuracy to our numbers. We are able to validate each and every one of our users. They should also disclose which of our competitors are paying them hundreds of thousands of dollars like TikTok, ”he added.
Lu also openly wondered if a Triller competitor was feeding in false information. His full statement is below:
The largest app intelligence companies have fewer than 1 million users / customers and fewer than a few hundred large companies actually providing them with real data. All the numbers they present are based solely on estimates based on a very small sample group and are far from accurate. The terms of service of all app intelligence companies state that all the numbers they provide are from their own estimates. While certain companies pay these companies more than a few hundred thousand dollars and give them access to their numbers, we have not given them such access. All of the numbers they provide are completely inaccurate and they themselves state that they have no actual means of validation without us granting them access. This is clearly just a transparent attack by one of our competitors who pays them well to spread this false information. It's sad to see companies that are supposed to be neutral, claiming to be entrepreneurial and pro-American, allow themselves to become a farmer of these giant conglomerates, especially those like TikTok, with whom we are in an active legal battle because they are ours Stole patents. "
After talking to Triller, Apptopia informs us that Triller will soon have access to more precise numbers and will publish them at a later date. The companies seem to be sorting things out.
We work closely with Triller who has been very transparent and opens all of his analytics accounts to Apptopia. We work on internal reports and work with Triller to provide the most accurate and up-to-date data in the short term. Between her tremendous success in emerging cellular markets that are usually difficult to model (e.g. India, Africa, etc.) and the fact that Triller's growth is very young, it's especially difficult to compare it to peers who have been around for years Have growth and history. We are keen to publish the most accurate estimates possible. The best way to do this is to work hand in hand with Triller and authenticate their real data. We plan to do so in the coming weeks and do our best to be the source of truth on this matter.