Almost half of the total world population—nearly 3.48 billion people—are using some form of social media. While giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat have hundreds of millions, even billions of users, niche apps are building their own small but dedicated communities as well.
No matter the size of an app’s user base, it has to make money to survive. Many social apps are free to use and depend largely on advertisers or paid features for revenue, so finding ways to increase in-app engagement and create revenue streams outside of downloads is crucial to the app’s long-term success. That’s why many developers incorporate live engagement features in their social apps.
Plan on building your own social app? Implementing live video, voice, and interactive streaming features into your user experience can help you stand out amongst the competition and open a variety of engagement-driven revenue streams.
More Engagement Leads to More Revenue
The goal of any app is to increase engagement among users and with the app itself, but social apps are particularly dependent on their engagement metrics, as the numbers are used to drive in-app advertising and other monetization opportunities. However, finding a way to keep users engaged and encouraging them to return to the app beyond the initial download can be difficult. That’s why more social apps are implementing live features—live interactive streaming and live group chat into the user experience.
For example, MeetMe created “Live,” a feature that allows users to live stream, watch other live streams, invite others to join their live streams, and chat with other users in real time. Introduced in March 2017, Live has significantly increased user engagement, with 25 percent of MeetMe’s active users taking advantage of live video daily as of April 2018. The Meet Group has also earned over $29 million in annualized revenue since adding the feature.
Better User Retention Leads to More Opportunities
Another benefit of implementing real-time features likes live voice and video chat is an increase in user retention. Rather than use text messaging, FaceTime or another app to communicate with their friends and family, users are compelled to communicate within the social app for a more convenient experience. This leads to an increase in usage time, which can help developers and product owners increase their advertising revenue.
While there are several dedicated voice and video messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Zoom, many have faced scrutiny for their lack of security and data practices. That’s why many users are willing to pay for the live voice and video calls—especially if the quality of experience and service is high. This presents a unique opportunity for social apps that uphold strong security practices to monetize their live video and voice offerings.
The More Interactive the Experience, the Better
Live engagement is about more than just adding real-time video and voice to an app. By incorporating add-on options and in-app purchases, developers and business managers can encourage even more user interactions and build new monetization channels outside of in-app advertising.
Here are some examples of live engagement features making waves in the social space.
- Virtual gifting. What started as a trend on international live streaming platforms has become increasingly popular in the U.S. and other parts of the world, especially as more social apps look for ways to pay their creators for their contributions to the community. Virtual gifts, which are typically non-physical objects that are purchased by users and then exchanged for real cash, are a win for all parties involved. Users can interact directly with their favorite broadcasters, broadcasters can earn revenue for their efforts, and developers and business managers can drive more user engagement and increase app stickiness.
- Virtual filters and stickers. Animated filters and stickers have become very popular amongst social app users. While they are often offered free, platforms like Snapchat offer them as in-app purchases or give businesses the opportunity to create their own at a price. In fact, Snapchat’s viral AR filters were a key growth factor in the company’s successful Q2 this year, helping the company attract 7 to 9 million new users.
- Voice-changing filters. Like animated filters and stickers, voice effects offer users a way to customize their social experience. Sound mixing and sound reverb make live streams and video calling more fun for everyone tuning in to watch a user’s live show or broadcast.
Integrate Your Own Live Engagement Features
No matter what type of social app you want to create, Agora offers a variety of high-quality, scalable real-time communications solutions that you can quickly and easily integrate to create a truly engaging user experience. Agora’s SDKs come with a powerful tech stack for delivering live video and voice directly from inside your app, while Agora’s Software-Defined Real-Time Network™ (SD-RTN™) ensures that every user sees and hears clearly in real time.
To make the most of real-time engagement experiences and enable its customers to monetize their apps, Agora offers over 600 different AR stickers, virtual gifting capabilities, animated filters, and voice-changing filters—all of which can be customized for your social app.
To learn more about Agora can help you engage with your users and monetize your social app, talk to our team.