Home / Software / Apps / Alternative to the TikTok ban? Lemon8, an Instagram rival owned by ByteDance, makes the Top 10 of the US App Store

Alternative to the TikTok ban? Lemon8, an Instagram rival owned by ByteDance, makes the Top 10 of the US App Store

The parent firm of TikTok, ByteDance, is pushing one of its social platforms into the Top Charts of the U.S. App Store as U.S. politicians advance with their plans for a ban or forced sale of the app. The Instagram competitor Lemon8, which is owned by ByteDance and bills itself as a “lifestyle community,” climbed to the No. 10 spot in the overall app charts of the U.S. App Store on Monday. On the App Store’s Top Applications chart, which excludes games, it is now placed No. 9.

This is a significant development for the obscure app, and it shows that sponsored user acquisition strategies are what are driving this upsurge. According to app store intelligence provided to data.ai, the Lemon8 app had never before been ranked in the Top 200 Overall Charts in the United States before yesterday.

The company acknowledges that such a quick rise from being an unranked app to becoming No. 9 among the top free applications in the U.S. — ahead of YouTube, WhatsApp, Gmail, and Facebook — shows that the app publisher made a “significant” and “recent” push to increase user acquisition. Sadly, third-party app analytics companies do not yet have specific information on Lemon8’s U.S. installs or how those installs have lately changed over the past few days because the app is so new to the App Store’s Top Charts.

Given that the software was initially released globally in March 2020, it is most likely that it was surreptitiously placed to the American App Store, albeit just for testing. Later, somewhere in the recent days, it was more formally introduced, which involved a plainly significant investment in sponsored discovery or app install ads.

Lemon8 made its debut on iOS and Android in March 2020, and since then, according to software analytics provider Apptopia, it has received 16 million downloads worldwide, with Japan accounting for 38% of all installs. The company estimated the app has 4.25 million monthly active users even though it doesn’t have a number for its U.S. installs.

While warning that it may have sponsored install campaigns that haven’t yet populated in its system or spend that’s on networks it doesn’t have insight into, Apptopia stated that it had not yet seen Lemon8 spending on paid search on either the App Store or Google Play.
Nevertheless, we think ByteDance may just be using TikTok, one of its own channels, to promote app downloads.
We noticed that several TikTok creators have recently started talking about Lemon8, and that many new videos have only recently started to appear. Although many of their evaluations are really positive, it is concerning that they are not identified as paid content.

For instance, Gabrielle Victor, one of the creators, told her 435.3K fans, “It’s so f***ing cute. attractive on the eye. It resembles the offspring of Pinterest and Instagram.

If you haven’t heard of it, I advise you to head over to the App Store and download it immediately, says another artist, Passion Willems (73.9K followers).

”Yet, other creators are less trusting of the TikTok community’s sudden enthusiasm for the new app. Is it a coincidence that I’ve seen so many of these [Lemon8] videos back-to-back with the TikTok ban being in the news at the moment, wonders Alexandrea Brumfield? ”
Her worries might not be unwarranted.
Insider revealed last month that ByteDance was covertly launching Lemon8 in the United States and the United Kingdom. to seed the app’s early U.S. content, and had been paying authors to post on it. The actions required to earn paid for their postings were disclosed by the influencers to the news source. It wouldn’t be shocking if ByteDance used some of these recent, excessively gushing TikTok videos praising Lemon8 as paid influencer marketing campaigns.

Beyond timing, of course, what leads us to believe that is the terminology used by Lemon8’s designers in the Insider story to describe the app, such as calling it a combination of Pinterest and Instagram. Now, the TikTok artists who are posting these overly uplifting movies are recycling that exact same caption.

Along with the previously mentioned illustration, a look through Lemon8-related videos on TikTok reveals producers who frequently use the expressions “Pinterest meets Instagram” or “like Instagram and Pinterest had a kid” while praising the app as “sooo cute.”
None of the authors who posted these encouraging reviews that we located revealed whether they had received payment to distribute their movies.

We found over 350 videos that matched the search phrase after searching for the keyword “Lemon8” and then filtering for videos that had been uploaded within the previous 24 hours. They were overwhelmingly positive, which encourages consumers to download the app. Several developers even claimed they were purchasing the app in case TikTok was shut down.

Lemon8 may not be a good alternative if TikTok is banned, as lawmakers may be considering a broad range of restrictions on Chinese technology, including on mobile applications that go much beyond TikTok alone. ByteDance, however, is not beyond relying on creators to support its position; in fact, the business deployed influencers to Washington ahead of last week’s congressional session to advocate for TikTok. Beyond the initiatives in which it has a direct hand, a number of creators are dissatisfied with the nationwide prohibition that U.S. politicians have suggested, not to mention the obvious ignorance of technical issues displayed by the House representatives who questioned TikTok’s CEO.

On TikTok, the hashtag “Lemon8” has currently had 2.3 billion views; however, this number includes a significant amount of non-American, non-English language video spanning a longer time period. According to a recent New York Times report, as of yesterday, the #TikTokBan hashtag had received 1.7 billion views on TikTok, with many people disapproving of the restriction.

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