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Facebook soars ahead of Google and Tencent on iOS App Store

Facebook made a U-turn on mobile a few years back, scrapping HTML5 in favor of native platforms. In the years that followed, over half of the social network’s 1.4 billion users would connect to the social network through mobile.

The change was one of Facebook’s smartest, with app analytics firm Sensor Tower revealing four of the five most downloaded apps in the third quarter come from the social network. Messenger topped the charts, followed by Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, and Instagram. Layout for Instagram came in seventh, behind Agar.io.

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In the United States, the only major difference for Facebook is the lack of WhatsApp growth. The messaging app drops from fourth most downloaded to 16th, but is more than making up for that drop with millions of downloads in Southeast Asia and India.

Facebook shows a huge attachment to iPhone compared to Google, LINE, and Gameloft. WhatsApp and Instagram are almost exclusively iPhone apps, with a insignificant number of iPad users.

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Google is far behind Facebook on app growth, but the search giant continues to show strong performance with YouTube and Google Maps reaching the top 10. The Google Search app also appears 19th on the global charts, and Gmail reaches the 20th in the U.S. charts.

In total downloads across the entire iOS App Store, Google holds first place, however data provided by Sensor Tower does not combine Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp total downloads. With all three combined, we might see a change, at least pushing Facebook above Chinese giant Tencent, currently in second place.

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None of the aforementioned apps make the most iOS revenue in global or U.S. charts. Clash of Clans and Game of War, the two major social games with micro-transactions, make up most of the revenue for the store. Supercell (Clash of Clans developer) made the most revenue on iOS by quite a margin, and two other mobile gaming studios, Machine Zone (Game of War developer) and King (Candy Crush developer), came second and third.

Interestingly, travel is the fastest-growing genre on iOS in the third quarter. Sensor Tower cites the approaching holiday season as a great time for app developers to promote travel apps and launch any new updates, which may draw users’ interest.