Google Allo a Success or a Failure: Analysis of Data By Region

In May this year, Google announced its ambitious project to overthrow Facebook’s global social network empire. As we covered in Battle of Social Networks in Asia, Facebook has been utterly dominating almost every country in the world with its various social and messaging apps. Since “attention economy” is the new buzzword, Google released a smarter messaging app Google Allo to get its own piece in the action.

By incorporating AI, Google Allo attempts to provide a “superior” chatting experience. It features automated “Smart Replies”, integrated Google Assistant that will answer your questions, and easier ways to express one’s feelings with emojis and pictures. Google built a global anticipation for this impressive product, and Allo launched globally few days ago on the 23rd. How has it been doing since the launch? Is it good enough to dethrone Facebook?

Google Allo Screenshot

(Picture from Wikipedia)

Struggling in Asia

We tracked both Apple App Store and Google Play rankings for Allo across 21 countries, and the answer is a resounding no. What is even more notable about Allo’s lack of success is that it is not making any impact on the social networking scene in Asia, where Google Android is much more prevalent than it is in America or Europe.

For instance, Google Allo ranked #372 in iOS and #114 in Google Play as of September 26th 2016 in Asian countries. In contrast, Facebook’s top app in each country ranks way higher than Google Allo, even on Google Play. On average, Facebook’s top app ranked #9 in iOS and #5 in Google Play for Asian countries. Google Play did not even make the top 1,500 in Japan only 3 days after the launch.*

Even in India, basically the only country in Asia where Allo was successful (reaching #1 download rank in iOS and #2 in Google Play at launch), Allo’s rank has been sliding from #1 to #2 in iOS and #2 to #4 in Google Play.*

iOS 9/23/2016 9/24/2016 9/25/2016 9/26/2016 10/03/2016 FB's Top App
Korea 602 712 830 970 1,500 24
Japan 1,244 1,340 1,500 1,500 1,500 15
Taiwan 158 176 266 348 1,313 11
Hong Kong 97 78 94 162 405 9
Australia 76 72 114 145 608 8
India 1 1 2 2 60 3
Indonesia 36 29 53 55 172 1
Thailand 288 152 249 340 1,146 4
Vietnam 518 477 271 166 1,500 2
Singapore 15 18 23 31 174 8
Average 304 306 340 372 838 9
Google Play 9/24/2016 9/25/2016 9/26/2016 10/3/2016 FB's Top App
Korea 335 274 349 1,500 24
Japan 177 99 148 537 9
Taiwan 55 28 40 420 6
Hong Kong 10 2 7 64 1
Australia 4 2 3 54 2
India 2 3 4 33 2
Indonesia 101 53 63 161 1
Thailand 391 172 256 466 1
Vietnam 320 177 264 1,500 1
Singapore 2 1 2 37 1
Average 140 81 114 477 5

*we updated our data again on October 3rd, and the trend has deteriorated.

Limited Success in Other Regions Is Short-Lived

In other regions like Europe and the Americas, Google Allo seems to be enjoying some success on Google Play. Although Allo only ranked an average of 97 in iOS on September 26th (from 36 on September 23rd), it ranked on average of 11 on Google Play (from 23rd on September 23rd).*

This is most likely because Android in developed markets in Americas and Europe are more updated and are pushing the Google Allo app through automatic downloads. It remains to be seen as to how long this trend will continue if Allo is unable to garner actual usage by consumers. Furthermore, this pales in comparison to Facebook, whose Whatsapp continues to reign as the #1 most downloaded app on Google Play in those regions.

iOS 9/23/2016 9/24/2016 9/25/2016 9/26/2016 10/03/2016 FB's Top App
US 37 88 156 198 691 8
Mexico 25 38 54 52 233 1
Brazil 14 20 37 41 117 2
Argentina 3 9 19 25 271 8
UK 87 130 211 228 935 10
Italy 51 77 135 87 743 8
France 118 152 280 315 1,270 8
Germany 35 48 67 66 597 7
UAE 1 1 1 7 81 8
Egypt 29 26 28 40 208 1
Qatar 1 1 1 7 74 8
Average 36 54 90 97 475 6
Google Play 9/24/2016 9/25/2016 9/26/2016 10/03/2016 FB's Top App
UK 7 1 4 75 1
Mexico 23 25 24 106 1
Brazil 20 8 14 102 1
Argentina 20 9 10 108 1
US 1 5 5 63 1
Italy 15 4 6 63 1
France 37 6 11 139 1
Germany 12 2 3 33 1
UAE 8 2 3 36 1
Egypt 97 32 39 152 1
Qatar 14 5 6 38 1
Average 23 9 11 83 1

*we updated our data again on October 3rd, and the trend has deteriorated.

Power of Network Effect

Why is this happening? If Google Allo really is a superior product, why aren’t consumers flocking to it while abandoning all Facebook products? One plausible explanation might be the power of network effect.

The network effect is a phenomenon whereby a service becomes more valuable when more people use it. Social and messaging apps exhibit this property because you are likely to use a product that your friends also use; otherwise, with whom would you converse or share pictures? This characteristic makes it extremely difficult for a new service like Allo to enter the market late and steal away users from a dominant incumbent like Facebook, Messenger, Instagram or Whatsapp.

Many of Allo’s features are reminiscent of Google Plus that boasted upgraded functionalities compared to its competitor Facebook. Google Plus was supposed to be a superior experience than Facebook, and the world was excited to welcome a new social network. In the end, it failed to achieve all of its objectives, though it did succeed in collecting people’s names. So far, data does not seem to suggest this time is going to be different for Google Allo.

Duckju Kang

Duckju (DJ) is the founder and CEO of ValueChampion. He covers the financial services industry, consumer finance products, budgeting and investing. He previously worked at hedge funds such as Tiger Asia and Cadian Capital. He graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics with honors, Magna Cum Laude. His work has been featured on major international media such as CNBC, Bloomberg, CNN, the Straits Times, Today and more.

Comments and Questions