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Credible data shatters Helo and ShareChat’s tall claims of 40 Mn plus MAUs


Update: We have removed the name of the data source as the top app tracking and analyzer platform reached out to us saying – we aren’t authorized to quote their data.

Apparently, Nine months old social networking app Helo has quickly been catching up with four years old home-grown vernacular content discovery app Sharechat.

Yesterday, the Bytedance owned app claimed 40 million Monthly Active Users (MAU) in India as at the end of the March 2019. Meanwhile, according to a top app tracker and analyzer, Helo has been ahead of ShareChat since the beginning of early February this year in terms of downloads.

For the three months period from January 30 to April 29, while Helo maintains a little over 3.25 lakh downloads on a daily average basis, ShareChat’s figure looms around 2.7 lakhs.

In terms of total downloads (as per global app tracker and analyser whose numbers are widely referred by media and analyst globally), Helo has 56 million downloads whereas Shunwei-backed firm’s total install figure hovered around 50 million.

Although the recent claim of 40 million MAUs by Helo doesn’t reflect in the widely accepted app tracker’s data, the app’s analysis shows that ShareChat is more engaging than Helo. By March end, ShareChat had 18 million monthly active users. If we consider that 2.7 lakh daily downloads in April gave the app 8-9 million more active users – best case scenario with a negligible chance of being close to reality.

Considering this, March itself must have seen 10 million new users, and so must have Feb, but the MAUs only increased 3 million overall in these three months. This also goes to showcase poor retention of users on the application.

Same goes for Helo, with its 3 lakh daily downloads during the period and increase in MAUs standing at less than 2.5 million.

ShareChat has an active user base in the range of 15-18 million during the three months period from December 2018 to March 2019. Helo has a monthly active user base in the range of 10 to 12.5 million, an estimate that clearly counters the Chinese app’s formidable claim.

On another front, ShareChat has over 30% DAU-MAU ratio (6.8:18), and Helo has around 50% DAU-MAU ratio (5.8:12.5).

Given that Helo has been burning anywhere close to $12 to 18 million on marketing and promotion, it’s being ahead of ShareChat in the overall download is pretty much obvious. It also leverages the network effect of Bytedance’s portfolio – TikTok and Vigo in driving installs.

On the other hand, ShareChat has been ahead of Helo in average session* per users. Users of the former app opened it over 79 times from January 30 to April 29 period while Helo’s users fired the app over 76 times in the same duration.

At present, ShareChat claims to have around 45 million MAU, which is just 5 million ahead of the claim made by the nine-month-old Helo.

As far as the average time spent on both apps are concerned, users spend 1% more time on Helo than on ShareChat. In terms of average data spent per user, ShareChat outnumbers Helo users by a 32% higher consumption figure.

A ShareChat user, on an average, has spent 547.3 MB of his or her data over the app and Helo user consumed 414.7 MB.

The app tracker data shows that both apps have gained a little over 1 million active users in the past three months. This signifies that the market isn’t growing as fast as the claims and reports are showcasing it to.

Helo attributes the majority of its growth to the algorithm and proprietary AI tools. At the same time, it has been throwing money as well as using its network influence to gain ShareChat’s user base with a sooner-the-better attitude.

After being prohibited to increase usage and downloads of TikTok, a ban that lasted for a week on Madras High Court order, Bytedance announced its plans to invest $1 billion in India over the course of the next three years.

Although the investment plans seem to be more of a public relations repairing statement, if executed, Helo is likely to benefit from it in terms of spending ability for the purpose of customer acquisition and app development.

“We are on target to achieve our target of 300% growth in 2019, said Shyamanga Barooah, Head of Content Operations, Helo said in an IANS report published by Business Standard.

The recent surge by Helo will definitely make things more difficult for ShareChat, which has raised about $122 million till date, in the hope to create India first vernacular social and content discovery platform.

Since ShareChat is fighting mighty Bytedance, it requires to keep raising money and innovating.

Recommended read: ShareChat needs a money plant to fight mighty ByteDance: How and Why?

If we take the analysis and data provided by the app tracker closely approximated to the reality of the scenario, it is clear that the claims made by both companies aren’t as real as they want it to be. But still, it doesn’t take away from the competition that keeps intensifying between the two largest players in the vernacular social media industry.

These tall claims, on the other hand, might not be baseless and could be counting on metrics different than those used by the app tracker whose numbers are widely referred by media globally.

The current scenario seems to project Helo to be quickly catching up with Sharechat in terms of user base. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen, who will ultimately retain maximum users for a longer period and find stable monetization channels to grow towards a profitable business.

*Session here does not mean the time spent. Instead, it reflects the number of times an app was opened.

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