The Year in Review: 2016 in 6 Infographics (Part 1)

The past year has been a tumultuous one in tech, politics, and media.

We saw some record-breaking mergers both completed (like Microsoft’s $26.2 billion LinkedIn acquisition) and announced (AT&T’s proposed Time Warner buy), explosive disruptions in the smartphone market (looking at you, Samsung Galaxy Note 7), and more. To help you keep tabs on all that’s happened, Verto Analytics created six infographics to illustrate some of the biggest movers and shakers in 2016. First, we’re focusing on app use (among U.S. adults, 18 and above). In our second installment, we’ll covers global device ownership and cross-device data. Don’t want to wait? Download the full set here.

1. Most Disruptive Mobile Game of the Year: Pokémon GO

Nintendo’s venture into smartphone-based mobile gaming was the runaway hit of the summer. We tracked the spike in user numbers after the game launched in the U.S. on July 6, as well as the subsequent drop in numbers over the course of the summer. More importantly, we also analyzed the game’s user engagement and retention rates—did it follow the same trends that Verto’s mobile game research has shown?

From 36 million monthly users in July (among U.S. adults, ages 18 and over) including a peak of 31 million daily users on July 15 alone, Pokémon GO has lost more than 75% of its users over the past four months. That actually puts it ahead of most of its peers: according to Verto Analytics data, the average mobile game retains less than 20% of its players after 30 days. Unsurprisingly, Pokémon GO’s user base skews young: as the game’s user numbers have stabilized over the past two months, so have its user demographics: since October, about 70% of Pokémon GO’s users have been under the age of 35.

2. Messaging Apps: Is Snapchat Ready for its IPO?

In April, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would open its Messenger platform to chatbot developers. While the resulting wave of chatbots received a tepid response from the tech press and users alike, it signaled two important developments in the messaging apps universe: the rise of AI and machine learning, and the evolution of messaging apps as a full-fledged ecosystem, rather than a subset of social media platforms and communications tools.

We devoted our July Verto Index to messaging apps. While Facebook Messenger continues to be the dominant player in the U.S., our Index focused on stickiness (Verto compares daily users to monthly users to quantify the most engaged users) as a key metric for identifying the next big messaging app success stories. Six months later, with Snapchat on the verge of what could be tech’s biggest IPO in recent history, we took a look at the numbers again. Although Snapchat continues to outrank Facebook Messenger in terms of stickiness, that margin has shrunk along with Snapchat’s user numbers. Are Snapchat’s filters finally wearing thin, or will the company’s ambitions around wearables and media partnerships revive user interest and engagement? There are also other players in this crowded space to watch, such as WhatsApp (now owned by rival Facebook).

3. E-Commerce: A Look at Who’s Engaging the Right Shoppers

As we shared in last month’s E-Commerce Index, Amazon is king of online shopping, with a steady increase in user numbers and engagement as we enter prime holiday shopping season. But when we take a look at legacy brands—like Walmart and Target, two brick and mortar retailers that are struggling to overhaul their digital offerings—a more nuanced picture of consumer activity begins to emerge.

Target and Walmart’s user bases both skew heavily female—in Walmart’s case, female customers have outnumbered males by nearly 2 to 1, and Target’s demographics are even more drastically weighted towards women. Audience behavior is also split along gender lines: when it comes to the average amount of time that users spend on an e-commerce site or app, men spend a relatively consistent amount of time from month to month, whereas the amount of time that women spend varies considerably from month to month. This effect is seen especially with eBay and Target, which experience distinct peaks and valleys in user time and attention among female audiences. As the battle for user engagement continues among both online and legacy retailers, we’ll continue to see disruptions in e-commerce space for years to come.

Interested in our 2016 infographics? We’ll be publishing a followup post next month. Or click here to download the entire collection now.