Lapse, a photo-sharing app that utilized growth hacking to skyrocket to the top of the App Store earlier this year, is now showing signs of decline. The app initially surged in popularity by mandating users to invite their friends in order to gain access. This viral growth technique initially propelled the app to No. 1 on the U.S. App Store after starting at No. 118 Overall. However, a recent report indicates that relying solely on growth hacks is not enough to sustain long-term success for an app. According to data from app intelligence firm Appfigures, Lapse’s downloads have started to decrease over the past few months, now down by as much as 70% from their peak in October.
The data reveals that rapid growth through the App Store is not a guarantee for ongoing success if an app cannot retain its new users over time.
Initially launched in 2021, the co-founders (and brothers) Dan and Ben Silvertown originally designed Lapse to recreate the experience of a point-and-shoot camera, where photos would be taken but viewing them would be delayed. However, as users began to use Lapse more as a photo journal, the Lapse team pivoted to cater to this new demand. The updated version of Lapse still featured the delayed photo development gimmick, but the focus shifted to curating photos into albums and creating user profiles with monthly photo dumps, similar to trends seen on larger apps like Instagram.
Despite using TikTok ads and an invite mechanism to fuel its growth, Lapse’s pivot was met with mixed reception. Comments from Sheel Mohnot, a VC at Better Tomorrow Ventures, and others criticized the app’s invite scheme, describing it as “dirty” and akin to a “pyramid scheme.”
Even though Lapse initially achieved high ranks, its downloads have been progressively decreasing, dropping to as low as 63,000 per day last week, a 70% decrease from its peak. Lapse was approached for comment on the data but has yet to respond.
Similar trends have been observed with other social photo apps such as Dispo and Poparazzi, further highlighting the challenges faced by newcomers in the social app space to maintain their momentum after an initial surge in popularity.
The decline in new installs for ID by Amo, a new app that combined collage-making abilities with a social network and also used an invite mechanism, suggests that the same trend may be occurring with this app as well.