Telegram has been in huge demand over the past few years. In 2022, the messenger also started monetizing its users. This is a new trend that is becoming increasingly popular thanks to Twitter.
In August this year, Telegram turned 10 years old and introduced a feature that is more suited to a social network than a messaging app – Stories.
Why does a messenger need stories? Well, companies clone features that don’t always fit the product when revenues aren’t growing as hoped. So how is it in this case?
For the first few months, everything looked great. Between June and December 2022, Telegram’s net app revenue grew 6x from just under $250k in June to over $1.5M in December, according to App Intelligence data from AppFigures. And that’s net revenue, which is what Telegram gets after Apple and Google take their cut.
The App Store provided most of the revenue, about 75%, but that’s fine. But if you look at where the money is coming from, the “normalcy” ends.
In the App Store, Telegram’s largest markets are Russia, the US, China, and Ukraine. Exactly in that order. You don’t see that in normal life.
If you combine that with revenue from Google Play, which is not available in Russia or China, the US wins, but only for that reason.
2022 was a very good and promising year for Telegram, so it was natural to expect 2023 to continue the upward trend. Right?
Not quite. Revenue continued to grow in 2023, and in February, Telegram passed the mega milestone of $3.3 million in net revenue. That’s more than double the December revenue. But here’s where the “not quite” begins. In April, revenue dropped slightly to $2.7 million and stayed around that level until today.
The exception was August, where net revenue totaled $3.3 million, but that’s the kind of growth many apps saw when you look at the revenue index.
So even though revenue is up in 2023, growth is stagnant.
Is this why Telegram cloned stories? To expand the reach of premium subscriptions at the expense of the users it already has? It’s not such a terrible assumption, and it might even be correct.
Telegram seems to want to grow not only through messaging but also through communities, which pretty much means it wants to become a social network, but on a smaller scale, which means it will be directly competing with Discord.
Perhaps that’s why Telegram has also added the concept of boosts, which allows users to add features to a channel by paying for them instead of paying the channel owners. It’s a very clever feature.
However, Discord’s revenue is also stagnant this year. We’ll see how competition with Telegram affects it.
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