Britain's favourite apps of 2016

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According to our latest research into the nation’s most used apps, 70% of Brits used the Facebook app last year...
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Britain's favourite apps of 2016

The nation's favourite apps

You’ve probably heard it mentioned once or twice that, in this hyper-connected world, we’re ‘always on’. But what seems closer to the truth is that we’re always on Facebook. And that’s just the adults.

Using a database of over 300 apps – not counting bloatware that runs in the background of our phones - we looked at the nation’s most used apps of last year to understand which of them are essential to our daily lives. And from there, we build our App Map of Britain.

Facebook: The everything network

Facebook is now so much more than a social network. Long gone are the days of ‘poking’ people or ‘throwing sheep’. It’s becoming increasingly clear that Facebook is a primary tool, not just for connecting friends, but for finding and following news. And with obvious benefits.

Facebook provides access to both professional and amateur coverage. Much of the content you see is essentially ‘peer-reviewed news’, allowing you to gauge public perception in real time. And the subject matter is chosen for your attention through Facebook’s complex algorithms.

Facebook isn’t the only social-media-come-news-source in the top ten either. In a year that saw both an EU referendum and a presidential election, Twitter was used by 38% of Brits. Both apps featured above any official news app.

Search and social

Our research found that not only was Facebook the most used app in Britain, but it was one of four social media and messaging apps to appear in the top ten, with Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp also in prime positions. In fact, as an overall category, 87% of adults in Britain used social media and messaging apps on their phones last year.

But the second most popular app in the country, featuring just behind Facebook, is Google Search. It’s clear that search and social functionality are at the core of Britain’s daily app diet, with 70% and 69% of Brits are using these apps respectively. And so too, it seems, is video.

Generation video

Nearly three quarters of Brits used video streaming apps last year, and leading them all is Google’s video giant, YouTube. 68% of Brits used the YouTube app, and the attraction for many lies in the immediate and targeted entertainment possible through video-streaming.

With 300 hours of video uploaded every minute, users never need to be stuck watching repeats. Compare this to waiting until you get home for scheduled TV entertainment - it’s clear why Brits, and millennials especially, opt for online video.

Expanding to meet the increasing desire for live video – and competing with Facebook Live and Twitter’s PeriscopeYouTube moved to the top of the app stores last month. This was shortly after announcing it was opening its live-streaming facility to users with 1,000 subscribers or more.

Mapping Britain’s apps

Facebook, Google Search and YouTube top Britain’s most used apps of last year, but you can view the entire top 40 list along with the rest of our research in our App Map of Britain.

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

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