Meet the man who figured out Pokémon GO is more popular than Twitter
The new app is making headlines all over the U.S. And then some guy made a prediction. And now it's gone completely viral.
Google "Pokémon Joseph Schwartz" and the search engine will return more than a million results. Most of them are from today.
Joseph Schwartz, a graduate of Bar-Ilan University in Israel, is a Digital Insights and Content Manager at SimilarWeb, a web analytics firm with offices in the U.S., Israel, England and Ukraine. Our story of how SimilarWeb was founded by a kid hoping to help his mom's jewelry business and eventually turned into a billion dollar company is for another time. Today, it's about Joseph Schwartz. More specifically, it's about Pokémon GO.
For those who haven't been online in the past few days, we eagerly welcome you back to the digital realm. Here's what you missed: A spin-off of Google teamed up with Nintendo to create an app called Pokémon GO (yes, the "O" is capitalized). You launch the app on your smartphone and you see what your camera sees. You walk around town – there's the grocery store, there's the school, there's your favorite hiking trail – and in addition to seeing the image on your camera, you might also see little Pokémon characters on the screen.
Up until a few days ago, the Pokémon universe had peaked in popularity back in the 1990s. But now the new scavenger hunt app for finding people from the Pokémon universe has gone viral. Since the app launched on July 6, it has quickly become a sensation. About 24 hours after becoming available, it was already on more phones than the popular dating app Tinder – which is six years old and gets more than a billion "swipes" per day. And in less than a week since its launch, the app was installed on nearly 6% of all Android devices in the United States. Pokémon GO users are spending twice the amount of time on the app than they are on apps like Snapchat.
That's where Joseph Schwartz comes into the picture. On Sunday, the 27-year-old Toronto native penned a blog post from his office in Tel Aviv, Israel. In it, the man with a master's degree in communications and media studies included this astounding statistic: By the end of this week, Pokémon GO will have more daily active users than Twitter. Yes, you read that right.
Take a look at SimilarWeb's chart showcasing the immediate rise of the app:
According to SimilarWeb, the Pokémon app was being used for an average of 43 minutes, 23 seconds a day – higher than other popular social networks like Whatsapp and Instagram. That's more than three times as much as people spend on Facebook Messenger.
These statistics become even more staggering once you take into consideration that the app hasn't even launched globally yet. Schwartz predicts it will be very big in Japan, the birthplace of Pokémon. For now, it's only available in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand. On Monday, perhaps not surprisingly, the Pokémon servers crashed.
People are spending more time on Pokémon Go than on many popular social networks. (Photo: SimilarWeb)
Schwartz says he came up with the idea to write a blog post when he saw articles online as early as Friday that people in the U.S. were flocking to the app. "I saw crazy things," he told From The Grapevine. "People were calling the police because they couldn't find their husbands at 3 in the morning because they were busy catching Pokémon."
So why does he think the app become so insanely popular? "I think it blends a lot of things that are very cool," he said. "It plays off the Pokémon nostalgia that a lot of people grew up with. I think it has that augmented reality platform which is really cool. And it also has the social aspect of it, too, where people are gathering together and meeting."
Indeed, one user on Reddit joked that in just two days of Pokémon GO he met more people than in three months on Tinder.
"It went crazy viral over the weekend," Schwartz explained. "It came out at an optimal time right before the weekend. People probably spent all of Saturday and Sunday outside catching Pokémon. But once we have more days worth of data, and once people go back to work, we'll be able to see if it maintains that high usage."
Schwartz cautioned that his statistic about Pokémon GO surpassing Twitter should be looked at with a grain of salt. He compared data between the two apps for only a short amount of time. "I highly doubt it will remain that way," he told us.
And as for his own moment in the spotlight? "It's definitely pretty cool," he said.
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