Could it be that splitting social apps into separate, niche elements is not such an effective growth strategy after all?
Facebook pretty much set the benchmark for this process with Messenger - by announcing the forced split of Facebook messaging into its separate Messenger app back in 2014, Facebook has since been able to effectively create a whole new social ecosystem, which they can monetize in a completely different way, and grow separate to the main app.
And while the decision to push Facebook messaging users over onto Messenger was not, initially, well received, you'd have to say that it's worked, which may have been the spark that's lead to other platforms trying to split out their various functionalities in a similar manner.
The case in point here is YouTube, which launched a separate YouTube Gaming app back in 2015.
Looking to capitalize on the popularity of gaming content on its platform, YouTube hoped that a dedicated YouTube Gaming app could negate the growth of Twitch, and help YouTube maintain its position as the leader in the space.
But it hasn't worked out that way. While gaming-related content remains hugely popular on the platform (interestingly, the majority of the fastest growing channels on YouTube this year are Twitch streamers re-purposing their content, with the game Fortnite, in particular, providing increased impetus), YouTube Gaming failed to take flight. So now, rather than continuing to push the separate app, YouTube will shut it down as of March 2019, in favor of improving the on-platform presentation of YouTube gaming content.
Will they work out, or would they be better off keeping it all in the one app?
Accompanying YouTube's announcement, they've also released this infographic which highlights YouTube's new gaming tools, and outlines the growth of gaming content on the platform, a key growth area that all businesses should be looking into.