Maintaining strong performance across an app constellation isn't easy based on the data. See how the app constellations of Facebook, Dropbox, Foursquare and Evernote have performed.

Facebook’s launch of photo and video-sharing app Slingshot is the social network’s latest app in the iOS App Store joining Messenger and Paper as well as acquired apps Instagram and WhatsApp. And it isn’t the only notable company to have recently launched auxiliary apps. In April, Sequoia Capital-backed Dropbox debuted its photo & video gallery app Carousel (in addition to its namesake app) while Spark Capital-backed Foursquare launched check-in app Swarm in May to complement the original Foursquare app.

Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures recently penned a couple insightful posts on ‘app constellations’ – or collections of apps by the same publisher with app to app functionality. Wilson writes:

“App constellations are possibly the only sustainable answer to solving the distribution conundrum in mobile – how do I get around the app store leaderboard traffic jam?…Pay attention to this trend.”

Naturally, we wanted to turn to the data to see whether non-game publishers both venture-backed and publicly-traded were seeing strong performance across their entire constellation of apps. Specifically, this analysis looks at recent App Store rankings data of three private, venture-backed non-game publishers who appear to be jumping on the app constellation trend – Dropbox, Foursquare & Evernote. In addition, we look at Facebook’s various mobile properties.

The early verdict? Maintaining strong performance across an app constellation isn’t easy. The data below.

Dropbox

Dropbox currently counts three apps in the App Store including Dropbox, Mailbox and Carousel. And based on the data, Dropbox’s three apps have seen varied degrees of success in the App Store. While Dropbox’s main app has consistently stayed in the top 5-10 ‘productivity’ apps over the past eight months – recently launched Carousel has fallen from the top 10 ranked ‘Photo & Video’ apps to outside the top 300. Of note, Dropbox, which has raised over $600M in funding, has acquired a number of companies in the mobile space ahead of a possible IPO.

dropbox

Evernote

Digital note-taking service Evernote has launched a suite of five apps including Evernote Food, which allows users to collect and share recipes and food moments, and Evernote Hello, which provides a tool to remember details about people you meet. Like Dropbox, Evernote’s main app has consistently ranked highly (top 20) in the ‘Productivity’ category. Three other apps, Penultimate, Evernote Food and Skitch have trended in the top 100 apps within their categories but Evernote has seen less than stellar performance from its Hello app, which has fallen out of the top 500 ‘Social Networking’ apps as shown below. Evernote is heavily funded – backed by over $180M in venture capital from investors including Sequoia Capital and Morganthaler Ventures.

evernoteFoursquare

Check-ins used to be the core functionality of Foursquare’s app, before it evolved into a search & discovery tool. And so Foursquare launched its standalone check-in app ‘Swarm’ in May. And in its short span of existence, Swarm has had fluctuating performance in the ‘Social Networking’ category – falling in its first three weeks post-launch before rebounding a bit since. Foursquare has raised over $120M in funding from investors including Union Square Ventures, Spark Capital and Andreessen Horowitz. With a major update coming to its main Foursquare app later this summer, it will be interesting to see how FourSquare does.

foursquareFacebook

In a short timespan, Facebook has built or acquired an impressive suite of mobile apps – but not without casualties. In May, Facebook dropped its Poke and Camera apps from the App Store. Today, Facebook counts four consistently high-ranking apps – Facebook, FB Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram, each of which has maintained a top 20 category rank over the extended period. Facebook Paper, the company’s jump into the newsreader market has not gained significant traction – and fallen significantly after launch buzz wore off.  Is Paper destined to be another Facebook app casualty? Newly launched Slingshot has debuted in the top 5 ‘Photo & Video’ apps and as Facebook’s great mobile unbundling continues, it will be one to watch as well.

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