Top 7 companies driving app growth with activity feeds (+examples!)

Curious to find out how some of the most successful companies drive app growth and boost user engagement? Social features like activity feeds are proven to boost retention by 40%, increase engagement by 35%, accelerate growth by 30% and increase revenue by 2.8X.

For the typical app user, activity feeds are the part of the app that gets the most love (in engagement and scrolls). We’re flooded with a swell of relevant information everywhere we look, which we’re so eager to explore thanks to these feeds. 

And so, app developers are quick to tuck this serious engagement magnet into their apps to (a) scoop a larger share of user eyeballs and (b) keep those eyeballs on for longer, boosting user engagement and supporting monetization.

Designed to be more of a side attraction, feeds are fast becoming more of the main fixture, in the sense that they pack more pulling power due to how they keep app users entertained and connected.

You can find this to be the case with apps that enjoy global reach & adoption — think Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and even X (Twitter) — all of which have been touted to be among the world’s most downloaded apps in 2022

The good part? Activity feeds are not restricted to social networks. They’re used in blogs, news outlets, notification screens, and even our email is a constant feed that brings us updates of our correspondence — in real time. 

But how can activity feed help you leverage the social wiring of users? Is it enough to dominate your app stores and retain users as you should? Read on to find out. 

We’ll dissect the top 7 companies leveraging activity feeds to drive app growth, while giving a breakdown of their strategy, unique features, and success stories highlighting their impressive results.

What are activity feeds + their role in driving app growth? 

The ability to connect via a micro-social network within your app is what differentiates an app that racks up just a handful of users from one that yields an army of brand loyalists. 

An activity feed, also known as a newsfeed or activity stream, is a real-time list of actions performed by users on an app or website. It displays information from a user's online community such as likes, follows, comments, posts, and content shares.

Activity feeds can be used to keep users informed about what is happening in their online communities, to promote engagement, and to drive traffic to new content. They can also serve as a direct communication channel to broadcast announcements or other brand updates, and to provide customer support.

But if you want to fuel app growth, an activity feed should be about how you leverage this content. The point being, in displaying user-related content that gets users hooked and more engaged, you also create social habits that fuel app growth. 

Away from the Facebooks & Instagrams of this world, several companies have deployed activity feeds to reach the tippy top of users' minds. But before taking an up-close look at how, let’s lay out the role of activity feeds in enabling app growth: 

1. Increased user engagement 

Thanks to activity feeds, businesses can keep users engaged with their apps by providing them with — and notifying them about — a continuous stream of new, relevant content. For example: real-time updates on an event.

Ultimately, since users are able to follow along with their actions even as they experience the product through the activity feed, they tend to use the app more.

2. More user-generated content (UGC)

Activity feeds showcase user-generated content, and so, users are encouraged to actively participate, knowing their contributions will be immediately visible to others. 

This “viral loop effect” is how your activity feeds rakes in UGC. How? Due to the discoverability and visibility of your UGC, users are now exposed to content they may not have otherwise been exposed to and are now moved to create theirs in response.

3. Reduced churn 

With 44% of users uninstalling apps because they’re bored, it’s only logical that apps they’re least engaged with are the first on the chopping block.

Activity feeds can be your app’s get-out-of-jail-free card. How? Putting the app's value (updates pulled from loved ones & users they’re interested in) front and center increases user engagement. 

With longer session times and higher engagement comes less likelihood that users are bored. This, in turn, knocks down user abandonment rates and enhances product stickiness. 

4. Real-time analytics

Unless you live in a technology dark hole somewhere, you know the vital role of first-hand user feedback in improving products. 

By capturing (and processing) user interactions, developers get a front-row seat to user behavior, trends, engagement patterns, and how their user-generated content is performing. 

This insight should then inform data-driven decisions that improve the performance of the activity feed platform. 

5. Personalized recommendations 

Users who see new content in their activity feed (brought courtesy of algorithm-based feed) are more likely to interact with it. The resultant spike in user engagement can skyrocket your app’s bottom line.

Here’s how: By understanding user behavior, you know what to recommend to who, and so you can launch personalized campaigns that yield drastically better ROI than guesswork-ey, generic campaigns.

Take a marketplace platform as an example. In the app, activity feeds show users new products their friends have purchased. These targeted target users may then proceed to make purchases of their own, supporting your app monetization efforts. 

6. Community building 

Humans are hard-wired to connect with one another. And so, creating a sense of shared belonging among users is a surefire strategy for accelerating mobile app growth.

By enabling users with a central hub of user-generated content — one where they can express ideas, support one another (likes, comments, and shares), and build meaningful relationships (follow & connect) — you build an army of brand loyalists.

In the same vein, they build vibrant in-app communities around common interests & causes. This can only augur well for engagement, keeping acquisition costs low and retention high.

Mobile apps that drive massive growth with activity feeds

1. Strava 

Initially built to cater to enthusiastic cyclists, Strava is a fitness tracking + social networking app designed for athletes & fitness enthusiasts to record, analyze, and share fitness activities. 

Key strategy & features:

How did Strava accumulate 100 million+ registered users globally? By leveraging activity feeds to tap into a community-driven culture that’s been a key driver of growth within the fitness industry. 

And Strave’s CEO, James Quarles, couldn’t put it better when he said, “Community is our core… People say they don’t download Strava, they join Strava” 

But it doesn’t stop at the community. Gamification also forms a core of their strategy. With an array of activities lined up, users are fueled by a sense of reward or achievement that encourages them to ‘go it all again.’ 

How Strava achieves real growth with activity feeds:

Strava’s activity feed offers support and a rewardingly engaging experience all by enabling users to:

Share their fitness activities: The “tracking” feature lets users track their runs, bike rides, or other activities using GPS data. They can also stay connected by sharing the route they’ve taken alongside their thoughts & experiences while exploring these routes.

Connect: Beyond “likes and comments,” Strava nudges users each time someone they follow uploads an activity. The "Favorite" feature helps them prioritize the activities of people they follow for immediate engagement. Users can see athletes embark on fitness journeys — in real time. They can integrate their Facebook account (or email) to bring friends who use Strava to their feed and connect with them.  

Compete with others: Strava’s activity feed also recognizes and celebrates user accomplishments to motivate them to stay on track, smash new targets, and motivate other athletes. 

Receive social recognition for their accomplishments: With features such as segment leaderboards, personal records, and badges for completing specific challenges or goals, Strave invokes a sense of community, motivation, and support. 

2. Planta 

A digital plant planner, the Planta app keeps your plants alive and healthy with horticultural knowledge at your fingertips. 

Planta harnesses activity feeds to channel the inner plant geek of their 6 million+ users who share a collective affection for plants. In this community, you can ask questions, share tips, and get advice from other more-experienced plant lovers.

Key strategy & features: 

Planta was able to build a community using social features that enabled them to transform their millions of app users into an engaged community. 

Deploying these features — including activity feeds — helped to differentiate them from other forums like Facebook groups and Reddit threads. It also meant that they were able to scale along with their growing community.

How Planta achieves real growth with activity feeds:

Post & share: Planta’s “post” and “share” features allow users to post plant photos, share their experiences, and get updates. 

Recommended groups: Planta’s community building also relies on a “recommended groups” feature enabling users to join micro-communities for more niche conversations around plants. 

Join groups: These groups are suggested based on the users interests to connect with other like-minded plant lovers.

Tag: The “Tag” feature helps users label and ID their plants in their posts, giving the community reliable information about the plant's watering schedule, care conditions, and other relevant details.

3. Noom 

Does a platform that helps you ditch the calorie counting and use science-backed methods to get real results sound like your jam? 

If yes, meet Noom, your partner in forming sustainable, healthy habits through personalized coaching, educational content, tracking tools, and a supportive community.

Key strategy & features:

Activity feeds have helped Noom incorporate the interactive and engaging elements that make it the darling of many a user. 

Beyond engagement, Noom built a community out of their users, providing individualized support and motivation in their wellness journey from experts/co-members — in real time. 

How Noom achieves real growth with activity feeds:

Noom hopped on the activity feed train to add several exciting social features to keep community members engaged through these in-app features: 

Post, Like & comments: The “post” feature allows users to post updates, share their progress and experiences, and ask questions. The “like & comment” feature is useful for validating and responding to content shared by others. 

Noom Circles: Noom Circles are smaller groups within the app where users can connect with coaches and other members who share similar goals or interests. Each Noom Circle has its own feed, and is sorted by timeline or gallery. This helps users niche down into discussions that are relevant to them, thereby boosting engagement.

Poll questions: For seamless interaction, Noom provides users with the “Poll Questions” feature to drum up responses. It allows for multiple selection options and can be scheduled to close at a given time. 

Coach guidance: As a community that thrives on ongoing support and advice, Noom enables health coaches to chime in with actionable advice, tips, and motivation tailored to specific users through the “Coach Guidance” feature. 

Customization for coach posts: This feature empowers coaches on the platform to tailor all of their wellness advice to the unique needs & preferences of clients.  

4. Freeletics

Imagine being able to carry your personal fitness coach around — in your pocket. That’s Freeletics in a nutshell. 

A fitness & nutrition app, Freeletics uses personalized training plans and workouts to help users get in shape and reach their fitness goals without needing to hire a personal trainer. 

Key strategy & features:

Freeletics strives to differentiate itself in a rather crowded health & wellness industry using engagement and gamification. 

But none of this would’ve been without a loyal community. In gaining the trust of users in the community through organic reviews within different user groups, they’re able to nurture and acquire new users easily, thereby bringing down CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) 

How Freelectics achieves real growth with activity feeds:

For most people looking to stay on track, the only thing better than working out is working out with like-minded individuals. 

And that’s what made the Community Feed & Challenges such a force multiplier in the app. Here’re a few features of its activity feeds:

Claps & comments: In a similar fashion to “like” or “thumbs up”, this feature enables users to applaud other users’ efforts and leave comments to foster interaction and engagement. 

Time feature: By giving users insight into how much time it took others to complete workouts, users can track their progress and compare their time with others, fueling a sense of healthy competition.

Posts: Users can post updates and share their progress, achievements, or challenges related to their workouts and fitness journey. By sharing experience, they can get support, celebrate their wins, and inspire others within the Freeletics community. 

5. Venmo 

Venmo is a peer-to-peer digital payment app that allows users to send and receive money quickly and easily. 

Key strategy & features:

The fintech space is one of, if not the most saturated app spaces. Even worse, for a boring activity like money transactions, how could Venmo rack up engagement? 

Enter the social element. First, integration with Facebook served to accelerate user adoption (cue in the network effect), as almost everyone had an FB account at the time.  

On top of this, Venmo created an in-app social network where users can post descriptors, creative comments, and insider jokes to increase app engagement.

How Venmo achieves real growth with activity feeds:

Forbes once dubbed Venmo “The Crown Jewel of all finance apps,” and it’s not hard to see why. The app gained so much virality through its community that users talk about “Venmoing” other users rather than “paying.” Talk about influence! Over 60 million people use Venmo, with a payment volume of $100 billion+. This is in no small part due to being able to turn a boring task such as making payments into a social experience. Want to know why? Check out these amazing features in its activity feeds:  

Feeds: Venmo’s interface employs a ‘feed-centric’ layout, dedicating the majority of its interface to showcasing a stream of user payments.

Feed customization: The 3 buttons above the feed show who sees payment transactions — whether private to just the user, the user’s friends, or the general public.

Share your transactions: Designed to be social at its core, Venmo’s “share your transactions” encourages users to share their payment experiences. For user privacy, users can toggle off this feature in their settings. Ultimately, sharing enables interaction with friends' payments, fostering a real sense of transparency, community, and connection.

Top People’s List: Venmo’s algorithms serve you a “top people list”,  based on the users you interact with the most for quicker, faster, and easier transactions.

Like & Comment: On the Feed’s Tab you can like and comment on people’s activity.This enables users to interact and engage through the app.

6. Trip Advisor 

An online platform where travelers can find reviews, ratings, and recommendations about destinations to help them make informed decisions for their trips. Considered the most popular travel app globally, Trip Advisor boasts an impressive 150 million monthly unique mobile visitors and captures a remarkable 42% share of the mobile traveler market.

Key strategy & features:

Taking a leaf out of the Instagram & Facebook playbook, TripAdvisor rebranded as a social media platform, offering users new and exciting ways to connect with their community. 

To increase user engagement, Trip Advisor is full of features to help plan everything in-app — from reviews of nearby restaurants to sightseeing trips, discounts, transportation tips, and more — thereby replacing the need to use other apps.

How Trip Advisor achieves real growth with activity feeds:

Post: By posting, users can not only share their travel experiences, write detailed reviews, upload photos, and provide recommendations but also contribute to the wealth of information available on TripAdvisor and help other travelers make more informed decisions. 

Reposting: Users may share content posted by others within the TripAdvisor community. When reposted, it’s more discoverable, which increases user engagement and interaction. 

Suggested followings: TripAdvisor suggests people or users that a particular user may enjoy following based on similar travel interests. This way, users can discover like-minded travelers, influencers, or experts in specific destinations or niches. 

Like & save: By liking a post or review, users can show their appreciation or agreement with the content shared by other travelers. Saving, on the other hand, allows users to get back to the post. 

7. Vivino

With 10,000+ wine grapes types worldwide, tasting wine for all kinds of grapes in a single lifetime can be tricky. This complexity is what Vivino helps users navigate. 

Vivino is the world's largest wine community marketplace where members can discover and buy wine.

Key strategy & features:

Ever met a miserly wine lover? Neither have we. Vivino aptly blends the sharing culture rooted in the wine community with social elements to spark meaningful interactions that increase user engagement. Not only is Vivino a leader in the wine industry, but they boast the world’s largest wine community with 26 million users. 

How Vivino achieves real growth with activity feeds:

The following features played a vital role in Vivino’s strategy: 

For You feed: The app algorithm offers a personalized wine recommendation feature based on which wine’s you’ve rated on the app along with your taste profile. 

Friends feed: A more experiential twist on pouring your friend a glass, you can connect, post wine photos, and share your experiences with friends from Facebook, Google, X (Twitter), or even your contact list. 

Wine Review feed: This ‘wine encyclopedia of sorts’ enables users to scan their wine bottles and get relevant information about it — from the wine's ratings to reviews, summaries, taste profiles, and rankings details. 

Like & comment: The interactive features of liking and commenting contribute to the social factor of the app, fostering connections and creating a sense of community among wine enthusiasts.

Post: Users can create their own posts or share photos, reviews, tasting notes, or thoughts and experiences about wines they’ve just tried with the community. 

Activity feeds: Your gateway to app growth

Social features (e.g., activity feeds) are proven to boost retention by 40%, increase engagement by 35%, accelerate growth by 30% and increase revenue by 2.8X. So it definitely belongs in your strategy if you’re looking to grow your engagement. 

But to fully harness activity feeds, striking a balance between relevance and overload is key, as information overload or irrelevant content could see your app’s thread of engagement dwindle. 

Intelligent algorithms and customization options can be incredibly useful here, making sure that the content delivered is personalized to each user & meaningful.

Activity feeds have promising potential in driving app success by growing your engagement, building social connections, improving user retention, and supporting monetization strategies.

Even better, you can leverage plug-and-play solutions to seamlessly integrate ready-to-use social elements into your app/website — without a heavy cloud of code hanging over your head. 

Of course, you could always build one in-house. But then, ready-to-use options are far more cost-effective options. Not to mention that they can be fully adjusted to fit into your community needs.

If you’re interested in integrating a ready-made solution, then you may want to give Amity Social Cloud a spin. 

So, why wait? Get on the fast track to social and unlock your app growth today! 


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