IT decision makers planning new SaaS investments for 2018 can find some guidance from this Zapier report of the fastest growing, biggest, and hottest new trends in web apps.
Web app integrator Zapier has released its annual list of web apps and software trends dominating the workplace.
In it, Zapier highlights which web apps saw the most growth, which new apps were the most popular, and trends that stood out among its more than 900 web app integrations.
Keep that last bit in mind: This report is thorough and it contains a lot of good data for companies planning their SaaS budgets for 2018, but it is limited to web apps that integrate with Zapier. The major players are there, but looking for similar products not featured in this report is still worthwhile.
The leading web apps of 2017
Facebook Lead Ads dominated the growth list: It experienced 623% user growth in 2017. Behind it were video conferencing app Zoom, with 273% growth, Google Forms, with 231% growth, Microsoft Excel, with 216% growth, and marketing email automation platform Drip, which experienced 212% growth.
New web apps that experienced the fastest growth were led by Facebook Messenger bot maker ManyChat, LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms, CRM and accounting software Dubsado, project management tool Zenkit, and email automation platform Mailshake.
SEE: Special report: The future of Everything as a Service (free PDF) (ZDNet/TechRepublic special feature)
Even the top five of those two categories reveals some trends: Marketing is king for web apps. Facebook Lead Ads, Drip, ManyChat, LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms, Google Forms, and Mailshake are all lead generation tools. Together they give rise to the most readily apparent of Zapier's conclusions:
"If there's one trend that ties this year's most popular apps together, it's that gathering leads and figuring out which of your ads are actually working is suddenly easy."
Trends for a specific audience
It's worth noting again that the trends Zapier found come with a major caveat: They're trends from Zapier-integrated apps. This report makes it seem like marketing is the dominant force in web apps when the reality could be different.
If your business has a marketing department, then the trend data gathered from the report is worth looking at if your marketing team is still planning for 2018.
SEE: SaaS Research 2017: Adoption rates, business benefits, and preferred providers (Tech Pro Research)
One major trend Zapier points out is that social media is now THE way to gather data. Instead of directly advertising, companies can gather user data through discount programs (with a Google Forms signup, for example) and through chatbot interaction on a company's website or Facebook page.
The second major trend the report mentions is how email marketing is changing. The email tools that top the list are those that generate customized messages for each user. Traditional emails, Zapier notes, don't cut it anymore.
Third, integration is king. Much of the software featured in the report has been around for a while, but now integrates easily with other platforms thanks to APIs. If you're looking for new software, be sure it has flexible integration capabilities. Stand-alone software is a thing of the past.
To find out more about the leading web apps of 2017, check out the full report at Zapier.com.
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