A simple copy-and-paste app called Paste Keyboard shot to the top of the App Store charts this week after languishing in obscurity for years.
Made by 28-year-old South Korean developer Techin Park, the keyboard app hitched a ride on TikTok’s massive success — and then dethroned it as the most popular app in the United States.
“Everyone is curious how such [a] simple idea, copy and paste, has trumped the almighty TikTok in app rank,” Park told Cult of Mac. “Copy and paste is a feature we all use at least once daily. Not many think it’s special. But in reality, increasing efficiency [when it comes to] how we copy and paste can save a lot more of our time than we possibly think.”
And, apparently, score you crazy numbers of downloads, too.
Paste Keyboard tops the App Store
TikTok sat astride the App Store as the No. 1 app for more than a year, showing Michael Jordan-in-1991 levels of dominance. Even former President Donald Trump — who tried to ban the super-popular app and said the Chinese government could use it to spy on Americans — couldn’t take down TikTok. In fact, it’s more popular than ever. The app surged to more than 689 million users a month in early 2021.
It’s an amusing twist of fate that TikTok popularized the very app that eventually stole its crown.
“Due to coronavirus, everyone started to look for something fun at home, which fueled things like TikTok challenges,” Park said. In those viral videos, TikTok users attempt to perform a certain task, like doing a particular dance to a certain song.
One such challenge fueled Paste Keyboard’s rise.
The fact that copy and paste would turn out to be the thing that beats TikTok is, frankly, all kinds of crazy. And this isn’t some super-next-generation copy/paste that uses augmented reality or sophisticated machine learning, either.
TikTok fuels Paste Keyboard’s unlikely success
Paste Keyboard is a simple keyboard app that lets you write a message, save it to your clipboard, and then paste it wherever you need it. In other words, it’s not entirely different from the functionality Apple added to the iPhone more than a decade ago.
A neat little app? Sure. The kind of app you expect to beat TikTok to the top of the free iPhone apps chart? No way!
TikTok users have been spamming the line “I miss the rage” on social media in reference to a song by rapper Trippie Red called, err, “Miss the Rage.”
Videos shared on TikTok showed people how to use Paste Keyboard to copy and paste the line endlessly.
“Changing a flow that is complex and hard to understand [and replacing it with an] easy and simple way was the most important point of this project, and it has served its purpose well,” Park said of his suddenly white-hot app.
Pulling in the users, if not the cash
Park said that, right now, the app has 400,000 daily active users and 1 million monthly active users.
“It is mostly used in social network apps, so daily use is quite active,” he said, which is quite an understatement.
Those stats sound pretty impressive — but they’re even more so when you consider that, prior to a few days ago, the app was getting maybe 100 to 150 downloads per day. In the past fortnight, it has been downloaded upward of 346,000 times in the United States alone.
“It seems like the app grew immensely in a short period, but the truth is my app has been on the market since 2016,” Park said. “Since then, I have spent a lot of time on maintenance and improvements. Some have a negative opinion of the app, but this app definitely doesn’t lack in quality. In the last five years, the digital landscape has continuously changed and progressed. During that time Paste Keyboard has been operational and awaiting its time for opportunistic growth and recognition.”
Copy, paste, dominate TikTok and the App Store
The app’s success is making its developer, who lives and works in Seoul, flush with cash. According to Park, the app generates around $3,500 a day in ad revenue, which is more than $100,000 a month.
It could be more, but Park said Paste Keyboard doesn’t display much in the way of ads. He seemingly isn’t thinking of changing that, either — although he’s certainly continuing to work on the app.
“With the data and insights we have gathered through the growth of our app, we are looking into adding additional features that will benefit our users,” he said.
Ironically, the fact that this app overtook TikTok highlights the power of, actually, TikTok. It’s no secret that the ultra-popular app is where advertisers and would-be influencers flock these days. But it seems it’s also a prime destination for developers wanting to take their apps to the next level.