A new report by On Device Research hammers in the challenge Facebook is facing right now. Confirming other reports on the topic, ODR finds that Facebook usage is heaviest among users aged 51 years and older. In sharp contrast, WhatsApp usage peaks among the 25-39 year olds. In the 16-24 year old bracket, the percentage of Americans using Facebook on a weekly basis outpaces WhatsApp users by the slimmest of margins at 40% to 37%. But the most interesting finding in the ODR report concerns the surprisingly small overlap between Facebook and WhatsApp users. More →
A day after BlackBerry finally managed to push its BBM for Android and BBM for iPhone apps out the door, WhatsApp fired a warning shot to remind the struggling smartphone vendor of what it’s up against. BlackBerry touted on its BBM Twitter account that it activated more than 5 million new BBM users on Android and the iPhone in less than 8 hours, which is certainly an impressive feat. WhatsApp, however, now has 350 million monthly active users. WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum made the announcement on stage during a keynote presentation at the Nokia World 2013 conference, and that figure is up substantially from the 300 million monthly active users WhatsApp had just over two months ago in August. As the cross-platform mobile messaging market becomes increasingly crowded, WhatsApp is showing no signs of slowing down despite its refusal to embrace the new revenue channels being exploited by rivals, such as mobile payments and gaming platforms.
Even as rival messaging apps such as WeChat, LINE, Kik and Tango have made progress in various markets in Latin America, Africa and Asia, it has seemed that WhatsApp has retained an iron grip on the United States market. It may be below Facebook, Twitter and Vine on the iOS download chart, but it still ranks above Kik, Viber and Facebook Messenger. LINE popped up the U.S. download rankings briefly a while ago, backed by a massive marketing push, but it fell down quickly after the ad spend ended. More →
On Tuesday night, WhatsApp announced the addition of voice messaging to its service. In some ways, this news only underlined just how narrow the feature palette of the world’s leading messaging app has started to look. Other messaging apps have expanded functionality at a giddy pace recently. LINE and KakaoTalk have turned into game and publishing platforms, WeChat is morphing into a payment service and Kik has jumped on the sticker bandwagon. Amidst this Carnival, WhatsApp has remained resolutely chaste, focusing tightly on texting and photo-sharing. This pared down formula has worked well in the sense that the app has a massive lead in active user base in most countries in the world. But here’s the rub: WhatsApp is behind in several top app markets. More →
The triumph LINE has had with translating expensive TV campaigns into breakthrough success in three key markets — Japan, Spain and now India — has been a warning shot for other messaging apps. The era of viral success that defined the WhatsApp narrative may be drawing to an end. From now on, messaging app vendors are likely to be forced into an expensive and escalating marketing wars that span dozens of countries. More →
In four years, WhatsApp has grown from a small startup to one of the largest messaging platforms in the world. According to The Wall Street Journal, WhatsApp now has more than 250 million active users. In comparison, Twitter has more than 200 million monthly active users, while Microsoft’s Skype service has 280 million. The company also revealed earlier this month that its users recently sent and received 27 billion messages in 24 hours. Analyst Chetan Sharma noted that in the past 12 months, WhatsApp handled more messages than all U.S. wireless carriers combined. Sharma also said that the same is true for all carriers in China, which is the world’s largest mobile market. The company must prepare for new challenges, however. More →
WhatsApp has become one of the world’s staples in mobile messaging and it’s not done growing yet. WhatsApp announced on its Twitter account this week that it processed a record 27 billion messages in a single day, with roughly 10 billion messages sent and 17 billion messages received. WhatsApp said just two months ago that its record for messages in a day was around 20 million and that it had around 200 million users, which makes it even larger than Twitter. WhatsApp and rival messaging apps LINE and KakaoTalk have been particularly popular on Android recently and the market for messaging apps only seems to be growing as more consumers in emerging markets are poised to buy smartphones for the first time.
The new Distimo report on mobile app spending patterns offers some interesting regional tidbits. Globally, Google Play continues steadily chipping away at the huge lead Apple has built in mobile app revenue generation. In April 2013, the Google Play vs. iOS app revenue balance stood at 27% to 73%. One year earlier, it was 19% to 81%. There is still a long way to go before we see a 50/50 split, but it’s now looking as though Google might get there in a couple of years. However, in certain major mobile markets, Google has already caught up with Apple. Perhaps the most fascinating set of figures concerns WhatsApp. More →
A few weeks ago, Nokia launched a WhatsApp phone that featured a special button that gives direct access to the messaging app. Now Path has cut a deal with Sprint to become a preloaded app in selected Samsung and HTC phones. The messaging app rivalry between half a dozen of major contenders is heating up as WhatsApp, Path, LINE, Tango, KakaoTalk, Viber and Kik vie for attention. Until now, major carriers have resisted supporting messaging apps too much, afraid of undermining their SMS volumes. More →
What makes Onavo’s AppRank chart so interesting is the sharp contrast it reveals compared to download charts. AppRank tells us what portion of iPhone owners use an app during a month; it describes actual engagement rather than how many consumers have downloaded an app. This is a crucial distinction, because consumers quickly lose interest in most apps they download, yet certain apps with small download volumes turn out to be highly addictive. The most important low-volume, high-engagement app cluster right now consists of new messaging apps gaining serious traction. Both Viber and Kik are hitting 5% engagement levels in America and are growing rapidly. More →
Perhaps the most fascinating trend in App Annie’s new March statistics is the transformation of the Google Play Android app store into a messaging app distributor. No fewer than three out of four biggest revenue generators in the non-game app chart are now messaging apps; LINE at No.1, WhatsApp at No.3 and KakaoTalk at No.4. The iPhone’s non-game revenue chart is a bit lighter on messaging app but still features LINE at No.1 and WhatsApp at No.8. More →
Nokia on Wednesday launched a WhatsApp phone that includes unlimited WhatsApp messaging rolled into the retail price. And the retail price is just $72. The Asha 210 has a dedicated WhatsApp button that gives instant access to the service. This is a bold move, since it effectively means the hardware is specifically designed to draw consumers away from SMS services, which are very lucrative for emerging market carriers. This move is the opening salvo in Nokia’s new bid to revive the flagging fortunes of its Asha feature phone line with new software features. More →
WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum has been talking at the D: Dive Into Mobile conference and he revealed some numbers about the company’s performance. The figures are certainly impressive: more than 200 million users and 12 billion outbound messages per day. In terms of active users, WhatsApp is now bigger than Twitter. Yet the company hit 11 billion outbound messages per day on New Year’s Eve, 2012. In August 2012, WhatsApp announced it was handling 6 billion outbound messages a day. Is the service’s messaging volume growth really decelerating this rapidly? From 6 billion outbound in August, to 11 billion in December, and then to 12 billion in April 2013. These are terrific volumes and they make WhatsApp one of the most fascinating and valuable app companies in the world… but its growth rate now seems to be falling quickly. More →