Whilst there are multiple messaging apps available, Facebook Messenger has made its own mark on the industry and data shows that it is widely used across the globe, particularly in the United States. The app is more than just a simple way to swap messages with friends and family and has kept up with the fast-paced nature of messaging apps to maintain its strong position and increase its user base. After incorporating voice calling into its user features in 2013, and introducing ‘Reactions and Mentions’ in 2017, Facebook Messenger now offers a number of innovative and fun ways to communicate and stay connected.
Facebook ranked as the most popular social network worldwide in 2018, and the most recent data shows that Facebook Messenger is the leading social networking app in the United States, with over 2.3 million downloads in the Apple App Store. Although WhatsApp remains the most popular mobile messenger app, with 1.5 billion monthly active users globally, in the United States Facebook Messenger is the most popular mobile messaging app in terms of number of users. With 103.55 million monthly active U.S. users as of February 2018, the app far surpasses Snapchat’s user base of 48.67 million and despite WhatsApp’s global popularity, the company ranked third with 18.24 million active users each month in the United States.
It is interesting to see how users in the United States interact with mobile messaging apps, and Facebook Messenger still has the potential for growth. Among the leading mobile messaging apps in the United States, Facebook Messenger ranked eighth with 59.08 sessions per month per user, whereas those using Messenger by Google did so over 278 times per month. Facebook Messenger performed similarly in terms of average session duration, this time ranking slightly above Messenger by Google but losing out to apps like Google Hangouts which was used on average for 2.28 minutes per session. Further, in a survey on frequency of use in the United States, 27 percent of respondents said that they had never used Facebook Messenger, and 20 percent used the app once a week or less.
Despite there being obvious room for improvement in certain areas, Facebook Messenger arguably has a lot to offer its users. Chat apps are becoming more than simply communication channels – whether for personal or professional reasons, the reasons we use messaging apps are changing, and in turn altering how we use our devices. A total of 18 percent of adults turn to messaging apps when requesting customer service from an online retailer, and 43 percent of Millennials in the United States use messaging apps to research products online. In a world where users are increasingly seeking to tailor their online experience to their needs, it is unsurprising that 48 percent of those using messaging apps in the United States cited the ease of sharing pictures, messages, videos and files as the feature they like the most, and 40 percent enjoying the ability to see when their messages have been read by the recipient.
In addition, when it comes to shopping behavior, Facebook ranked third in a ranking of leading apps accessed before shopping device sessions in the United States, and had an occurrence rate of 7.8 percent during online shopping device sessions as of December 2017, ranking even higher than Amazon or Google Search. As Facebook and online shopping become more closely linked, there could be an increased take-up of the payments facility integrated into Facebook Messenger. The most recent data shows that 79 percent of adults in the United States have never used Facebook Messenger Payments or do not have an account. However, the feature is used several times per day by six percent of respondents and five percent use the facility once a week or more, signaling that some consumers are becoming more confident making digital payments.
As the way we use messaging apps changes, companies providing these facilities must adapt and stay ahead of the curve. It is important to ensure not only safety and security when making online transactions via apps, but also to keep up with the fast-paced nature of online communication and take note of what users want, and so far, Facebook Messenger is in a strong position.