Whilst there are multiple messaging apps available, Facebook Messenger, also known as simply 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. In 2018, 126.3 million U.S. mobile phone users accessed Facebook Messenger to communicate. This figure is projected to grow to 138.1 million users in 2022. Messenger audience data from May 2019 shows that 25 to 34 year olds accounted for the largest group (27.4 percent) of Facebook Messenger users in the United States.
As of one the most popular social networks and messengers worldwide in 2019, Facebook Messenger belongs to Facebook's exclusive billion-dollar-user club (other members are the core network Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp). Recent data shows that Facebook Messenger is the one of the leading social networking app in the United States, with over 2 million monthly 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 almost 109 million monthly active U.S. users as of March 2019, the app far surpasses Snapchat’s user base of 49.4 million and despite WhatsApp’s global popularity, the company ranked third with 24.9 million active users each month in the United States. Industry data regarding the fourth quarter of 2018 shows that 15 percent of online users accessed Facebook Messenger at least once per day, a slight increase from 14 percent in the second quarter of 2017.
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 seventh with 79.98 sessions per month per user, whereas those using Messenger by Google did so over 307.87 times per month. Facebook Messenger performed similarly in terms of average session duration, this time ranking above Messenger by Google but losing out to WhatsApp which was used on average for 2.01 minutes per session. Furthermore, in a survey on frequency of Facebook Messenger 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. 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 liked the most about mobile messaging.
As Facebook and online shopping become more closely linked, there could be an increased take-up of the payments facility integrated into Facebook Messenger. Data from July 2017 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.