There is a two-front battle underway among mobile messaging apps, as each hopes to attract new users, and keep their attention.
We now have a sense of how those audience and attention battles are playing out, thanks to data provided to us by Mobidia, a mobile analytics company. During the week ending Nov. 2, Mobidia said it tracked usage on “millions” of Android smartphones worldwide, to find out which messaging apps were being used the most.
- During that week, WhatsApp was used by 41% of Android smartphones globally that were tracked (more than any other messaging app).
- Kakao Talk finished the week in a distant second, with a 23% penetration rate.
- Facebook Messenger and Skype were tied with a 16% penetration rate.
This confirms our estimates that show WhatsApp pulling away from its rivals to cement itself as the world’s largest mobile messaging app. As of December 2013, the app had 400 million monthly active users globally.
However, audience size is only one metric of success in social media. Many marketers and business partners want to know how engaged an app’s users are, and one way to measure that is by time-spend.
To track engagement accurately, Mobidia only counted the amount of time an app was open in the foreground, with the smartphone screen on (i.e., not running in the background).
- Kakao Talk users averaged 213 minutes with the app during the week ending Nov. 2 (more than any other mobile messaging app).
- WhatsApp was a close second, as its users spent an average of 195 minutes with the app.
- Kik was in third place with 97 minutes.
It’s important to keep in mind that the results could very well have been different if the sample was taken at a different date, or if it included a greater variety of smartphone types.