Over the last couple of years, something dramatic has happened in how the new generation communicates. Gone are the days of email. Now it is mobile messaging – it is global and becoming the de facto means of communication. Why?
- It is asynchronous yet instant (less cumbersome than writing an email)
- Expressive yet fast
- Engaging yet user controlled
- Simple yet 24 by 7 (anytime, around the clock)
- Instant yet secure
- Casual yet professional
- Personal yet mainstream
- Mobile yet distributed
- Easy yet productive
- Real-time yet replay-able
- Current yet evergreen
Global messaging leaders are: WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Snapchat in the US and WeChat (China), LINE (Japan), and KakaoTalk (Korea) in Asia.
WhatsApp was launched in 2009 and has about 800 million monthly average users punching a staggering 30 billion fast messages per day across the globe. Their growth rate is over 60% last year. When Facebook paid over $19 billion to acquire it couple of years back, everyone raised their eyebrows on the price tag. It was a very strategic move given its growing relevance.
Facebook Messenger, launched in 2011 is a messaging platform. In the words of Marc Zuckerberg, “Facebook Messenger provides the ability for sales representatives to engage customers where they are — online and via mobile — to talk through shipping options, which is an important factor for nearly 70% of American shoppers. Now, shoppers will know exactly how long a package will take to make it to their doorstep, and at what expense.” It currently boasts 600 million users per month, a growth of 200% since last year.
Snapchat, launched in 2011, is the king of ephemeral messages, pictures, and videos. These things disappear after playing for a few seconds/minutes. Kids love it as there is no record for parental questioning. It has daily average user numbering 100 million and they do 2 billion stories/views per day. In a recent investment round, the valuation is over $15 Billion, with Alibaba being a key investor.
In Asia, the messaging apps. are local, by country. WeChat in China was launched in 2011 as a messaging platform. It has 550 million daily users with an average growth of 40%. LINE was launched in Japan in 2011 and has monthly users of 205 million with 13 billion messages per day. It’s revenue is just over $900 million (growth rate of 70%). In Korea, the leading messaging platform is KakaoTalk, launched in 2010 with current monthly user base at 48 Million. They send 5.2 billion messages per day. It’s revenue is at $850 million (growth rate 19%).
The interesting observation is that these messaging applications are becoming major platforms and operate across multiple operating systems (Android, iOS). The global reach of WhatsApp, and Viber (Israel company) with voice and video are making them very popular. They are extending beyond text, video, pictures, voice to doing instant transactions also.Users prefer to have more than one, so one-size-fits-all does not work.
Welcome to the exciting world of mobile messaging!