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Move over Text messaging, Messenger Apps are here

Ranjani Raghupathi

SMSs are on the verge of extinction and there is only one thing to blame: Messenger apps. Running on minimum data, available for free download and with no over-seas texting costs; this is the new and evolved superior texting experience that a messenger app provides.
For about a week in October, every 20 something’s Facebook news feed was flooded with friends’ BBM pins- you could scroll and scroll and scroll but all you found were BBM pins. Though Blackberry fans were able to let go of the phone, their attachment to the messenger app was un-dying. BBM is here only to compete with giants like Whatsapp, Viber, WeChat and many others. Take a look at how some of these internet enabled messaging apps perform on Facebook.

The Audience

Whatsapp seems to be the most loved Messenger App with its page having the largest fan base of over 3.8 million fans. The intriguing thing is that though the brand page seems to be inactive and the last post was in January, fans have still flocked to Like the page. In the time period considered for this report, the brand received 439,668 new Likes, more than any other messenger app and is an indication of the pervasiveness of Whatsapp. Though being the market leader has given Whatsapp a lead on social media, the brand definitely will have to become active sooner or later to maintain its status – just like Twitter maintains a Facebook page or Instagram has a Twitter account.

BBM hogged the limelight with the release of its app for Android and iOS. The brand page, which now has over 600,000 fans grew at a staggering rate of 1,367% while other messenger apps grew at an average rate of 18%. The brand went from a few hundred fans to 78,000 fans in two months. This also reflected in their “People Talking About This” numbers which was 22.6% of all their fans and is 8 times the sector average of 2.6% of people talking about a page. While having just 2% of your fan base talking about you is considered a baseline, the brand’s 22% is a reflection of all the amount of interactions and attention the page received.

What do the messenger apps talk about?

When it comes to measuring social media, fan numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. So to find out where the actual mass lies, we use Unmetric’s Engagement Score which takes in to account the number of Likes, Comments, Shares and Estimated Impressions, to give each post a score that enables easy comparison regardless of fan numbers. With the exception of Whatsapp, all brands post regularly.

In spite of having only 14 posts, Kik received the highest Engagement Score whereas Tango posted more than twice a day but its Engagement Score couldn’t reach the sector average of 67. Though there isn’t a clear pattern in the relationship between the number of posts and overall engagement received, Kik and Tango emerge as the extremes while brands like BBM and Viber struck a balance between the two metrics. This leads us in to the content and strategy of these brands to uncover the connection between the two numbers.
Though most of the posts from these brands had images in them, they only had an average Engagement Score of 55 whereas the few updates that were plain text and carried no images or links collectively received an average Engagement Score of 60. Similarly, though brands leveraged brand related posts, what engaged best were updates that were about general happenings such as Halloween and Thanksgiving greetings etc.
These are the top three posts from these brands. It is interesting to note that multiple posts from Kik, Viber and BBM made the top 10.

Kik- Engagement Score of 376

Kik- Engagement Score of 240

Viber- Engagement Score of 148

Conversation is a two way street

Many brands from different sectors have found social media to be a very effective customer support medium. In the case of messenger apps, with the exception of Tango, no brand allows fans to even post on their page. Tango, the only brand that allows fans to post on its page, has not participated in any of the 2,235 conversations initiated by fans. Shutting down the two way conversation, which is one of the biggest advantages of social media, is a big setback for these brands.

Messenger apps have helped conversations move from plain text to visuals. Stickers, images, emoticons and every other possible mode of communication are supported by these apps. Being separated by borders is no longer an issue. Keeping in touch, staying connected and communicating effectively is easier today than it ever has been. With messenger apps, it’s not just a phone that people carry, but their family, friends and the whole world in just the palm of their hand.

Unmetric compiled this report by sourcing data from its social media benchmarking platform. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube statistics were gathered from October 1st to November 30th, 2013.