NEWS7 October 2015

Instant messaging surge led by Asia


UK — More than half of internet users worldwide ( 55%) use instant messaging (IM) such as WhatsApp, Snapchat and Facebook Messenger every day, a 12% increase in daily use, according to TNS research.


The popularity of closed messaging platforms is led by Asia; daily use in China is 69% and 73% in Hong Kong, compared with 39% in the UK and 35% in the US.

TNS’s Connected Life research looked at 60,000 internet users in 50 markets and demonstrates why brands need to recognise the role of IM in consumers’ mobile activity.

More than three quarters ( 76%) are using IM on a weekly basis.

However social platforms are still rising in popularity with a 6% uplift in daily use, with Facebook remaining the world’s favourite social platform; almost one third of global internet users ( 30%) say they use it every day. WeChat dominates the market in China, with 68% daily use.

While these newer platforms still attract a smaller audience overall, they are often far more active; 40% of Vine users and 44% of Snapchat users say they watch branded content on those platforms every week, while 43% of WeChat’s user base use it to access information and services about a company. 

Joseph Webb, global director of Connected Life, said: “Apps like Snapchat, WeChat, Line and WhatsApp are sweeping up new users every day, particularly younger consumers who want to share experiences with a smaller, specific group, rather than using public, mainstream platforms like Facebook or Twitter.

“As people’s online habits become ever more fragmented, brands need to tap into the growing popularity of IM and other emerging platforms. But brands need to be very careful. Instant messaging is a more closed medium, meaning it is essential to share limited content that is genuinely relevant and valuable.”

He cited a Starbucks breakfast promotion campaign via WeChat, which triggered a morning alarm and rewarded customers with a half-price breakfast if they arrived at the store within the hour, as creating positive word-of-mouth and customer loyalty.