NEWS25 March 2019

Most content shared on private messaging apps

News North America Trends UK

UK – Private messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are the most popular method of sharing content, according to research from GlobalWebIndex and We Are Social.

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Three in five internet users in the UK and US now share content and recommendations via private messaging apps, ahead of open social media platforms and word of mouth. 

The research looked at more than 3,000 internet users aged 16 to 64 in the UK and US. It found that private messaging apps, sometimes called ‘dark social’, were used by 63% of people to share content.

Just over half ( 54%) used open social media platform; 51% word of mouth; 48% on SMS and 37% email. 

The study found that Facebook Messenger was the most popular to share content on ( 82%), followed by WhatsApp ( 56%), direct message on Instagram ( 34%) and Snapchat ( 32%).

In terms of the categories shared, entertainment including music and film was top, followed by games, clothing, electronics, food and drink items and travel.

André van Loon, research and insight director, We Are Social, said: “This shift in consumer behaviour underlines how much marketing now comes through social media, and specifically dark social. Brands can have a big above the line push, but when it comes to consumers talking about the brands they like, the things they want to do or buy, and following others’ recommendations, more and more of that now happens in private apps and by sharing links.”

Chase Buckle, trends manager, GlobalWebIndex, added: “What’s clear is that social media engagement is shifting, and this presents as much of an opportunity as a challenge to brands. As public social media platforms increasingly fulfil the role of content consumption sources, private messaging platforms are now where meaningful conversations and recommendations are taking place between peers actively engaging with each other.”