This week, two big messaging apps got a major upgrade, as Kik and Facebook Messenger both rolled out group video chat functionality. While this isn’t necessarily a new feature – other messaging apps, such as WeChat and WhatsApp, already support group video chat – it highlights the growing importance of “livechill,” a space largely claimed (until now) by Houseparty, the app created from the dregs of Meerkat.
Houseparty has enjoyed some initial early success, particularly among teenagers, whose 1 million users reportedly spend 20 million minutes each day hanging out in the group chat app. But how does that stack up against the amount of time that users already spend in messaging apps? Will group video chat features increase the amount of time that users spend engaged with messaging apps?
Which Messaging App Attracts the Most Time Spent Per User Per Month?
Verto Analytics looked at the average amount of time per month that users (among U.S. adults, ages 18 and above) currently spend with WhatsApp, Kik, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, and Houseparty. WhatsApp is the clear winner, with users spending an average of almost six and a half hours per month with the app in November, which is also when WhatsApp debuted its video chat feature (available as a group video chat with the use of a third-party plugin). Kik also shows strong user engagement, with users spending an average of four and a half hours per month with the app. Notably, user engagement with Facebook Messenger lags considerably behind its competitors. And while our data shows that Houseparty’s user base spends less than five minutes with the app per month, this only reflects use among adult consumers above the age of 18.
Who stands to benefit from the latest flood of group video chat introductions? WhatsApp, which has cross-platform appeal and Kik, which already enjoys a high level of user engagement, seem like the most likely candidates. This may also be a defensive ploy by Facebook Messenger, which may be angling for Snapchat’s young and video-centric audience. Will group video chat and a few filters be enough to increase Facebook Messenger’s low engagement levels?