Bots are big news these days. But the so-called “rise of the bots” is closely intertwined with the messaging apps that many bots are built upon. Relying entirely on one messaging platform for bot distribution comes with its own risks, but it can be a quick way to reach a large audience. An initial look at the numbers reveals that Facebook Messenger has some impressive stats: as of May 2016, 44% mobile reach and more than 79 million mobile users in the US (among adults 18+) – that’s more than twice the reach and audience that Snapchat has.
But reach isn’t everything – as our latest data shows, Facebook might have the most users of any messaging app in the US, but it’s not where people are spending their time – that honor goes to Kik, the Canadian messaging app whose users spend more than 5 hours per month in the app. That’s more than 5x the amount of time that users spend with Facebook Messenger, and even double the amount of time spent in Snapchat, which has been touted as a killer app for messaging.
Bots and anonymity
So what’s the appeal? While Kik has a few controversial features – such as the ability to create an anonymous account with little more than a username – it hasn’t scared away investors: last year, Kik raised $50 million from Chinese internet and media giant Tencent, to help it become “the WeChat of the West.” This partnership could also help Kik take a front seat in the bot battle – Tencent’s WeChat has supported bots since 2013 and is currently home to thousands of bots that help users order dumplings, book plane tickets, and hail a cab.
Facebook Messenger and Kik both opened their platforms to bot developers in April, but Kik has truly doubled down on user engagement: since January, they’ve been tracking user engagement behaviors in an effort to gain more granular insight into how and when users interact with bots across the messaging platform. At Verto Analytics, we’re big proponents of measuring user engagement as a critical metric to defining success. While Kik claims it will be using its user behavior data for internal purposes only, we’ll be keeping a close eye on this space as well.
Interested in learning more about our data on messaging apps? Download our latest Messaging App Report now.