Facebook Messenger, the social network’s messaging app with more than 1.3 billion users, said real-time video chats doubled to 17 billion in 2017 from a year earlier. Surging video usage on smartphone cameras was among the highlights showcased in a “year in review” blog by Sean Kelly, product manager for Messenger.
More than 7 billion chats on average take place on Messenger every day, and those were filled with 500 billion emojis and 18 billion GIFs this year. New Year’s, Mother's Day and Valentine's Day were three of the top five most active days for chats on Messenger, Kelly said.
Group chats also were popular as Messenger added features to make them more useful, including @mentions that let a person jump back into a conversation to answer a question or provide a response, and reactions to help people respond quickly with an emoji. Messenger users created 2.5 million new groups every day, and the average group chat includes 10 people.
Facebook has leveraged the strength of its social networking app to carve out a large user base for Messenger, which actually fell in the rankings of most downloaded free apps in Apple’s App Store in the past year, USA Today reported. Facebook Messenger slipped to No. 4 from No. 2. Bitmoji, the Snap-owned app that lets people create cartoon versions of themselves to share in chats, was No. 1 after not even making the top 10 in 2016, followed by Facebook rival Snapchat in second place. Google’s YouTube rose to No. 3 this year from No. 6 in 2016, while Facebook’s Instagram held steady in fifth place.
Facebook’s Sean Kelly provides some interesting insights into how people use Messenger that may influence how marketers approach the app. Since adding reactions in March, Messenger saw more than 11 billion reactions shared on the app, with the most popular reaction in a group and one-on-one conversation being "??". The most popular custom emoji was the red heart, and red was the most popular color for group chats.
Meanwhile, the chat app market grows more crowded every day, with even Facebook’s Instagram testing out a standalone chat app. Facebook also owns WhatsApp, which like Messenger has more than 1.3 billion users, and is especially popular in European countries and India. Among the newcomers to the chat market is Telegram, an encrypted messaging app that has about 180 million users, including 40 million in Iran who want to avoid the government’s prying eyes, Bloomberg reported.