WhatsApp, Viber, Line

A Whatsapp App logo is seen behind a Samsung Galaxy S4 phone that is logged on to Facebook in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, February 20, 2014. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

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Publishers are trying their hardest to tap into a whole new market to reach you.

More content creators are using chat apps to distribute their content directly to consumers. Digiday, for example, describes the BBC’s usage of WhatsApp and Viber to spread news about health and safety information, such as the Ebola outbreak and the earthquakes in Nepal.

BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, also reported on how the Wall Street Journal has amassed more than two million followers on Japanese messaging app Line since it debuted on the platform more than one year ago.

Messaging apps represent a tremendous opportunity for publishers to reach consumers directly and on a global scale. WhatsApp, for example, surpassed one billion global monthly active users in February, according to Statista.

Despite this rich and largely untapped well, there are still several challenges to face before publishers start routinely disseminating their content through messaging apps, notes Robert Elder, research associate for BI Intelligence.

Chat apps have typically have a trove of data on a user’s messaging history, location, spending habits, and more, but that data would need to be available to publishers in order for them to send relevant content to the user. WhatsApp and Venmo, two of the more popular apps on the market, currently do not have APIs to facilitate this.

Messaging apps would also need better tools for publishers to manage and send their content. At the moment, it is difficult for publishers to do this, particularly on WhatsApp (the largest chat app in the world), which has no content management system. Digiday also notes that WhatsApp limits publishers’ broadcast channels at 256 people each, which means they have to manually duplicate their channels to distribute one piece of content.

Other issues include better ways for users and publishers to communicate directly, and more efficient ways for users to add and follow publishers’ accounts.

These challenges are very real, but there’s no doubt that messaging apps provide a rich and untapped well for publishers to reach people in a new and creative way, particularly as these apps grow in popularity.

So what does the future of messaging apps hold?

Will McKitterick, senior research analyst for BI Intelligence, has compiled a detailed report on messaging apps that takes a close look at the size of the messaging app market, how these apps are changing, and the types of opportunities for monetization that have emerged from the growing audience that uses messaging services daily.

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BI Intelligence

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Mobile messaging apps are massive. The largest services have hundreds of millions of monthly active users (MAU). Falling data prices, cheaper devices, and improved features are helping propel their growth.
  • Messaging apps are about more than messaging. The first stage of the chat app revolution was focused on growth. In the next phase, companies will focus on building out services and monetizing chat apps’ massive user base.
  • Popular Asian messaging apps like WeChat, KakaoTalk, and LINE have taken the lead in finding innovative ways to keep users engaged. They’ve also built successful strategies for monetizing their services.
  • Media companies, and marketers are still investing more time and resources into social networks like Facebook and Twitter than they are into messaging services. That will change as messaging companies build out their services and provide more avenues for connecting brands, publishers, and advertisers with users.

In full, this report:

  • Gives a high-level overview of the messaging market in the US by comparing total monthly active users for the top chat apps.
  • Examines the user behavior of chat app users, specifically what makes them so attractive to brands, publishers, and advertisers.
  • Identifies what distinguishes chat apps in the West from their counterparts in the East.
  • Discusses the potentially lucrative avenues companies are pursuing to monetize their services.
  • Offers key insights and implications for marketers as they consider interacting with users through these new platforms.

To get your copy of this invaluable guide, choose one of these options:

  1. Purchase an ALL-ACCESS Membership that entitles you to immediate access to not only this report, but also dozens of other research reports, subscriptions to all 5 of the BI Intelligence daily newsletters, and much more. >> START A MEMBERSHIP
  2. Purchase the report and download it immediately from our research store. >> BUY THE REPORT

The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you’ve given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of the future of messaging apps.

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