2 Messaging Apps Publishers Need to Know

Messaging Apps

Fact: messaging apps receiving 3 billion monthly unique users, more than social media apps.1

While Facebook Messenger is the most popular messaging app in the United States, foreign based apps hold the lion’s share of global users, and each has their own unique user base and demographics.2

Here’s what you need to know about Kik and Line, two messaging apps that are quickly becoming publisher favorites.

Kik boasts an impressive 200 million monthly active users worldwide.

More importantly, the app skews heavily towards younger demographics–70% of their user base is between the ages of 13 and 25. Intriguing demographics aside, it is the publisher friendly functionalities that makes Kik a new favorite distribution channel.3

Learn other strategies publishers are successfully using to reach, attract, and retain millennials.

For starters, Kik allows publishers to post articles within the platform’s ecosystem or link out of the app–bringing more readers to publisher sites. Likewise, Kik has a ‘Promoted Chats’ section making it easy for users to find publishers.4

This last feature is particularly important; unlike a majority of messaging apps, Kik requires the user to initiate a conversation with the app before content can be sent–with the exception that publishers can send one general blast message to their user base per week.

In return, publishers are garnering extremely high engagement rates.

“Because the user’s opted-in, you’re going to see 75 to 80% of those messages opened and read,” explained Devrin Carlson-Smith, head of strategic development for Kik.5

Indeed, the results are promising.

Kik has had 5% of its total 200 million users opt-in to conversations with publishers and brands, and has seen an average of 9.4 messages sent per conversation. Likewise, publishers are quickly gaining followers.6

NowThis, one of Kik’s early adopters, has accrued 350,000 followers. And NBC News has had 50,000 users opt-in to conversations with the platform within only a few weeks.7

With 2 billion messages received over a few months, publishers and brands alike are realizing the opportunity.8

Line is appealing for its market penetration in Southeast Asia.

In 2015, Line overtook Snapchat as the fastest-growing social app, growing by 59%.9 Branding itself as a “life and entertainment platform,” the platform has roughly 218 million monthly unique users–with a majority based in Asia.10

In fact, Line has nearly 100% market penetration in Japan with Thailand, Taiwan, and Indonesia almost as high–only 12 % of the app’s users are based in the United States.11

Denise Law, deputy community editor at the Economist stated, “Line offers an interesting audience that we don’t have access to. There’s a universe of younger readers, particularly in Asia and the U.S., that wouldn’t know to go to, so we go to them.”12

And so far, publishers are happy with the results.

For instance, The Economist posts between four to six pieces of content daily within its Line homepage and sends two pieces of content each week through push notifications. Since this initiative, The Economist has amassed roughly 375,000 followers in six months.13

But, it’s The Wall Street Journal who is seeing the strongest outcomes.

While details are hard to come by, the publication has received 2 million followers in only 15 months–becoming the Journal’s fastest-growing platform. Just as important, the Journal reports that close to 30% of their followers are actively commenting, liking, and sharing their posts.14

Caral Zanoni, executive emerging media editor at the Journal expressed, “I’m not seeing that kind of growth anywhere else, period.”15

With such promising results, it’s little surprise that publishers are taking notice. And acting.

Content Personalization

1. Tomanchek, Jim. “Why Every Marketer Should Be Keeping Up With the Evolution of Messaging Apps.” AdWeek. N.p., 06 Mar. 2016. Web. 01 Sept. 2016.
2. Schwartz, Joseph. “The Most Popular Messaging App in Every Country.” Similarweb Blog. N.p., 30 May 2016. Web. 22 Nov. 2016.
3. Moses, Lucia. “Publishers’ Newest Platform Darling: Kik.” Digiday. N.p., 13 Apr. 2015. Web. 04 Sept. 2016.
4. IBID.
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7. IBID.
8. Swant, Marty. “Kik Users Have Now Sent Branded Chatbots Nearly 2 Billion Messages.” AdWeek. N.p., 04 Aug. 2016. Web. 01 Sept. 2016.
9. Southern, Lucinda. “Line Is The Wall Street Journal’s Fastest-growing Platform.” Digiday. N.p., 08 Feb. 2016. Web. 01 Sept. 2016.
10. Southern, Lucinda. “What You Need to Know about Messaging App Line in 6 Charts.” Digiday. N.p., 14 July 2016. Web. 01 Sept. 2016.
11. IBID.
12. Southern, Lucinda. “The Economist Is Publishing on Messaging App Line.”Digiday. N.p., 28 Jan. 2016. Web. 04 Sept. 2016.
13. IBID.
14. Southern, Lucinda. “Line Is The Wall Street Journal’s Fastest-growing Platform.” Digiday. N.p., 08 Feb. 2016. Web. 01 Sept. 2016.
15. IBID.