Category Archives: Facebook

Going OTT: Messaging Apps Stats Roundup

Following our roundup of the key features and user numbers of the most popular messaging apps around the world, we’ve gathered together some more detailed stats shared with Mobile Marketing by Onavo

Gender and age 

Using messaging apps, perhaps unsurprisingly, is a slightly more female-slanted pursuit than male, with highest usage among women seen on MessageMe, KakaoTalk and Snapchat. Men are slightly more likely to use Skype and Viber, while WhatsApp is an even split.

Messaging apps are nearly all most popular among 25 to 34-year-olds, particularly MessageMe, LINE and KakaoTalk. Snapchat was the only app that bucked this trend, being most popular among 18 to 24-year-olds, who take a 39 per cent share of the app’s global iOS audience. The most popular app among 55 to 64s and the over 65s is trusty Skype. Usage of MessageMe among 55 to 64s was the only instance where where activity exceeded those aged 45 to 54. 

US, UK and Canada compared 

When comparing the usage of messaging apps by iPhone users in the US, Canada and the UK, the largest stat is that WhatsApp is used by 49 per cent in the UK – the highest reach of any app in any of the countries we looked at. In contrast, it reaches just 12 per cent of US iOS app users. WhatsApp is followed rather distantly in the UK by Skype at 22 per cent reach and Snapchat at 21 per cent. 

In the US, Snapchat has the greatest reach, used by 26 per cent of iOS app users, followed by Skype on 21 per cent and Facebook Messenger on 17 per cent. This is the only time Facebook Messenger appears among the top three – and it has only been downloaded by 19 per cent of Facebook users worldwide. 

In Canada meanwhile, Skype edges into number one, with 22 per cent reach, closely followed by Snapchat, with 20 per cent, and WhatsApp on 18 per cent. Across the three countries, Skype enjoys the most consistent reach in all countries. 

WhatsApp is a success – whatever its limitations 

WhatsApp is clearly hit and miss, with a number of limitations, including a lack of voice calls, but does directly link in to Skype if both have been downloaded. That’s probably why, worldwide among these three apps, 44 per cent of WhatsApp users also using Skype as well. Viber supplements WhatsApp’s service for 28 per cent of users. Just 23 per cent of Skype users also have WhatsApp. 

Whatever WhatsApp’s limitations, among messaging app users on iOS worldwide, it is present on 99 per cent of handsets it Spain, along with 96 per cent in Hong Kong, Columbia and Argentina, showing it has achieved international fame.

Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and published here: http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/going-ott-messaging-apps-stats-roundup#Kc1J7muol4QBaLe8.99

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Going OTT: Messaging Apps Roundup

We’ve taken a comprehensive look at the features of some of the most popular OTT apps worldwide, which will be followed by an article which takes a good look at who’s winning where, using data shared exclusively with Mobile Marketing by the analytics firm Onavo

Facebook Messenger

Platforms: iPhone, Android and BlackBerry  
Started: August 2011 after buying group messaging startup Beluga  

Facebook created the Messenger app so chats with friends were just one click away, rather than having to load up full-fat Facebook. But in practice, having the two running in tandem is proving unsuccessful. Especially as your Facebook messages were already just two clicks away. 

Today, just 19 per cent of Facebook’s iPhone users worldwide also have the Messenger app. Facebook shut down and integrated Beluga’s group messaging, location sharing and mapping functions into both apps, but group chats in particular are better signposted in standard Facebook. You can message friends of friends in both apps, but can’t yet, despite claims in its blurb about Messenger, message handset contacts via Facebook or send SMS messages using the Android and iOS handsets we tested.  

Users of either app can Bing search for pictures to send to friends, as well as adding photos from their phone, can take a picture and record audio. You can make ‘free calls’ – warning that data charges may apply – and provided your friend has linked Facebook with their handset. Which is by no means everyone. If this spin-off was intended to create a new revenue stream, namely around in-app stickers, which works well for other messaging services, then the plan has gone awry. Although paid-for stickers are yet to go live, a shopping basket on Facebook proper indicates where purchases will be made, which already contains some freebies to get people hooked. But this is feature that hasn’t yet made it to Messenger.  

KakaoTalk Messenger 

Platforms:  Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows OS, Bada 
Started: Launched by South Korean IT company Kakao in March 2010 

Although the company initially focused on South Asian markets, the app in now available ‘anywhere in the world’, with translations into English, Spanish, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Indonesian, Japanese, Thai, Turkish, Italian, French, German and Portuguese. It reached 100m users worldwide in July. 

Users can make free calls, including to groups and with ‘fun voice filters’, send messages to anyone else with the app, including celebrities, with users able to group chat to an ‘unlimited’ number of people. You can also add appointments and schedule reminders, share videos, photos and voice notes. 

The company has created a wide range of monetisation opportunities, including a sticker and themes store, where in-app purchases go up to $3, its own free games, which are linked to and downloadable from the relevant app store, with a host of in-app purchase options here too. KakaoTalk is certainly big in South Korea, with 95 per cent reach for iPhone users. It has nine per cent reach in Japan, three per cent in Hong Kong and two per cent in China. Outside of Asia, however, the app appears to have had little impact. 

LINE 

Platforms: Android, iOS, Windows, BlackBerry, Nokia Asha, Windows, Windows 8 or Mac 
Started: Created by South Korean internet content provider NHN Corporation in July 2011 to help Japanese people communicate after the earthquake there  

LINE claimed 200m users in July this year, and along with 71 per cent penetration among iPhone message app users in Japan, is used by 46 per cent of those people in Hong Kong, along with 44 per cent in Spain. It also has a significant presence in Latin America. LINE supports free calls on iPhone and Android to app users. Other handset users can get LINE on their Windows, Windows 8 or Mac computers to access this feature. Users can have group chats with up to 100 participants.   

To get started in the LINE shop, you have to purchase the virtual currency, which starts at £1.49 for 100 and goes up to £32.99 for 3,400, plus 1,000 bonus coins for spending your cash on nothing. Coins can only be spent on the operating system they were bought on. It also uses banner ads in its apps to advertise new stickers that people can buy. 

Similarly to Kakao, LINE offers simple, free ‘match three’-style games to download in-app with paid-for bolt-ons and the opportunity to play with other users to earn rewards. It also has a number of other proprietary apps, including LINE Camera, LINE Card and LINE Brush. LINE is going beyond messaging to creating an in-app social network of its own with its Timeline feature. 

Skype 

Platforms: Windows 8, Windows and Windows tablets, Mac, Linux, Windows Phone, Android phones and tablets, BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, iPod, Kindle Fire, Skype-ready phones and TVs, Playstation Vita 
Started: 2003, bought by eBay in 2005 $2.5bn, before Microsoft finally bought the platform in 2011 for $8.5bn  

Skype offers free instant messaging, terrible emoticons and Skype-to-Skype video or voice calls in its ad-supported, free version, along with international calls at cheap rates. The premium, ad-free version, charged at £2.99 per month, offers group chat and unlimited calls to a region of your choice.  

Skype had a 34 per cent share of international calls made last year, up from 13 per cent in 2010, but is no doubt facing stiff competition. 

Snapchat 

Platforms: iOS and Android  
Started when: September 2011 at Stanford University by a group of students 

Snapchat is a photo and image sharing app, a residing place of the #selfie, where users also have the ability to add text and imagery to their masterpiece before sending to other app users, as well as groups of users.  The key USP of Snapchat, and potentially the reason it’s been adopted by so many young people, is that the images have a time-limit and then disappear from both the sender’s and receiver’s phone.  

Controversy has swirled about whether the images really disappear from existence after this, and the team explained last month: “If you’ve ever tried to recover lost data after accidentally deleting a drive, or maybe watched an episode of CSI, you might know that with the right forensic tools, it’s sometimes possible to retrieve data after it has been deleted.” Essentially confirming that any compromising images are not gone-gone. People have also been known to take a quick screen grab before the message self-destructs.  

Although the team was nearly laughed out of the classroom when they pitched it to classmates, it received $13.5m in funding back in February and a further $60m in July. The app doesn’t have a price tag for users or any ads yet, but does have an $800m valuation ‘pre-money’. The founders are working on using the platform for product teasers and flash sales. It had 8m US users back in May but is also doing very well in the UK and Canada.  

Viber 

Platforms: Android, BlackBerry OS, iOS, Series 40, Symbian, Bada, Windows Phone, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, and a Linux version is in development 
Started: 2010 in Israel 

Viber has spent the last three years waging war directly with Skype and has made significant effort to make itself available across an equitable number of platforms. Although the company has not yet reached the same heights, its CEO revealed in May that it has passed 200m users. Viber enables voice calls, group messaging, doodles and recently localised its service into 16 languages and added desktop platforms. 

Neat USPs of Viber include the ability to share your big-fingered masterpieces on Facebook, as well as a handy quick reply function via a lockscreen takeover. Viber also enables users to transfer calls from its desktop to mobile apps if you are on your way out the door.  The company doesn’t currently generate revenues but will, like KakaoTalk and LINE, start to sell messaging stickers this year. The company has received $20m investment.  

Whatsapp 

Platforms: Android, iOS, BlackBerry OS, BlackBerry 10, Series 40, Symbian and Windows Phone  
Started: 2009 by Yahoo veterans Brian Acton and Jan Koum in California 

Although more limited in functionality than some of its messaging competitors, currently offering instant and voice messaging, some loveable emoticons, audio, image and video sending, this is by far and away the most popular messaging app among iPhone users in the UK. The company’s CEO has always come out hard against ad-funded services and offers his app free or a year before charging $0.99. It reported more than 300m active users in August, with 325m photos shared each day.  

Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and published here: http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/going-ott#GHzDhx755VYG4szu.99

83 Per Cent of Facebook’s Daily UK Users are Mobile

In a bid to bring on more advertisers to add to the 1m plus on board already, Facebook has for the first time revealed daily and monthly users in the UK and US, as well as how many active mobile users there are in each country. Further country-specific data, promised at regular intervals, is also on the way, according to a spokesperson. We’ve pulled together all of the latest stats from Facebook to give you an idea of how mobile usage is growing worldwide, in each country and as a share of advertising.  

Global user stats Q2, 2013 

  • Monthly users: 1.15bn = +3.6 per cent q/q and +21 per cent y/y  
  • Daily users: 669m = +5.1 per cent q/q and +26 per cent y/y 
  • Monthly mobile users: 819m = +9 per cent q/q and +51 per cent y/y 
  • Daily mobile users: 469m = +10 per cent q/q  
  • Mobile-only: 219m = 20 per cent of total monthly users, more than Twitter has in total 
  • No. of mobile page impressions: 65bn per day 
  • Ad revenue: $1.16bn = 88 per cent of $1.81bn total revenue 
  • Mobile ad revenue: $656m = 36 per cent of total revenue, +10 percentage points q/q 
  • No. of advertisers: +1m worldwide 

US user stats Q2, 2013 

  • Monthly users: 179m  
  • Daily users: 128m 
  • Monthly mobile users: 142m = 79 per cent of monthly users 
  • Daily mobile users: 101m = 78 per cent of daily US users and 20 per cent of total global daily mobile users 

UK user stats Q2, 2013 

  • Monthly users: 33m 
  • Daily users: 24m 
  • Monthly mobile users: 26m = 78 per cent of monthly UK users 
  • Daily mobile users: 20m = 83 per cent of daily UK users  

Other  

  • Facebook for Every Phone users: 100m

Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and published here: http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/83-cent-facebooks-daily-uk-users-are-mobile#9v1GseSETCLd3Vjk.99

Facebook – The Daily Telegraph of the Digital Age?

Born in 1988, I’m slap bang in the middle of Generation Y, or the Millennials. Or even Gen C. Which isn’t actually a generation, but more of a state of mind, according to Google. This 20 year period covers people born between 1977 to 1996, or alternatively 1982 to 2001, depending on who you ask. Simple. 

But the rate of technological change over the last 10 years has seen Myspace giving way to Facebook and then Twitter then Pinterest then – you get the picture.  I’m part of the begrudging, but enslaved Facebook faithful. I text and use Whatsapp. Email and Twitter are both indispensable. 


So can you really say that someone born in 1998 uses technology in the same way as me?  We decided to find out, so we interviewed two 14-year-olds, a boy and girl, to see how they are using the devices they own and share. Surely those with digital in their DNA will run rings around me, a mere digital native? 


Surprisingly, or not for a couple of teenagers, they were as excited about tech as they are about everything, which is rather little, but they clearly can’t live without it. 


Five messaging apps in one day 


Freya, disgruntled owner of a failing BlackBerry, as well as an iPod, hops between the two devices depending on the task at hand. That means BBMing and chatting with her friends and following funny accounts on Twitter when her main handset allows. She switches when she wants to use Instagram and Snapchat – for chatting to people without BBM, and the “funny pictures” that make it better than Whatsapp. All on a daily basis. Add to that Skype, Facetime and ooVoo – for those urgent group video chats – and you’d think they’d have run out of things to say.  


She uses a computer “if I have to”. And Facebook? “I deactivated my account. It’s boring.” I feel a twinge of sadness for my twisted old friend. So what would Ben have to say about a platform that has changed my ability to communicate as much as it has my concept of privacy? “I just left my profile. It’s boring,” he confirmed. Ouch. 


No TV, no computer, iPad gathers dust 


Ben’s a lucky iPhone 5 user, and also shares an iPad 2 with his brother, but he doesn’t use it. “I don’t watch TV. I don’t use a computer except at school for course work. Nah, I don’t have email. I tend to just use my phone. And that’s really just for apps.” Like Freya, he uses a combination of messaging services, iMessage, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter every day. When people don’t have iMessage, he texts people.  


Uninterested in the latest games consoles, he plays Clash of the Clans four times a week, where he sees ads for games in-app, but just ignores them. Freya identifies 4Pics1Word as a game that’s been doing the rounds at school, in the past she would have clicked on the “silly pop-up banners”, but not anymore, she says. Apart from that, neither consumes a great deal of content other than funny things their friends allegedly spew out all day long. Even wearable tech doesn’t really strike a chord with our teens. 


Battery life an inter-generation concern 


So what’s the best thing about their phone? “Being in touch with everybody, otherwise you’d just bored out of your head and have nothing to do,” Ben said. “And music I guess. When you’re travelling a long way.” He admits Maps is useful “but I don’t really use it,” he says. “I can talk to friends I don’t see often and it entertains me,” Freya adds. Both identify battery life as the killer of their mass communication lifestyle. 


Ben also says load times between apps are annoying, as well as the sign-up process when connecting to wi-fi. He suggests making it automatic. Freya, a lone Spotify Premium owner at school, thinks it would be good if more than one person could listen to the music service. But she complains it takes too long to get new music. 


Tech jobs?? 


And despite this heavy usage, both have little knowledge of the fact that they could make a career out of all this. Phones are banned in school, and will be confiscated, they say. When they do IT, Freya admits she “doesn’t really get it,” while Ben says “they don’t really talk about technology jobs at school.” So. Facebook is about to become an antique, at least in developed markets, facing similar problems in the future as the printed press does today. Email’s days could be numbered, and while there is no dominant messaging platform for this Chat Generation, the medium is certainly smartphones for the forseeable. 


Let’s hope it’s not too late to funnel this constant connectivity and conversation into something useful. Lol?


Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and published here:  http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/facebook-%E2%80%93-daily-telegraph-digital-age#MmHiAA4isLQZlmjD.99

“Banks are terrified that Amazon will be a formal bank”

“Banks are terrified that Amazon will be a formal bank,” Deborah Perry Piscione – Silicon Valley entrepreneur and author of Silicon Valley Whispers – told her audience at an event at the London School of Economics. “Amazon knows how its sellers are doing at any given moment at any given day.” She said that applying for a loan with them, therefore, could happen in just six questions. 

Piscione spent the early years of her career working in national politics and the media in the US, reaching both Capitol Hill and the Whitehouse. On moving to Silicon Valley, at a time when Google was just starting to take shape and Zuckerberg was merely a topic of conversation, she found a culture quite different to the corporate world she was used to. “In Washington, we were indoctrinated into this cult that you withhold information and don’t share it,” she told an audience of students and entrepreneurs at LSE. 


“Silicon Valley was a land completely of the unknown. It took me a long time to realise what made this place so unbelievably unique. It is incredibly open and you have to get used to information sharing – often sharing with direct competitors because they can help validate your platform or product.” 


In her book, Piscione discusses what makes the culture of Silicon Valley so different. She said it’s the kind of place that can take a 23-year-old Mark Zuckerberg seriously because, unlike the hierarchies of Washington or London, people there don’t care about your age, gender or the colour of your skin. “The perception is that you’re smart and what you’re building is growing really quickly.” 


Unlimited vacation and intropreneurialsm 


She highlighted Google’s Campus, where you can get a haircut, see a doctor and even get your car’s oil changed, as an example to other businesses around the world. “So you’re not thinking about all those other tasks that bog you down on a daily basis. Netflix gives its employees unlimited vacation time. How do you motivate people based on valuing them?” 


There is also a culture of intropreneurialism, exemplified with the story of Youtube, where its founders were working at PayPal during the day and then on the platform, which started out life as a dating site, at night. And, unlike in Europe, people are allowed to fail. In fact, it might mean they are taken more seriously. She added that there is nothing more important than what is going on in HR. Focusing on people makes a “greater difference between success and failure overall.” 


Comparing Silicon Valley to London, and not without highlighting the better weather and outdoors lifestyle, she said: “Traffic in London has just gotten worse and worse.” She suggests scattering work hours around rush hour to ensure staff are less stressed and so more creative. 


The Valley’s close links with Stanford, which was founded in the 19th century with a commitment to ensure that students, faculty and professors had a connection with the local community, as well the university’s great support for the next generation, have set it apart. The heritage of VCs, the opportunity to build relationship and the supporting infrastructure, likewise. “VCs do everything possible to make that entrepreneur a success.” But its bubble-based economy, Piscione said, tends towards get rich quick rather than value creation which means: “VCs have huge pressure on them to get a quick ROI.” She said she believes platforms like Kickstarter are changing the funding game but highlighted that Silicon Valley has the support system, the networks and the people to make it more likely that a business can succeed. 


Failing national education 


But, while the Ivy League prospers, she said that primary and secondary education, as in the UK, is not doing a great job of preparing its young people for the jobs of the 21st century. California is 48th out of 50 states in terms of spending per pupil. “I’m not sure Silicon Valley has the answer on that front.” 


An audience member highlighted the latest draft of the national curriculum, which will now prioritise advanced IT from an early age. “Computing is not even the future, it’s the here and now. There has been a massive shift in the economy but the education is not giving kids, particularly girls, exposure to STEM subjects. It takes effort and really thinking outside of the box in not continuing to do things you’ve done over the last 50 years, but asking what are you going to do over the next 50 years.” 


She highlighted that PayPal founder Peter Thiel has now started his own fellowship programme, which encourages young people to opt-out of college. On the issue of working visas, she added:  “We certainly have to stop educating people at MIT, Harvard and Stanford and then sending them back home.” 


IP issues 


Asked about growing concerns around intellectual property, Piscione highlighted that Cisco spent $59m (£39.7m) last year defending their patents from “patent trolls” and suggested the need for a new international governing body on this. While many complain that the stealing only goes one way, she also pointed out that eBay “kind of copied a company out of China. Who takes it on, I don’t know – that’s got to be the conversation and the dialogue.” 


Will Apple really have the next new new thing? 


Asked about the future of some of Silicon Valley’s most prominent companies, she said: “There’s lots of conversation in Silicon Valley around will Apple have that next generation – what that new new thing is?” On the current ubiquity of services like Facebook and Google, she said: “You can’t imagine it being in your life – I just got a smartphone not long ago – you continue to resist and then can’t imagine life without it. But there will definitely be something else after Facebook and twitter – and soon.” 

Piscione questioned how much tech we really need, and whether younger generations will suffer from burnout, although she did highlight support from some in Silicon Valley towards biotech. She also warned against focusing on whether it’s web 2.0 or mobile: “because they’re all in there, we now need to look to continue to diversify our economy.”

Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and published here:
http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/%E2%80%9Cbanks-are-terrified-amazon-will-be-formal-bank%E2%80%9D#Q1zC3BL6d06YlRTA.99

Mahala Social Marketplace in beta

Mahala, a social network monetisation platform, is set to launch this month, enabling anyone to buy and sell products on their Facebook wall and other platforms via a secure QR code (S-QR).

The Mahala Mobile Shopper app is in beta and will be available soon on iOS, Android and BlackBerry World. Buyers simply link it with their PayPal account and scan any QR code from the company. Sellers can create an S-QR for each product or service, upload it via the Mahala portal and then share it.

The company believes this will help independent musicians, film makers and artisans to sell their wares without the need for an eCommerce site. The codes can also be placed in print or on other surfaces, like t-shirts.

Asked if this is a first, a company spokesperson, said: “It is the first. Security has always been the issue. It is not as easy as it looks. The security and convenience behind Mahala’s solution are key.”

The platform was born out of an initiative to bank the unbanked in South Africa. Sonny Fisher, CEO of Skynet Technology Group, said: “This marks the culmination of four years of hard work by our teams of global experts. By securely monetising the social networks, we have staked our claim in the payment space. This is the first of many revolutionary payment solutions that we are rolling out globally during the course of 2013.”

Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and published here: http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/mahala-social-marketplace-beta

Facebook Will Monetise Instagram – But How?

Written for and first published here: http://mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/facebook-will-monestise-instagram-how

For the early-adopting hipsters that popularised the photo-sharing app Instagram, its buyout by Facebook was welcomed like their mum turning up wearing skinny jeans. It was inevitable that change was on the way and Facebook has now begun testing the service as its route to making money on mobile. Just as they find out their mum has started hanging out in East London.

Facebook has so far proved that you can have 1bn users and not be making enough money. And as a publicly listed company, it really needs to start making something back for its shareholders, particularly on the costly buyout of the Instagram app company. Of course, as Instagram’s co-founder, Kevin Systrom, said in a clarifying blog after the news spread, and suggestion of a boycott gathered pace, the service was created to become a business.

While he has denied that the company will sell users’ photos, social advertising in-app, with branded accounts and the potential for your preferences to be considered as endorsements are well on the way. While Instagram says on its website that it is looking at ‘innovative advertising’, this sounds very similar to what Facebook is doing, and is struggling to monetise.

But if I like something on Facebook, or follow an account on Instagram, does that mean that I advertise it? Questions have already been raised about whether people have even ‘liked’ things that appear on their Facebook feeds, and some have even claimed that dead people are managing to endorse brands from beyond the grave.

“Our main goal is to avoid things like advertising banners you see in other apps that would hurt the Instagram user experience. Instead, we want to create meaningful ways to help you discover new and interesting accounts and content while building a self-sustaining business at the same time,” Systrom said.

So what does the future hold for Instagram – apart from the inevitable need to generate some cash? As with many changes that Facebook has introduced, while there is the usual push back and the most determined leave the service, many people accept them as the price of free access. If a service is free, you are the product, so the saying goes. Users have to ask themselves what they are comfortable with sharing while accepting less control. They have until 12 January to remove their profiles before the experiments with brands and advertising start to happen.

Instagram could opt for a paid-for, ad free premium service, although this could reduce the appeal of its inventory to brands by reducing the number of affluent, desirable advertisees. Microsoft computer science researcher, Jaron Lanier, told Newsnight: “The internet has to be about more than advertising or it’s a path to nowhere.” Alluding to a looming advertising bubble, he said that if we wanted to build the ‘information economy’, people have to be able to share money and buy things on Facebook. But that means they have to trust it.

The question has started to be asked – can and will people start charging for their data? Or could they be given more opportunity to say ‘yes, I want advertising about cars, holidays and business solutions, please do not send me things about…’? For more on what these developments could look like, see i-allow.

Could this very 21st century problem end up with one social network bringing down another? The #boycottinstagram campaign on Twitter sure hopes so. Or is this all just a Twitter storm in a tea cup?
Meanwhile, Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg has announced the donation of $500m worth of Facebook stock to charity…