few years back, there was a race to join social networking sites from Orkut to Facebook
and Twitter. This was all about building a network of friends, creating
personal profiles, and sharing photos, videos, music and status updates. Today,
people ask whether you are on WhatsApp, WeChat, Kik etc., and even now all of
this is about networking and sharing. Times are changing with tech-savvy young
people turning to a wave of smartphone-based messaging apps which are now
sweeping across the world. All of these are predominantly driven by mobile.
Mobile messaging apps, or social messaging apps as they are called, are the
biggest threat to the existing social networks. The apps provide a quick and
easy way for smartphone users to combine elements of text and social networking
and bypassing both the SMS plans offered by telecom carriers and also the
established social networking websites. This growing trend of messaging apps
are not only replacing traditional SMS and voice calling, but they continue to
grow and may even replace social networking sites as well.
started off as a habit of SMS messaging on a mobile phone has evolved into an
engaging conversation using instant messaging initially on PCs and then on
smartphones. A rapid growth of mobile data subscriptions and the proliferation
of reasonably priced smartphones have been the major contributing factors for
this growth. The other reason is quick response time and the ability to have
longer conversations virtually with anyone in the world without any extra cost.
Mobile Messaging Landscape in India
messaging apps have triggered a revolution globally, and India, being one of
the fastest growing countries in terms of smartphone adoption, has also caught
up in this messaging revolution with the launch of many mobile messaging
applications. The mobile market in the country is beginning to open up both in
terms of devices and related technologies. This user shift in India towards
higher screen size products is amplified by declining prices and the
availability of feature rich localized product offerings. The cost effective
nature of these social messaging apps has accelerated the adoption of these
services amongst Indian consumers
apps are going all out to attract users in India as this is one of the largest
markets. The widespread popularity of these apps has triggered a battle to gain
market share. Many of them have been actively marketing on television and have
roped in celebrities for their campaigns. The messaging market is getting
extremely crowded and each player is trying to differentiate themselves.
better understand the growing popularity of mobile apps—and help all players in
the mobile ecosystem figure out how to profit from their growth—we at InMobi
conducted a research project to understand the consumer behavior.
InMobi conducted this study to uncover trends
and provide an improved understanding of consumer behavioral insights in
context of mobile messaging apps to craft meaningful user acquisition and
monetization strategies for app developers.
The key research findings
are summarized as below:
- Messaging is very big among Indian users. It’s engrained in their habits ever since the inception of SMS. Research shows that of all forms of communication channels available on mobile device, 44% of Indian mobile users prefer messaging apps as the most preferred way to communicate, bypassing even social networks (19%).
- 95% of mobile users in India access messaging apps multiple times per day.
- Younger mobile users under aged 35 are leading the charge toward chat apps. They are drawn to chat apps because of the cost-savings benefits they offer (vs. SMS/MMS) and for the immediate, private and fun nature of the messaging environment.
- Browsing the app store, recommendations from friends and family, and mobile websites are the top three ways users discover apps. Mobile advertising has also emerged as an important discovery channel, with 14 percent of respondents reporting they discover new apps via mobile ads
The fragmentation of social media is very much driven by the
diverse needs of consumers. Our research shows that not all apps have the same
appeal. By talking to different consumers and engaging people in a co-creation
process, marketers can help drive innovation and uncover opportunities where
their brand can meaningfully add value.
Propensity to Download:
56% of mobile users in India are more likely
to download the messenger/chat app in the next 30 days.
The top 3 factors that influence Indian users
to download these apps are:
- Ability to communicate with friends - 44%
- Ability to share photos & videos – 39%
- Ability to communicate with family – 30%
What is interesting to note is that attributes such as the ability to play games and availability of emoticons are seen as much less important. Users value the functionality and reliability of such apps, rather than the add-on fancy features.
- Research found that a fair share of mobile users do shell out for in-app purchases in a messaging apps—21% of respondents said they’d made an in-app purchase in a mobile messaging apps, and 18% of users have never made an in-app purchase but would consider making.
- The optimal price point for in-app purchases in messaging apps for Indian users is between INR 71 and INR 129
- Digital goods purchases (38%); Upgrading apps with additional features (35%)are the most popular types of in-app purchases done by Indian mobile messaging app users
What it takes to Win the Chat Race
Here are a few tips for marketers and publishers
as an outcome of the survey.
Leverage mobile: Leverage all the available features in
mobile devices like camera, location detection, sensors, which were not
possible in Web to create new business opportunities. Make sure your app
leverages all these features to ensure a richer user experience!
Leverage mobile messaging - 78% of respondents send or receive multiple
mobile messages per day. Leverage the mobile messaging/ chat app opportunity to fill this need
to communicate with consumers via mobile messages.
Focus on the right audience - 95% of respondents already use mobile
messaging/ chat apps, and nearly two-thirds of them are planning to download a
messaging/ chat app in the next 30 days. Understand who your target consumers are and
what factors consumers find most important to messaging/ chat applications.
Design dynamic and engaging mobile
- Mobile consumers discover
messaging/ chat apps through multiple channels. Design dynamic and engaging mobile experiences
that introduce consumers to messaging/ chat applications,
showcase app features, and enable them to seamlessly download the app.
Generate brand awareness - Indian mobile consumer’s most frequent
social networking and messaging and news/ weather mobile sites or applications.
brand awareness by targeting ads to these mobile properties and other
sites they frequent.
Monetize - Once your app has reached the critical mass
of users, focus your effort towards monetizing the app. Earn additional revenue
by hosting ads in your app. Consider utilizing native ads that seamlessly blend
into your app content. Understand what types of in-app purchases users are making and offer
those that make the most sense for your app.
Time spent on messaging apps is exploding in
markets, and many of the populous countries in the world have fallen prey for
them. It is important for marketers and publishers involved in mobile media to
messaging is the
audience platform of the future.
To learn more
about the above study, download the
India Mobile Messaging Apps Research Report
understanding more about this research? Reach out to our insights team at