Report: Chat apps dominate social in usage and time spent

Chat is the most highly used app function for 80 percent to 100 percent of Android and iOS users, with social apps following closely at nearly 80 percent, according to ABI Research and Mobidia.

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Smartphones are more heavily used for social communication than tablets. (Source: Mobidia/ABI Research)

The two firms partnered on a report that evaluated applications exceeding two hours per month (roughly four minutes a day) of usage and 10 percent monthly use within a large population.

  • Facebook is the strongest application in the U.S., with 68 percent of monthly active users spending around 730 minutes per month (about 24 minutes per day) on the platform.
  • In Western Europe, the relationship is even stronger, with WhatsApp leading engagement with 73 percent of users engaging monthly and spending 612 minutes monthly (roughly 20 minutes per day). Facebook is a close second, followed by Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.
  • In North America, the data consumption in MB per minute varies from 0.25 (VoIP), 0.45 (chat), 1.6 (rich media), 1.8 (social) to 2.2 (videoconferencing).
  • Chat applications exhibit a large number of shorter sessions (with a session average of about 45 seconds), while average session length increases for VoIP (58 seconds), rich media (89 seconds), social (96 seconds) and videoconferencing (108 seconds).

"In general, the average session length scales with the richness of the media," the report says. "One key anomaly, that rich media has a slightly shorter engagement time per session than social, is well explained by much production of content occurring in the rich media app (uploading to Instagram), while the viewing of that occurs in the social app, together with dozens of other updates."

Most apps, even in the chat and social categories, may never reach the heights of Facebook or WhatsApp, but if nothing else they show how large the appetite can be for a mobile experience that consumers find truly compelling. The report also shows that, for apps with multiple popular functions, unbundling isn't always a bad idea. In fact, the data suggests that spinning out Messenger was one of the smartest decisions Facebook made this year, with the app rising 45 percent in monthly utilization since this past summer. 

For more:
- access the report here

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