Three of the Top 5 social platforms globally are instant messenger and chat apps.

According to We Are Social’s latest Digital, Social & Mobile report, three of the Top 5 social platforms globally are instant messenger and chat apps, and eight of these brands now claim more than 100 million monthly active users. Chinese powerhouse Tencent owns two of these, QQ and WeChat, which will only pick up steam as the company pushes into more markets, from Latin America to India, as well as the U.S. Facebook owns two of these as well, Messenger and WhatsApp, which has climbed to 700 million active users since this chart was prepared.


Messaging apps overall posted triple-digit growth last year, per Flurry. As The New York Times reports today, the popularity of these apps is driving more publishers, game makers and retailers to explore the platform’s potential, and that potential is expanding as developers enable new functions within messenger apps. We’ve written about apps like Snapchat and Line adding payment capabilities; the publishing angle is more recent. Snapchat’s upcoming Discover feature will reportedly feature original content along with material from the likes of ESPN and Vice. “Media and communication are converging,” says BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti in the Times. Among the big challenges for brands here is the “dark social” phenomenon, or the rise of social sharing that’s relatively invisible to traditional analytics.

As more and more people around the world come online, many of them by way of mobile devices, messenger apps will increasingly serve as the gateway to a world of friends, goods, news and entertainment.