Mobile messaging services, like Facebook’s chat and WhatsApp, are becoming more and more popular. They are cheaper to use than sending text messages through the mobile networks. Instead of spending a few cents for each picture message, users are able to use the messaging services free each time, although there are small annual fees attached to some of them. For the first time, however, WhatsApp messaging service has overtaken Facebook and many other services in popularity.
WhatsApp is a cross-platform application, working on tablets and smartphones around the world. It is popular for friends and family to send messages to each other, without using up text messages included in bundles or spending extra to send picture messages (MMS). It works through the data plan included within the contract, and can work out free when using Wi-Fi connections.
Other similar messaging systems include Facebook Chat, Apple’s iMessage and Google Hangouts. Skype is one of the oldest forms of messaging systems and is increasingly popular for people wanting to video chat, but is not as popular as WhatsApp or many others when it comes to mobile messaging.
To find out the most popular messaging system, On Device carried out a survey covering five countries and a range of devices. This did not include those who used the Windows Phones or Blackberry and included the United States, China, Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa. 3,759 people were involved in the survey.
In previous years, Facebook was always been the most popular, but WhatsApp has now beaten it. 44 percent of the people surveyed stated that they used the WhatsApp instant messaging service, while just 35 percent used the social media’s app, on a weekly basis. This supports the claim made in April by Jan Koum, chief executive at WhatsApp, that the service carries more messages than Facebook. Other claims include that it is more popular than Twitter and has over 300 million active users each month.
One of the benefits of using this service is the lack of advertising. There is an annual fee, but that is less than the cost of one multimedia message. The fee is considered worthwhile when there are no adverts to slow the service down, use up bandwidth or cause the battery to drain quickly. The creators of the service realize that people do not want to be bombarded with adverts, and have decided that smartphones are not the place for them. There are also fewer questions relating to the privacy of information, unlike Facebook.
It seems that more people are turning away from the once extremely popular social media website. Facebook’s acquisition deal over SnapChat was turned down just last month. SnapChat is growing in popularity, especially with users between the ages of 16 and 24; Facebook’s main target age range.
There is no breakdown of the countries and their preferences when it comes to the different messaging services. However, Blackberry’s messaging service seems more popular with the South Africans, while WeChat is popular in China. That does not change the fact that WhatsApp is the most popular messaging service for iPhone and Android users, taking over Facebook in popularity for the first time.
By Alexandria Ingham