IM apps fail to make money


IM to dominate messaging traffic but to bring in pittance by 2018

Instant messaging (IM) apps are set to rule messaging traffic while they will continue to encounter difficulties in generating revenues, according to a new study.

A new report from Juniper Research highlights the growing disparity between traffic volumes and revenues in the mobile messaging market. It states that despite accounting for 75% of the traffic, or 63 trillion messages, by 2018, IM apps will only generate 2% of the mobile messaging market's revenue, at just over £3 billion.

The report stated that the increasingly high IM traffic volumes are the result of a number of factors, but chief among them is the fact that usage of IM apps is inherently different to usage of SMS; users typically send up to 10 'chats' to convey a message that could be contained in one SMS.

In addition to this, stickers, emoticons, images and group conversations all add significantly to IM traffic, as well as the fact that handset users, the younger demographic in particular, typically install multiple IM apps.

Nevertheless IM apps are continuing to encounter difficulties in generating revenues, given the infancy of the market. The hundreds of IM apps available are taking different approaches, some utilising in-app purchases and games, others with advertising or subscriptions.

Some apps such as Facebook Messenger are loss leaders, and only serve to increase engagement with a companies' separate revenue generating app.

Report author, Sian Rowlands, added: 'Adoption of IM apps has rapidly accelerated over the past 18 months, something which has led Juniper to revise upwards our forecast for the volume of IM traffic.'

The Far East and China will generate the most traffic across all mobile messaging formats, throughout the forecast period.


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