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Facebook is dead, long live Facebook Messenger

Okay, so Facebook isn’t actually dead, not even close, but if there’s one thing we learned from the recent end-of-the-year app statistics, it’s that messaging services are growing much faster than social networks, and have been for a while. For a number of reasons, messaging services have been massively popular with both consumers and marketers over the last few years, and should their rapid growth continue, messaging services could replace social networks as the dominant form of online communication and interaction.

Users around the world are logging in to messaging apps to not only chat with friends but also to connect with brands, browse merchandise, and watch content. What were once simple services for exchanging messages, pictures, videos, and GIFs have evolved into expansive ecosystems with their own developers, apps, and APIs. Chat apps boast a number of distinct characteristics that make their audiences particularly appealing to businesses and marketers, including their size, retention and usage rates, and user demographics. The combined user base of the top four chat apps is larger than the combined user base of the top four social networks. Chat apps also have higher retention and usage rates than most mobile apps. Finally, the majority of their users are young, an extremely important demographic for brands, advertisers and publishers. In a new report from BI Intelligence, we take a close look at the size of the messaging app market, how these apps are changing, and the types of opportunities for monetization that have emerged from the growing audience that uses messaging services daily.

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