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Instant messaging use rises as more people opt for closed platforms

October 7, 2015 | By Research Team—DCN

The popularity of instant messaging (IM) has soared over the past year, with a 12% uplift in daily usage as more people opt for closed messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Viber. Over half of internet users worldwide (55%) are now using instant messaging every day, while 76% are using it on a weekly basis, according to Connected Life, a study of over 60,000 internet users worldwide from global research consultancy TNS. Despite this, social platforms are still rising in popularity with a 6% uplift in daily usage. As people’s online habits become ever more fragmented, TNS asserts that brands need to tap into the growing popularity of IM and other emerging platforms. The research shows an increased need for a content-driven approach across IM, social and traditional channels.

Among TNS’ key findings:

  • The US still lags the ‘mobile-first’ markets with 35% of US internet users using IM every day, but is catching up quickly (up 10% compared with 2014).
  • Instant Messaging (IM) is particularly dominant in emerging “mobile-first” markets, with daily usage rising even higher in markets like China (69%), Brazil (73%), and South Africa (64%).
  • Facebook has maintained its position as the world’s favorite social platform; almost one third of global internet users (30%) say they use it every day.
  • Facebook’s dominant position among US internet users is even stronger at 53%, followed by YouTube (26%), Instagram and Twitter.
  • TNS found that although IM users are wary of brands interrupting them, they are more concerned with how content they share impacts their own image.

TNS data reveals that consumers are even more connected to each other, and across multiple platforms. While IM popularity is rising, traditional social media platforms are still holding strong, allowing content to go viral more quickly. The challenge, says TNS, is for brands to create content that consumers actually want to share.

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