It states that despite accounting for 75% of the traffic, or 63 trillion messages, by 2018, IM (Instant Messaging) apps will only generate 2% of the mobile messaging market’s revenue, at just over $3 billion.
The report – Mobile Messaging Markets: IM, Social, SMS, MMS, Email, RCS/RCS-e 2014-2018 – 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 which could be contained in 1 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.
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.”
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. Indeed, some apps, such as Facebook Messenger, are loss leaders, and only serve to increase engagement with a companies’ separate revenue generating app.
The report adds that mobile operators are continuing to work on the RCS (Rich Communications Suite) initiative, which has potential to see traction after 2018, although progressing at a slow pace.