Monday, December 1, 2014

Social networking sites losing out to mobile messaging apps

This February, 2014 photo shows the WhatsApp and Facebook app icons on an iPhone in New York.

Growing usage of instant messaging apps such as WeChat and Whatsapp to communicate with friends is driving users away from social networking sites such as Facebook. According to GlobalWebIndex (GWI) Research while 83 per cent Internet users globally had Facebook accounts, only 47 per cent were actively using the website. Likewise, 62 per cent of internet users have an account on Google+, however, only 23 per cent are active users.
“Mobile messaging tools like WeChat and WhatsApp have seen substantial growth during recent period. Social networks are being treated more passively, meaning the number of people messaging friends on social networks in now declined. People see mobile messaging apps as an efficient way to communicate,” explained GlobalWebIndex Head of Trends Jason Mander.
GWI on Thursday released a survey in which about 42,000 respondents in the Asia Pacific region participated, including 5,000 respondents in India, during the year.
In India, 93 per cent said they had a Facebook account but only 48 per cent had active usage. Also, the number of global users using Facebook to message a friend has continued to decline from 512 million in Q1 2013 to 402 million in Q4 2013 to 313 million in Q3 2014.
About 28 per cent of respondents from India said they “logged in to see what's happening without posting/commenting on anything myself” on Facebook, Twitter (23 per cent) and Google+ (21 per cent).
At the same time, number of people using mobile messaging services has increased from 446 million in Q1 2013 to 538 million in Q4 2013 and 616 million in Q3 2014.
Respondents said they were not interested in using Facebook like before, they were bored or generally spending less time on social networks as top reasons for using the world's largest social networking lesser.
According to GWI, the top reasons for this surge in usage includes messaging apps being free (45 per cent), being quicker than using social networks or text messages to speak to people (41 per cent) and lots of friends using them (41 per cent).
In Asia Pacific, WeChat was the dominant messaging app (337 million), WhatsApp led the pack in India. “In the last year, the Indian mobile messaging audience grew by 113 per cent, we expect the number of mobile messaging users to continue to grow in the coming quarters,” Mr. Mander said.

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