According to the Forbes author Kathleen ChaykowskiFacebook Messenger now has more than 1.2 billion users.
Messenger’s user growth has skyrocketed since Facebook spun out the messaging service as a standalone app in 2014. Facebook has since bolstered Messenger with games, a chat bot platform, voice calling, video calling and a revamped camera with masks, frames, stickers and effects. Facebook said in February that 400 million people use voice and video calling on Messenger every month, and 1 billion messages are sent between people and businesses every month.
Messenger now has as many users as Facebook-owned WhatsApp, which reached 1.2 billion monthly users in February. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in February that in general, WhatsApp serves as a replacement for SMS services, whereas Messenger aims to be a more “expressive and rich environment” with a broad range of content. Across both apps, more than 60 billion messages are sent every day, said Zuckerberg, noting that he is “confident” this metric will keep growing. Facebook’s flagship app has nearly 2 billion monthly users, and Instagram has 600 million monthly users.
“Day,” a version of the popular “stories” format, allows users to share photo
This year, Messenger added a new feature called “Day,” a version of the popular “stories” format, which allows users to share photo and video clips in a chain that can be viewed for 24 hours. Last week, Messenger launched a series of integrations with “M,” Facebook’s virtual assistant tool, for users in the U.S. The assistant can now pop into open conversations in Messenger to suggest relevant content, coordinate plans and payments, recommend stickers or suggest calling a ride on Uber or Lyft, among other actions. Messenger has also added a group payments tool, building on the peer-to-peer service the app first launched in 2015.
“We’re grateful that you continue to use Messenger to stay in touch with the people and businesses that matter to you most,” Facebook said in a post on Wednesday. “We can’t wait to share what we have in store next.”
Glean substantial revenue from Messenger or WhatsApp
Facebook been testing advertisements and buy buttons in Messenger, but has yet to glean substantial revenue from Messenger or WhatsApp. The standalone apps could, however, become major revenue sources for the social network over time.
“When you think about ads in Messenger, we’re really focused on consumer growth and engagement because we know that over time that creates monetization opportunities,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said in a conference call with investors in February. “We’re seeing a lot of organic connections between businesses and consumers.”