Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Inside, the collection of industry newsletters, continues to bet on email, the “largest social network”
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Aug. 19, 2015, 10 a.m.
Mobile & Apps

Messaging and chat apps continue their rise in popularity, especially among young people

“The results in this report reflect the noteworthy and rapid emergence of different kinds of communications tools serving different social needs. These new tools add to an already complex and varied terrain of online and mobile interaction.”

Publishers are increasingly looking to messaging apps like Snapchat and WhatsApp as a way to deliver news to young, smartphone-dependent audiences. And these apps have become popular enough that, starting this year, the Pew Research Center has begun breaking out their usage as “a separate kind of mobile activity.”

According to a Pew survey conducted this spring and released Wednesday, 36 percent of smartphone owners use messaging apps like WhatsApp, Kik (now valued at $1 billion), while 17 percent of smartphone owners use “apps that automatically delete sent messages” like “Snapchat or Wickr” (but it’s safe to assume most of that use is coming from Snapchat, which now claims at least 100 million users, not the encrypted messaging app Wickr).

Not surprisingly, these apps are most popular among a younger crowd: 49 percent of smartphone-owning adults ages 18–29 use messaging apps, Pew found, and 41 percent of that group uses “auto-delete”/ephemeral messaging apps like Snapchat. Still, a significant number of older people use such apps as well; nearly a quarter of smartphone-owning adults ages 50 and over use messaging apps, according to Pew.

pew messaging apps

A couple other bits from the report:

— 15 percent of online adults read or participate in discussion forums like Reddit and Digg, with that audience skewing male and young.

— Pew looked at the growth of several social media platforms and found Instagram and Pinterest growing particularly quickly; they’re used by 28 percent and 31 percent of online adults, respectively. Instagram, in particular, “continues to be popular with non-whites and young adults” and women.

pew research instagram usage

Pew surveyed 1,907 U.S. adults ages 18 and older via phone for this research. The full report is available here.

Photo by Álvaro Ibáñez used under a Creative Commons license.

POSTED     Aug. 19, 2015, 10 a.m.
SEE MORE ON Mobile & Apps
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 45,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Inside, the collection of industry newsletters, continues to bet on email, the “largest social network”
Closing in on a year, the company founded by serial entrepreneur and investor Jason Calacanis now has around 300,000 subscribers across 30 newsletters, and average open rates just above 40 percent.
With Facebook Watch, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram hopes to attract more viewers to local videos
“Watch is appealing because it’s not just about getting as many of those singular people watching, but also developing a community of people intrigued by the content who want to watch together.”
New York City makes the claim that it’s the podcast capital of the world (but is that a good thing?)
Plus: Another daily news podcast — this time from Vox and Midroll, Radiolab controversy, and are there too many celebrity podcasts?