Facebook’s decision to split its Messenger app from the main app, though controversial, was a widely successful move for the company. According to comScore’s November 2014 report on smartphone subscriber market share in the United States (published on January 8, 2015), though Facebook’s audience reach has declined, its Messenger app has gained significant audience reach.
Facebook’s Messenger app rose to fifth place among the top 15 smartphone apps for November 2014, emerging from fourteenth place in November 2013. Messenger has doubled its scope with 43.1% of total audience reach, from only 22.1% in November 2013. Although the Facebook app was able to maintain its lead from last year, it saw a 7% decrease. [See Figure 1]
Data was derived from comScore Mobile Metrix, and examined the mobile media consumption habits of U.S. smartphone users aged 18 and older, using both the iOS and Android platforms.
Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced Messenger’s impending split from Facebook Mobile in April 2014, explaining that users will soon be required to download Messenger as a standalone app and use it whenever they need to chat using their mobile phones. The split officially happened in August of the same year, amidst signs of discontent from some users.
“The reason why we’re doing that is we found that having it as a second-class thing inside the Facebook app makes it so there’s more friction to replying to messages, so we would rather have people be using a more focused experience for that,” Zuckerberg said in an interview with TechCrunch (@TechCrunch).
Just three months after the split, Facebook announced that Messenger had achieved a new milestone by reaching more than 500 million monthly active users. The social media giant said that while it was an “exciting milestone,” reaching the half billion mark was also a “reminder that there is so much left for [them] to do.”
Meanwhile, Facebook-owned photo sharing app Instagram also emerged as one of the leading apps in the comScore report, landing on the ninth spot with 30.7% audience reach.
In spite the increase in Messenger’s audience share, should Facebook be concerned about the decline of its main app’s reach?
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