Battle of the Apps - WhatsApp vs. Messenger

Owen Hanks

Battle of the messaging apps. WhatsApp wins but you may be surprised why

In this instalment of the Battle of the Apps, we are looking at engagement and how WhatsApp and Messenger compare. Our mobile devices have become less of a phone and more of a messaging device and increasingly we see these apps as some of the most used on a regular basis.

In previous posts we covered how we approach active engagement which includes more than just downloads. Looking at the number of active users on a weekly basis, the number of active hours an app is utilized, and even the number of notifications per week.

Using our Retro data collection technology, we had thousands of individuals share their actual app usage to provide some compelling insights. This is the same data that powered our MobileLife report.

Across a group of individuals aged 18-25, what is interesting when comparing these two messaging apps is that while Messenger in the US has a greater number of active weekly users (37% vs 18%), in the UK things are quite different where 74% of users on iOS actively use WhatsApp and 59% using Messenger. This may be reflected due to the overall Facebook numbers in the UK as well.

The amount of active usage is rather similar with 1.7 hours and 1.3 hours per week in the US, though WhatsApp does squeeze in a few more notifications on a weekly basis. With the number of OS related notification limitations, these few more may indeed be a significant reflection of how these two apps are used and perceived.

For these reasons, we believe WhatsApp deserves the win in this battle. Do you agree?


Interested in this data? We have tons more. Head over and check out our Retro Storefront, explore this Retro data in detail, or check out more findings in our MobileLife report.