As conversational marketing rises in popularity, businesses looking to engage with consumers and form genuine connections with them are going to have to start meeting them and communicating with them where they’re at: messaging apps.

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Top messaging apps in the world by number of users

According to the latest data, as of 2023, WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in the world, with 2 billion monthly active users. 

The chat app’s user base has been growing quickly and consistently over the years. In fact, in 2016, there were 1 million WhatsApp users, half of what there are now.

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The large majority of WhatsApp users are located in India. This is followed by Brazil, Indonesia, the United States, and Russia.

After WhatsApp, the second-most used messaging app is WeChat, more commonly known as Weixin in China. It has 1.3 billion active users globally, about two-thirds of WhatsApp’s. WeChat users are also predominantly located in China. Nevertheless, an increasing number of businesses based outside of China are starting to sign up for the app. That’s because Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are hard to access in China, which makes WeChat a much more efficient way to reach the massive Chinese market.

Not only are WhatsApp and WeChat the most popular messaging apps in the world, but they’re also the only ones with more than one billion monthly active users.

The third-most popular messaging app in the world is Facebook Messenger. Worldwide, there are 931 million Facebook Messenger users. Incidentally, both WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are owned by the same company, Meta (formerly known as Facebook). 

The three most popular messaging apps worldwide have a pretty strong lead over their competitors. The fourth-most used messaging app is Telegram, with 700 million users. The cloud-based chat app has seen its user base grow steadily in recent years. Telegram saw an influx of 70 million new users in October 2021, on the day Facebook suffered an outage that affected both Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

Fifth on the list of the top messaging apps worldwide is Snapchat, with 635 million users. 

Last but not least, QQ is the sixth-most popular messaging app in the world, with 574 million users. Both WeChat and QQ are owned by Chinese tech firm Tencent, referred to as “China’s Facebook” by some market analysts.

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