Global Messaging Apps 2019

What’s Up with WhatsApp Status Ads and Other Opportunities for Marketers

Executive Summary

It’s official: WhatsApp Status ads are coming, likely sometime in 2020. Though paid ads are just one piece of the puzzle for companies when connecting with customers on WhatsApp, it’s a major change for the chat app, which has so far remained ad-free.

How many mobile messaging app users are there worldwide?

We forecast that the number of mobile messaging app users worldwide will reach 2.52 billion in 2019. Next year, that figure will have surpassed the number of mobile phone social network users, though there will be some overlap between the two groups. WhatsApp will drive much of the growth in total mobile messaging app users.

What are the leading markets for WhatsApp?

With 340.0 million WhatsApp users in 2019, India is WhatsApp’s largest market in absolute terms, followed by Brazil and the US. In terms of user penetration among smartphone users, Brazil, Argentina and India are the top three markets, where more than 90% of smartphone users in each country will use WhatsApp this year.

How can marketers use WhatsApp to reach their customers?

WhatsApp’s Business app and Business API provide companies with tools to communicate more effectively and efficiently with their customers. Business messaging on WhatsApp is currently centered around two main customer touchpoints: nonpromotional information and customer care.

How do advertisers feel about WhatsApp Status ads?

For the most part, advertisers view Status ads as an extension of Stories ads on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, and separate from WhatsApp’s more private messaging feature. That said, questions remain about data privacy and ad targeting, particularly as Facebook takes steps to integrate its messaging properties.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report provides an overview of the global mobile messaging app market, with a focus on WhatsApp. It dives into current opportunities for businesses on WhatsApp as well as the upcoming launch of Status ads and best practices for brands.

KEY STAT: In 2019, we expect 2.52 billion people worldwide, or 87.1% of smartphone users, will use a mobile messaging app at least once per month.

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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. The Global Mobile Messaging Landscape
  3. WhatsApp Users Worldwide
  4. Business Messaging 101
  1. WhatsApp Status Ads: Coming in 2020
  2. Status Ads and Privacy
  3. Best Practices for WhatsApp Status Ads
  4. Key Takeaways
  1. eMarketer Interviews
  2. Read Next
  3. Sources
  4. Media Gallery

Charts in This Report

Interviewed for This Report

Melanie Cohn
Dunkin’ Brands
Senior Manager, Brand Engagement
Interviewed August 20, 2019
Liz Cole
Digitas North America
Vice President and Group Director, Social Strategy
Interviewed August 12, 2019
Cristina Constandache
Rakuten Viber
Chief Revenue Officer
Interviewed August 14, 2019
Akvile DeFazio
AKvertise, Inc.
Interviewed August 9, 2019
Adhvith Dhuddu
Founder and CEO
Interviewed August 14, 2019
Yash Kotak
CEO and Co-Founder
Interviewed August 2, 2019
John McCrea
Interviewed August 14, 2019
Chelsea McDonald
DEG, Linked by Isobar
Senior Social Media Strategist
Interviewed August 8, 2019
Erika Sheridan
Schafer Condon Carter
Executive Director, SCC Media
Interviewed August 12, 2019
Tommy Torjesen
Interviewed August 6, 2019
Samuel Tran
Director, Email Marketing
Interviewed August 12, 2019
Joe Yakuel
Agency Within
Founder and CEO
Interviewed August 9, 2019

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Jasmine Enberg


Nazmul Islam
Junior Forecasting Analyst
Lucy Koch
Junior Analyst
Cindy Liu
Senior Forecasting Analyst
Oscar Orozco
Senior Forecasting Analyst
Debra Aho Williamson
Principal Analyst
Yoram Wurmser
Principal Analyst

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