Messaging Apps and Marketing 2018

Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and RCS Help Brands Connect with Customers

Executive Summary

With the number of US mobile messaging app users on the rise, these chat apps have emerged as an important marketing channel. More than half of internet users in the country are using apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and the new texting standard RCS (Rich Communication Services). At the same time, marketers are still figuring out the best methods to employ when using this personalized connection.

How many mobile messaging app users are there in the US?

The number of US mobile messaging app users will reach 149.8 million in 2018, with that figure growing to 171.3 million by 2022, according to our estimates. The percentage of the US population using a messaging app will be 45.5% this year; by 2022 more than half of residents will use an app.

How many people in the US use Facebook Messenger?

Facebook Messenger remains the most popular messaging app in the country, with an expected 126.3 million users in 2018. That figure will swell to 138.1 million by 2022. This year, 38.4% of the US population will use Facebook Messenger; by 2022, 40.7% will do so.

How can marketers use Facebook Messenger?

Facebook Messenger now offers a few types of advertising, including display ads in the Messenger inbox, sponsored messages that can be sent by businesses, and click-to-Messenger ads that direct users from Facebook and Instagram to the platform. Messenger also offers a host of customer relations tools, and lets firms turn to chatbots to automate user interactions.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report provides an overview of the state of mobile messaging in the US, focusing on Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. It also examines the new texting standard RCS, which will add many features unavailable on SMS.

Here’s what’s in the full report


Exportable files for easy reading, analysis and sharing.


Reliable data in simple displays for presentations and quick decision making.

11expert perspectives

Insights from industry and company leaders.

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. The Message Is the Medium
  3. Facebook Messenger Remains Dominant
  4. Facebook Messenger Advertising: Still in Early Innings
  1. Chatbots Steam Ahead
  2. WhatsApp Ramps Up Business Offerings
  3. Rich Communication Services: Next-Level Texting
  4. Key Takeaways
  1. eMarketer Interviews
  2. Read Next
  3. Sources
  4. Media Gallery

Charts in This Report

Interviewed for This Report

Liz Cole
Vice President and Group Director, Social Strategy
Interviewed August 15, 2018
John Duffy
CEO and Founder
Interviewed August 10, 2018
John Keefe
Bot Developer and Product Manager
Interviewed August 8, 2018
Hussein Fazal
CEO and Co-Founder
Interviewed August 6, 2018
Mary Jane Feigenbutz
Sprout Social
Senior Product Manager
Interviewed August 13, 2018
Ted Helwick
Director, Product and Messenger Business
Interviewed August 21, 2018
Bridget Jewell
Social Creative Director
Interviewed August 10, 2018
Caroline Klatt
Headliner Labs
CEO and Co-Founder
Interviewed August 9, 2018
Ken Kunz
Vice President, Product Experience
Interviewed August 18, 2018
Jack Philbin
CEO and Co-Founder
Interviewed August 18, 2018
Amit Agarwal
Product Manager
Interviewed August 15, 2018


Rahul Chadha


Caroline Cakebread
Junior Analyst
Chris Keating
Research Director
Natalie McGranahan
Senior Researcher and Taxonomy Manager
Yoram Wurmser
Principal Analyst

"Behind the Numbers" Podcast