In the spirit of March Madness (Go URI!), we decided to take a look at the hot space of messenger apps in bracket form. We talk a lot about downloads and active users but frequency of use, or how sticky an app is, is equally important. Before you feast your eyes on our beautiful engagement data below, let me set the stage for you.

First off, the engagement percentages displayed below are created by dividing the DAU by the MAU. You can read the footer of the bracket to understand seeding, timeframe and more. We grouped similar apps together within the four section of the bracket:

  1. Top left are legacy chat apps that continue building in new features they like from smaller, niche players.
  2. Bottom left are mostly newer group video apps.
  3. Top right are security focused apps.
  4. Bottom right are mostly phone substitutions but they have built in other features and are often used in a professional setting.

Apptopia March Appness 2017.png

I know the bracket is hard to see when it's not blown up to full size so please feel free to download the raw image file here.

What are seeing and what surprised us?

As you can see, WhatsApp has the highest frequency of use across all of the 32 included apps. WhatsApp users are opening the app up every 1.8 days on average. What our bracket does not tell you is the breakdown between the Android and iOS version. For example, WhatsApp’s engagement rate on Android is immensely higher than it is on iOS.

Something else interesting to note is that on average, security focused apps are seeing a higher frequency of use than the legacy chat apps (with the exclusion of WhatsApp + Messenger). This could be due to consumers growing more concerned about hacking and government surveillance. Dust, the secure Mark Cuban backed app (disclosure - Mark Cuban is also an investor in Apptopia but we have not altered the data in any way) won a trip to the final four even though it is one of the less downloaded security chat apps.

If you would like to request more data on any of these apps or are interested in app and/or SDK data in general, please create a free account at or request a demo for a 1 on 1 consultation.


AuthorAdam Blacker

VP, Insights