Facebook announced its Messenger app’s monthly active user numbers grew from 1 billion in July 2016 to 1.2 billion today, as it added new functionalities to the platform.
“We increased engagement massively in terms of number of messages sent per active user. We had double-digit growth percentage-wise” Facebook’s head of Messenger David Marcus told TechCrunch.
According to Sensor Tower, iOS and Android downloads of Facebook Messenger grew from 145.3 million in Q1 2016 to 153.5 million in Q1 2017.
Last week, Facebook introduced M in the US, an artificial intelligence-powered assistant for Messenger, which suggests relevant content “by popping into an open conversation… to enrich the way people communicate”.
Earlier this week, it said Android and desktop Messenger users can send or receive money between groups of people, extending functionaly available since 2015 allowing transfers between two people.
As for how the app will make revenue for the social media giant, Marcus told Recode recently it will not take cuts of payments. “The one thing we traditionally do, and is a decent business for us, is advertising. So we’ll continue focusing on that,” he said.
In January the company said it was launching a small test in Australia and Thailand enabling businesses to place ads on the Messenger home screen.
TechCrunch had critised these at the same, saying they take up a lot of screen space on the homescreen, making Messenger less user-friendly.
However, the strategy makes sense taking into considertation the fact that in Q4 2016 almost all of Facebook’s $8.8 billion revenue came from ads, with mobile comprising 84 per cent of total advertising revenue.
Meanwhile, Facebook made $753 million from payments in 2016 – mostly related to desktop games -, which was less than 3 per cent of its total revenue. Its payments business in 2016 was down by 11 per cent year-on-year.