Kik -- the messaging app popular among young users -- just added a group video-calling feature.
“The new feature includes one-on-one and group chats of up to six people while also providing the ability for users to send real-time content, like emojis, messages, photos, and GIFs,” a company spokeswoman said on Monday.
At present, about 300 million Kik users are already chatting with friends and bots via text.
The move is a no-brainer, considering the rising popularity of video messaging. Rival app Houseparty just raised another $50 million, while, this summer, Japanese messaging startup Line Corp. achieved one of the biggest IPOs of the year.
Web giants like Facebook are also racing to bolster their respective messaging services. To that end, Facebook added a split-screen group video chat feature to Messenger, on Monday.
It is looking like the market will have room for more than one
messaging app. In fact, by 2019, more than one-quarter of the world’s population will be using mobile messaging apps, per a recent prediction from eMarketer.
This year, mobile phone messaging apps will be used by more than 1.4 billion people -- an increase of nearly 16%, year-over-year.
What explains the popularity of the apps? “One reason mobile messaging apps have taken off is because they are a cheaper alternative to SMS/MMS,” Cathy Boyle, principal analyst at eMarketer, noted in a report.
What does the trend mean for marketers? “Brand marketers are eager to follow consumers to these apps, but injecting themselves into users’ conversations is not easy — and it’s often unwelcome,” according to Boyle.
“However, the expansion of messaging apps into platforms that include chat bots and editorial content is providing marketers with more natural places to engage messaging app users,” Boyle added.