The 5 Best Messaging Apps for Marketing in 2024

Messaging apps have evolved into full-fledged digital platforms reaching billions of users worldwide. According to eMarketer, the global number of messaging app users will reach 3.6 billion by 2024 – nearly half the world‘s population. For brands, these apps represent an unparalleled opportunity to meet customers where they are and build personalized, contextual experiences at scale.

But messaging apps aren‘t one-size-fits-all. Each major player has distinct strengths, features and user bases requiring tailored strategies. In this article, we‘ll dive deep into the top five messaging apps for marketing in 2024, providing data-driven insights and real-world examples to help you harness their power.

1. WhatsApp

With over 2 billion active users worldwide, WhatsApp is the undisputed king of messaging apps. It‘s the most widely used app in 112 countries, according to SimilarWeb‘s 2020 analysis. WhatsApp dominates in emerging markets like India, Brazil, Mexico and Indonesia, making it essential for global brands.

Key Stats

  • 2 billion monthly active users worldwide
  • 100 billion messages sent daily
  • 98% open rate and 45-60% click-through rate for WhatsApp Business messages
  • Average user checks app 23 times per day

Top Features for Marketers

  • WhatsApp Business API for chatbots, notifications and user initiated conversations
  • Catalogs and collections to showcase products
  • Verification badges to establish brand trust
  • End-to-end shopping and payment via Facebook Shops integration

Mini Case Study

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines uses WhatsApp to provide fliers real-time updates on flight status, boarding passes, and airport info. During the pandemic, the airline also used WhatsApp to handle rebookings and cancellations, resolving over 100,000 customer inquiries.

2. Facebook Messenger

Facebook‘s messaging app is a close second to WhatsApp with over 1.3 billion users. Its strength is the robust Messenger Platform, which offers an array of tools for building interactive chatbots, automating FAQs, facilitating transactions, and integrating with core business systems.

Key Stats

  • 1.3 billion monthly active users worldwide
  • 20 billion messages sent between brands and users monthly
  • 56% of users would rather message a business than call
  • 2 min average response time vs. 11 hours for email

Top Features for Marketers

  • Messenger API for Instagram to manage chats across apps
  • Lead generation and appointment booking templates
  • Sponsored messages for targeted outreach and retargeting
  • AR effects and mini-games for interactive experiences

Mini Case Study

Sephora‘s Messenger chatbot offers personalized beauty advice, how-to guides and product recommendations based on short quizzes. Users can book makeovers at nearby stores, watch tutorial videos, read ratings and reviews, and add items to their carts. The experience feels like messaging a knowledgeable friend.

3. WeChat

Often called a "super-app", WeChat is central to digital life in China. It‘s far more than a basic messaging tool, with built-in features for social networking, mobile payments, e-commerce, news, entertainment and everyday services like booking doctor‘s appointments or hailing a taxi.

Key Stats

  • 1.29 billion monthly active users, mostly in China
  • 780 million daily active users
  • 72% use WeChat for purchases and 40% for daily payments
  • Average user spends 82 minutes per day in-app

Top Features for Marketers

  • Official Accounts for content marketing and customer service
  • Mini Programs (sub-apps) for games, services and e-commerce
  • Moments ads and precision targeting via behavioral and social data
  • WeChat Pay for frictionless in-app purchasing

Mini Case Study

Luxury brand Cartier launched a WeChat Mini Program for its pop-up exhibition in Shanghai. Users could virtually try on exclusive products, learn about Cartier‘s history, and buy limited-edition items via WeChat Pay. The experience attracted over 200,000 visitors and sold out items within a week.

4. Snapchat

Snapchat remains a major player, particularly among younger users, with its playful and creative features like augmented reality lenses, Bitmoji avatars and ephemeral content. 300+ million people use Snapchat daily, generating over 5 billion Snaps.

Key Stats

  • 300+ million DAUs worldwide
  • 75% of users engage with AR daily
  • 62% of US users are under 30
  • 35% of US users shop on Snapchat

Top Features for Marketers

  • Sponsored lenses and filters for immersive branding
  • Collection ads with AR try-on and integrated commerce
  • Dynamic product ads from uploaded catalogs
  • Story ads with custom branded tiles in user Discover feeds

Mini Case Study

To launch its new Impossible Whopper, Burger King partnered with Snap on an AR portal lens effect. Users could "burn" competitor ads to reveal a coupon for a free sandwich. The lens reached over 20 million users and achieved an average play time of 24 seconds – the highest ever for a Snap brand lens.

5. Telegram

Telegram has emerged as a major messaging force, reaching over 500 million active users in 2021. Its open-source architecture, robust privacy features and group chat tools have made it popular for personal and business use cases.

Key Stats

  • 500+ million monthly active users worldwide
  • Users in 200+ countries, with strong adoption in Europe/Asia
  • 50+ million daily active users
  • Up to 200K members per group and unlimited channel subscribers

Top Features for Marketers

  • Bot platform with tools for e-commerce, games and services
  • Channels for broadcasting to unlimited subscribers
  • Robust privacy with server-client encryption and self-destructing messages
  • Seamless sync and file-sharing across devices

Mini Case Study

Online marketplace AliExpress uses Telegram as a complement to its website and app. Customers can search products, track orders, get automated support and access exclusive deals via the AliExpress Telegram channel and bot – creating an end-to-end experience within the messaging UI.

Putting the Pieces Together

So which messaging apps should you prioritize for your brand? The answer depends on your goals, target audience and geographic focus.

Generally, WhatsApp and Messenger are smart bets for their sheer scale and feature richness. If you‘re targeting youth, Snapchat is a strong choice. For brands in China, WeChat is table stakes. And Telegram is worth testing for its highly engaged user base and open platform.

The most successful messaging strategies balance reach and relevance. Start by analyzing your audience‘s app preferences and behaviors. Then craft experiences that feel native to each platform by taking full advantage of APIs and developer tools.

Messaging is inherently conversational and one-to-one, so be helpful and human in your approach. Use chatbots and automation to scale responsiveness while preserving the personal touch. Take advantage of rich features like audio, video, AR and payments to deliver real utility and value.

Finally, see messaging apps as an opportunity to shift from one-off campaigns to always-on experiences. By becoming a trusted messaging partner, you can transform customers into loyal advocates and communities.

The future of marketing is conversational – and it‘s already happening inside the messaging apps your customers use every day. With the right strategy and a test-and-learn mindset, your brand can join the conversation and unlock incredible value. As messaging apps continue to add users and features at a breathtaking pace, that opportunity will only grow.