Facebook Messenger Surpasses 1 Billion Users

(Photo: Eric Risberg, Associated Press)
(Photo: Eric Risberg, Associated Press)

Messenger, Facebook’s homegrown messaging app, has joined the 1 billion users club, achieving what is still a rare feat in the technology world.

Reaching such a large slice of the world’s population “is a bit like hitting the lottery,” says technology analyst Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group. “The odds really aren’t in your favor.”

But they are increasingly in favor of Facebook, which now has three apps with more than 1 billion monthly active users, and Google, which has seven, most recently Gmail.

That track record of making must-use apps is all the more remarkable because people routinely use only a handful of apps on their mobile devices. Facebook and Google, as today’s dominant digital companies with reach around the world, have the best shot at crossing the 1-billion-users threshold. Still, they must create the kinds of experiences that consumers crave.

“Facebook and Google are running the show when it comes to making mobile apps that people want to download,” says eMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson. “What they offer are apps that you want to use again and again and, quite frankly, that you need to use again and again. Very few apps can offer that.”

Having 1 billion people use your app each month is worth its weight in gold when it comes to the business of making money on mobile devices. Just ask Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who famously paid a staggering $19 billion for WhatsApp in February 2014. His reasoning: The popular messaging service was on track to reach 1 billion users. Two years later, it did. Facebook typically does not try to generate revenue from a service until it reaches the 1 billion-user threshold, according to Zuckerberg.

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