With Daum Kakao’s acquisition of Path last month, there has been quite a bit of speculation about Indonesia, its messaging market, and the key players in a very crowded space.

Indonesians are some of the most active users of messaging and chat apps in the world, with an average of 4.2 messaging apps installed on their smartphones. Messaging apps are also a significant part of their everyday behavior. 97% of mobile users in Indonesia access messaging apps multiple times per day and 39% prefer them as their main channel of mobile communication over SMS, social networking, voice messages, and emails.

However, usage matters more than sheer installs. We looked at the top 10 messenger apps in Indonesia, based on installs and daily active users, and uncovered some interesting data that talks to why some of these apps are dominating a crowded market.

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As BlackBerry growth plummets, BBM use holds steady

All BlackBerry devices come standard with BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), its messaging and chat application, pre-installed on all devices. Historically, BlackBerry held a large chunk of the device market share in Indonesia, making BBM the ubiquitous messaging platform for Indonesians.

But as Indonesians abandon BlackBerry devices for Android, users are continuing to stick with the BBM app for Android. Indonesians are likely still using BBM due to network effects: a large number of their contacts who were once BlackBerry are continuing to use BBM as their primary messaging app, even as they migrated to other devices. Network effects, or the app prevalence amongst a user’s social contacts, is a major factor for why they choose to use one app heavily over others.

Personalization and localization matter

Second to BBM by number of installs and daily active users is LINE, which allows users to exchange chats, images, videos, audio, and Voice over IP messages. One characteristic that sets LINE apart is regional and in-country localization. “What we try to do is to localize and pay attention to detail, optimizing our services for the user’s country,” said LINE Chief Operating Officer Takeshi Idezawa. In Indonesia, LINE personalizes the popular Stickers feature of its app, featuring cartoon figures that appeal to the country’s large Muslim population. During Ramadan, characters were shown celebrating the holiday with fireworks. This sort of personalization for Indonesian users leads to personal connection to the app and make the experience more fun and unique.

Easy connection to community drives usage

WhatsApp is both a consistently downloaded and used messenger app in Indonesia, sitting at number five based on both installs and daily active users. It’s easy for users to connect to the contacts they already have loaded on their devices through WhatsApp. Any existing contact who has a WhatsApp account will automatically appear in a member’s favorites list within the app—no need to enter contacts more than once. This user-friendly feature allows WhatsApp members to stay closely connected to their networks, regardless of what their contacts’ preferred messaging apps may be. WhatsApp lets users to reach a large portion of their social network seamlessly in a single app, likely contributing to the high install and usage rates we observe.

The power of social networks

Growing your user base is a vital step to become a successful messaging app. Users trust their social networks—61% of mCent users in Indonesia report that they downloaded an app because they heard about it through a friend.

mCent leverages these network effects and makes it easy and free for members to try your app and refer your app to their friends. Contact us to learn more about how Jana can use the power of its network to drive growth and trial of your app.

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