Chart of the Week: RIP, AIM – the Legacy of Messaging Apps
This week, AOL is pulling the plug on Instant Messenger (AIM), its iconic messaging service that was originally launched in 1997. Over the past two decades, AIM has arguably shaped the look, feel, and functionality of subsequent chat and messaging apps, and had a clear influence on some of today’s biggest social media and communications tools, from MySpace to Facebook. On the eve of AIM’s sunset, Verto Analytics takes a look at today’s top messaging properties (apps, sites, and services) among U.S. adults (those ages 18 and above).
What are today’s top messaging apps and services?
While AIM might have been the dominant (if not one of the only) chat service in the U.S. twenty years ago, today’s landscape is significantly more crowded, with carrier-, device- and operating system-specific offerings along with those from tech giants like Facebook and Microsoft and smaller startups like Kik. Verto Analytics data shows that Facebook Messenger is the most popular messaging property based on monthly user numbers: in October 2017, it claimed 113.5 million users, or nearly a 53% reach of the online population. Google Hangouts is in second place, with nearly 81 million monthly users reported in October, while Millennial favorite Snapchat reported just over 47 million monthly users.
Interestingly, none of the top five messaging properties on our chart are owned by Oath, the telecommunications behemoth that now owns AOL as well as Yahoo and other digital content properties. Instead, Microsoft-owned Skype and Facebook-owned WhatsApp round out our list.