In terms of messaging apps, that’s sort of a middle ground. Some of the bigger players like Whatsapp tout a robust 700 million users. Still, at 200 million, Kik may be rivaling Snapchat, which is reported to be nearing as many users.
Livingston doesn’t think the number of monthly active users is reflective of the success of his service. He says Kik users spend on average 35 minutes in the app per session, according to a study he commissioned. That’s very close to Facebook’s average of 37 minutes. He also cites a BI Intelligence article that says Kik users spend on average 97 minutes a week in the app, surpassing both Snapchat and Viber, whose users spend about 40 minutes a week in each app.
While the founder is happy with the amount of time users are spending in the app, his next step is to push users to spend almost 40 minutes there on average.
With Snapchat’s launch of Discover pivoting the company into a distribution channel for content, there is certainly room for Kik to grow as a messenger for the masses. However, Whatsapp currently holds that post.
Livingston has said in past interviews with VentureBeat that he’s not concerned with Whatsapp’s large user base. He says that where Whatsapp offers a straightforward messaging app, Kik has a whole platform surrounding its messenger that gives users more than just a chat with a friend. The app gives users access to some of their other mobile apps within Kik, so they never have to leave. While Kik does offer more, there is something to be said for usability, which Whatsapp has in spades.
In order to move the app forward, Livingston will have to find a happy medium between building a robust platform and giving people the basic functionality they want.