When your biggest rival sells to Facebook for $19 billion, then you’re going to seize every opportunity to make some noise of your own, especially if it’s at the expense of the very same company.
Mobile messaging platform Line, a WhatsApp rival that’s very popular in Japan but is also gunning for global growth, has claimed it acquired 2 million new registered users in a 24-hour period after WhatsApp’s recent 210-minute service outage.
“Our growth strategy has always included providing a strong network that can handle unplanned and unexpected increases in network traffic,” said Jeanie Han, CEO of LINE Euro-Americas in a statement replete with implicit criticism of WhatsApp’s platform (presumably) falling over after an influx of new users, following the acquisition news.
“We pride ourselves on providing a safe, secure platform that will always work when our users need it the most,” she added, further indulging the schadenfreude.
Line said the record 2 million sign-ups-in-one-day figure is five times its usual user acquisition rate outside its home region of Asia, and specifically in North America, South America and Europe — which presumably makes the business-as-usual figure for signing up new users across those regions around 400,000 per day.
Line has been on a registered-users growth tear recently, reporting 300 million global registered users back in November and saying it’s targeting 500 million this year. The latest registered users figure is 360 million; however it’s worth noting that none of these numbers refers to monthly active users — a figure Line has never officially confirmed.
Line rival WhatsApp does report active users — announcing just this week it’s hit 465 million monthly actives (and 330M daily active users). Yesterday, WhatsApp’s new parent, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, told the audience at his Mobile World Congress keynote that he’s confident the service is on a course to reach a billion active users, as Facebook did — and as very few other online services ever have.
Line has never officially broken out a MAU figure but common sense says it will be substantially lower than its 360 million registered users figure. Bottom line: app downloads (and even app registrations) ≠ equal active app users.
Line is not the only messaging app to be benefitting from a WhatsApp-related boost. Mobile messaging app Telegram, for instance, saw its user acquisition rate spike 3x after WhatsApp’s Facebook acquisition was announced – propelling it to the top of the App Store rankings and bringing it some 8 million new users in a handful of days.
In that instance the growth was presumably related to mistrust of Facebook or to WhatsApp selling to a larger company, rather than irritation at a lengthy service outage. But the WhatsApp outage that benefitted Line was likely linked to its raised profile, post-Facebook acquisition, so all these service spikes for other mobile messaging apps can be traced back to Zuck’s big spending.