BlackBerry’s BBM Surprises With User Engagement Numbers


While BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) has lost most of its relevance for the vast majority of smartphone users, or at least those unconcerned with the NSA’s spying tactics, the Waterloo, Ontario-based company has recovered some of this lost relevance through the introduction of cross-platform releases of its iconic messenger app to both iOS and Android.

BlackBerry's BBM Surprises With User Engagement Numbers

When it was released in late September, some twenty million people downloaded the application in the first week of its release. While some of these downloads were simply made out of curiosity followed by the app’s immediate removal from handsets, the numbers are showing that this is not par for the course.

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BBM user engagement surges

In new Android data provided exclusively to BGR by research firm Mobidia, BlackBerry has pulled off something of a coup my matching a number of its competitors in weekly engagement. Weekly engagement is a key metric, and BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) has done well given the limited time the app has been available to Android handset owners. Engagement comes with a network of contacts, games, and stickers that BBM doesn’t offer unlike Kik and LINE.

For the week of October 20th, BBM’s engagement saw 40 minutes in the United States. This number nearly doubles that of Tango and Tango not only has 130 million users, but has offered games since earlier this year.

This also means that BBM is just shy of the 44-minute engagement that Viber has achieved and BBM has yet to really roll out its new content strategy that the company expects great things from. Kik is still king among teens, and teens spend heaps of time on their smartphones. Heaps in this case is 106 minutes of weekly engagement for the average user.

BBM is also beating out LINE

BBM is also beating out LINE in major European markets. European users of BBM are averaging an engagement of 59 minutes compared to LINE’s paltry 39. This follows an aggressive targeting of European customers over the last year by LINE before it lists on the Toyko exchange. While LINE is expected to be a big listing in Asia, this does not bode well. That said, the average European engagement on its messaging powerhouse, WhatsApp, beat out BBM by over an hour with a weekly level of 160 minutes.

There appears to be a genuine interest in BBM if these numbers hold the weight they appear to rather than reflecting an act of charity for the failing smartphone producer. While no one is buying their phones, BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) should be buoyed by these metric measurements.