WhatsApp has been one of the most successful messaging services in the last year with over 700 million active monthly users, however another messaging service is ready to drive its way into the lead after revenue of approximately £436million last year alone made it the biggest revenue generator on both Apple iOS and Google Android outside of the games category. This rapidly growing messaging app is called Line.
Unlike WhatsApp and other messaging apps, the £436million revenue wasn’t made through advertising. In fact, last year WhatsApp had 1/20th of Line’s revenue and this was through hosting adverts within its app, with a revenue of only £11million in its first half of the year. Half of Line’s revenue comes from hundreds of labelled Line Games such as Line Rangers, with 1/3rd coming from sticker sales alone. The final 1/6th of revenue then comes from B2B activities.
Line has over 181million active users around the world with Asia currently being the location with the greatest number of users. Spain was the first country in the EU to receive line, with it now hosting over 30million monthly active users alone. Although it hasn’t made the biggest entrance to the UK just yet, it is expected to surpass WhatsApp and the Chinese rival WeChat in active monthly users despite already exceeding their revenue multiple times over.
Line has found its biggest niche in stickers, where a user can easily create, buy and sell their own stickers to use in their chats. This contributes massively to the average revenue per user of $3.56 compared to that of WhatsApp which is $0.02. These revenues are through stickers, games and B2B whereas WhatsApp uses a subscription based model and advertising to bring in money from their users. Line vows to never bring subscription based models to its apps nor will it use adverts, content marketing or native content.
The newest revenue makers for line are Line Pay and Line Taxi, with Line taxi being their very own Asian competitor to Uber. Official accounts have also been added to Line for B2B, where SMB’s can pay for an official and advertised account that helps customers message them and learn more about them through line. There are currently already 2 major UK companies with Line official accounts, including Manchester United and Chelsea.
The next steps for line include a free video calling service similar to that of Skype where calls to landlines cost a small fee, as well as building up Line Connect where it is easier to communicate with businesses via Line. A PC app is also being developed, with the intentions to bring even more UK SMB’s on board.