messaging or social messaging applications or chat applications are instant messaging or mobile messaging clients that are built around social networking platforms. Some examples of popular social messaging include BlackBerry Messenger, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, KakaoTalk, Line, WeChat, and WhatsApp.
Chat applications are topping the iOS and Android most downloaded applications lists. More and more people are upgrading from feature phones to smartphones accelerating the move from traditional calling and SMS to social messaging, to become the dominant way of staying in touch on the phone, because it is generally cheaper to send IM messages via social messaging than to send SMS, not limited to the 140-character limit of SMS, and they have more features than regular texting.
Among other features such as text chat, group chat, message notifications, status updates, and media sharing, one specific aspect of social messaging platforms that made it popular was the usage of stickers or little rich images to depict mood and convey messages in non-verbal format.
Another feature of social messaging are in-app services / utilities, such as sticker camera, social games, other virtual items, business accounts and its integration with other devices, such as vending machines. Some messaging app such as Telegram, Wickr, and SnapChat also allow messages to be self-destruct.
With more than 100 applications in the market, Ovum, a mobile communications research firm, predicted that social messaging will continue to grow as 3G penetration increases and data rates drop. Mobile phone spam is also one factor that contributing to the downtrend in SMS usage in some countries like India.