WhatsApp Lite Voice Call Feature Boosts Engagement in Countries with Limited Data Plans

WhatsApp Lite Voice Call Feature Boosts Engagement in Countries with Limited Data Plans

In a previous post, we talked about WhatsApp and their lite version update (v2.12.194), which included Google Drive Backups and the option for users to enable a low data usage voice call feature. Since the release of v2.12.194, WhatsApp has released numerous low data application versions in order to relieve users of high data consumption and improve engagement among users in regions where mobile data is not readily available.

For this study, we’ll compare the data usage and engagement of WhatsApp’s latest low-data Android v2.12.250 to WhatsApp’s pre-lite versions in order to see how it affects user engagement in countries with limited data plans such as India, Italy, and Malaysia. In the chart below, the average mobile data usage threshold in the United States is much higher than in India, Malaysia, and Italy. These data consumption differences may explain WhatsApp’s lowered app engagement in pre-lite versions.

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WhatsApp Data Usage Comparison

For the globally popular cross-platform messaging app, a substatial portion of data exhaustion comes from the voice calls. As expected, by providing users with the ability to enable a low data voice call option, users were able to optimize their WhatsApp data usage. WhatsApp pre-lite versions drained a higher amount of data than the current version, with users experiencing a decline in mobile data usage across all three countries. Users in India, Italy, and Malaysia were able to optimize their WhatsApp data consumption by 14.8%, 12.2%, and 15.6% respectively when compared to pre-lite versions.

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WhatsApp User Engagement Comparison

WhatsApp’s lite voice call feature not only lowered data consumption, but also translated to an increased engagement among active users. Utilizing less data, WhatsApp users are more compelled to frequently use the app for messaging and phone calls. Engagement, captured as average front runtime, increased in all three countries. According to data collected from M2 Mobile Insights, users in India utilized an average of 24.72 minutes/day in the current version compared to the pre-lite version of 23.94 minutes/day. In Italy, the popular messaging app saw an increased engagement from 19.46 minutes/day to 20.74 minutes/day, a 6.6% change. Malaysia showed the greatest increased engagement among the three countries, from 17.67 minutes/day to 19.25 minutes/day, an 8.9% increase. As users are able to better optimize their data consumption when using WhatsApp, they in turn become more engaged users.

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This report was powered by M2 Mobile Insights, a crowdsourced mobile analytics platform for Android that delivers all new performance monitoring and usage insights to help mobile carriers, device manufacturers, app developers build better experiences for their users. Powered by the anonymized contributions from millions of mobile enthusiasts, M2 Mobile Insights can help answer the Android industry’s biggest problems to achieve better apps, together.

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