WhatsUp With WhatsApp? Comparing Mobile Instant Messaging Behaviors with Traditional SMS

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Our best paper nominee presentation at Mobile HCI 2013, Munich, Germany (30th August 2013). Here's the paper abstract:

With the advent of instant mobile messaging applications, traditional SMS is in danger of loosing it’s reign as the king of mobile messaging. Applications like WhatsApp allow mobile users to send real-time text messages to individuals or groups of friends at no cost. While there is a vast body of research on traditional text messaging practices, little is understood about how and why people have adopted and appropriated instant mobile messaging applications. The goal of this work is to provide a deeper understanding of the motives and perceptions of a popular mobile messaging application called WhatsApp and to learn more about what this service offers above and beyond traditional SMS. To this end, we present insights from two studies — an interview study and a large-scale survey — highlighting that while WhatsApp offers benefits such as cost, sense of community and immediacy, SMS is still considered a more reliable, privacy preserving technology for mobile communication

More details available at: www.karenchurch.com

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  • This is all a bit out of date unfortunately, but still good slides! We shared some stats on messaging app usage by consumers, and how it affects B2C communications, if you'd like to have a read it's on our slideshare profile!
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  • Operator have a power to fight agains messengers. Learn how they can win: http://www.slideshare.net/ishmelev/mobile-operator-strategy-switch-from-telco-to-messenger
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WhatsUp With WhatsApp? Comparing Mobile Instant Messaging Behaviors with Traditional SMS

  1. 1. What’s up with Comparing Mobile Instant Messaging Behaviors with Traditional SMS Karen Church Yahoo! Labs Rodrigo de Oliveira Telefonica Research Presented at Mobile HCI 2013 - 30th August 2013, Munich, Germany
  2. 2. SMS or Short Message Service
  3. 3. 8 trillion SMS Messages sent globally in 2011 - Mobile Messaging Futures 2012-2016
  4. 4. Mobile Instant Messaging Apps
  5. 5. How and why people (teenagers) have adopted SMS in their daily lives, e.g Grinter & Eldridge 2001 & 2003, Taylor & Harper 2002 Different countries and demographics, e.g. Ito 2005, Kasesniemi & Rautiainen 2002, Kim et al 2007, Battestini et al. 2010 Past research on SMS behaviors
  6. 6. 27 billion messages per day handled by WhatsApp - The Next Web, June 2013
  7. 7. Differences in the perceptions and motives of use between WhatsApp and SMS….
  8. 8. WhatsApp •  MIM application for smartphones •  Runs on many mobile platforms (Android, iOS, Blackberry, etc) •  No cost •  Requires data plan/ internet connection
  9. 9. Groups •  Beyond 1:1 communication •  Supports group based chats.
  10. 10. Beyond text •  Sharing of images, videos, sounds, locations, etc.
  11. 11. Social Cues
  12. 12. Social Cues Status
  13. 13. Social Cues 2 ticks! message delivery
  14. 14. VSs
  15. 15. 1! 2! Procedure interviews survey 8 themes
  16. 16. Phase 1: Interview
  17. 17. John (P1) 36 Phd Student 2 years Mike (P2) 29 Mobile dev 2 years Oliver (P3) 35 HR Developer 2 years Dean (P7) 31 Researcher 1 year Eric (P8) 40 Project Mgr 3 years Cathy (P4) 24 HR Intern 2 years Laura (P5) 45 Teacher 3 months Beth (P3) 36 Business owner 2.5 years Ann (P9) 30 PA 2 years Phase 1: 9 participants Icon source: http://www.thenounproject.com
  18. 18. 1.  Review of daily communication needs 2.  Perceived value of WhatsApp, reason for adoption and history of use 3.  Motives and intent of SMS and WhatsApp focusing on factors like cost, trust, privacy Phase 1: Interview
  19. 19. Phase 2: Survey Image source: http://lighthouse8.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/people.jpg
  20. 20. 131 subjects 70 61 20 – 60 age range 33.7 average age Spain living in / from 54.4% Pay for SMS
  21. 21. Phase 2: Survey 1.  Expected behavior 2.  Actual usage behavior (reported) 3.  Two groups: •  SMS payers (N=71) •  SMS nonpayers (N=60) Image source: http://lighthouse8.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/people.jpg
  22. 22. 1. cost
  23. 23. “ “ Using WhatsApp is a guarantee the other party won’t pay. I might not care. And now I don’t care because sending SMS for me is unlimited but maybe other people care.
  24. 24. 57 % SMS Payers believe they would not change their frequency of SMS usage even if SMS was free (χ2 = 19, 803, p < .001)
  25. 25. Negative Correlations •  between paying for SMS and frequency of SMS usage with clients (ρ = −.35, p < .01) and for business purposes (ρ = −.22, p = .03).
  26. 26. Positive Correlations •  Paying for SMS and frequency of WhatsApp usage with family members (ρ = .20, p = .03) and for planning/coordinating social activities (ρ = .18, p < .05).
  27. 27. 41 % SMS Payers reported not seeing any value in SMS compared to WhatsApp
  28. 28. 41 % SMS Payers reported not seeing any value in SMS compared to WhatsApp 22 % SMS Non-Payers reported not seeing any value in SMS compared to WhatsApp
  29. 29. 2. social influence
  30. 30. Recommended by friends
  31. 31. “ “ I was using SMS and everyone had WhatsApp and everyone was saying, you are the last one and it costs money to talk with you so get WhatsApp
  32. 32. 3. nature/ intent
  33. 33. “ “ With WhatsApp maybe you type more, but the conversation is more fluid. You type a sentence and someone sends a sentence and then you type another one. I have the feeling that if it’s WhatsApp, it’s an open conversation. It is similar to if you were talking in person
  34. 34. “ “ I can say much more things than 120 characters and I don’t have to think about the whole message. I can be more natural
  35. 35. On-the-fly social planning
  36. 36. 6 different intents 1.  Chatting, 2.  Planning/coordination of social activities, 3.  Sharing personal news, 4.  Interacting with groups of people, 5.  Business/work related communications, 6.  Receiving ads
  37. 37. Less than once per month About once per month About once per week Several times per week About once per day Several times per day
  38. 38. 4. community, sense of connection
  39. 39. “ “ WhatsApp for me is very informal so it’s friends and family. SMS is formal, with clients and then my friends and family who don’t have WhatsApp
  40. 40. WhatsApp •  Used significantly more often than SMS across all communities (p < .01) •  Used most often with partners than any other community (p < .01) •  Higher frequency of usage with family, close friends and friends than with work colleagues or clients (p < . 001)
  41. 41. 8 of 9 participants used groups
  42. 42. 5. immediacy, privacy & expectation
  43. 43. “ “ I tend to think that SMS is not as fast as WhatsApp. I don’t know why but I think maybe people are more aware of WhatsApp and not so aware of SMS
  44. 44. Status
  45. 45. “ “ people read too much into when you’re online and when you replied to messages or why you didn’t reply and they try to guess why and sometimes this is annoying
  46. 46. 42 % Considered SMS to have fewer privacy issues than WhatsApp
  47. 47. 34 % Considered privacy as the most valuable aspect of SMS
  48. 48. 2 ticks!
  49. 49. 7 of 9Participants thought that 2 ticks = message read
  50. 50. “ “ I don’t like it very much because if I don’t want to answer straight away, I don’t want them to know that I’ve seen the message
  51. 51. “ “ If I send a message and you are busy at least answer and say that you’re busy...... if you’re online, it sort of means that it’s in front of you and you are doing other stuff and you are ignoring me...
  52. 52. 47 % Revealing last access time is a privacy concern
  53. 53. 6. reliability & guarantee
  54. 54. 6 of 9Participants though that SMS is more reliable for message delivery
  55. 55. Reasons included •  SMS is a paid service and money increases reliability of a service •  SMS is an older, more established service •  For others it depended on their past experience with one service or another – Bad past experience = bad perception  
  56. 56. “ “It’s happened to me that I’ve sent messages and they arrived very late, like 1 day or 2 days late
  57. 57. 30 % WhatsApp messages have a better chance of being delivered that SMS.
  58. 58. 7. choice of technology
  59. 59. Choice of SMS or WhatsApp? •  Does the recipient have WhatsApp? •  Is it formal? Or informal communication? •  Do I want or need the message to be delivered immediately?
  60. 60. 8. coping mechanisms
  61. 61. 5 of the participants always switch phone to silent mode
  62. 62. Negative Correlations •  between how often participants use WhatsApp with clients and how often they turn on the phone’s silent mode (ρ = −.41, p = .001)
  63. 63. Business communications •  Frequency of using WhatsApp for business is reversely related to the frequency of muting phone notifications (ρ = −.23, p = .02). •  Same for using SMS for business (ρ = −.29, p = .006)
  64. 64. Image source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/01/mobile-messaging-apps_n_2991747.html
  65. 65. WhatsApp use in general…. 1.  Used more often, closer-knit groups 2.  More conversational 3.  Perceived as more immediate 4.  More chatting and on-the-fly planning Image source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/01/mobile-messaging-apps_n_2991747.html
  66. 66. 1.  Privacy concerns and last access 2.  Delivery notifications, i.e. 2 ticks 3.  Increased expectations of fast response Problems with WhatsApp
  67. 67. Future work 1.  Explore behavior by combining logging of real-life usage with reported usage 2.  Different demographics and cultures 3.  How to handle abundance of mobile notifications?
  68. 68. thank you! Qs? Karen Church www.karenchurch.com kchurch@yahoo-inc.com @karenchurch Full Paper available here - http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2493225 Images from - http://www.sxc.hu or where acknowledged

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