Research: Telegram became the fastest-growing messenger in Russia

Research: Telegram became the fastest-growing messenger in Russia

Telegram became the fastest growing messenger in Russia at the end of 2021. On this indicator it even left behind the current leader by audience size, WhatsApp. And, according to experts, it has every chance of becoming the most popular messenger in Russia next year.

Research: Telegram became the fastest-growing messenger in Russia

The traffic generated by Telegram messenger in the networks of the Megafon operator has more than doubled over the year and is now ahead of WhatsApp in 50 regions of the country, the operator said. Telegram is the least popular in the North Caucasus, where WhatsApp accounts for 2/3 of all messenger traffic. In total, traffic in all messengers grew by 87% over the year, primarily due to an increase in the number of voice calls.  

At the same time, WhatsApp continues to lead in popularity, though its share in terms of the number of users fell by a quarter, but still is 48%, while Telegram accounts has 44% of the users. Viber has taken the third place with 6% of users and 11% of traffic.

According to experts, the main advantage of Telegram, which explains such a noticeable increase in traffic, is that it is also a platform with content and the ability to download heavy files for further work with them. 

It is believed that the growth of Telegram began after the outage of Meta services (formerly Facebook) in October, when Facebook itself, Instagram and WhatsApp were down for several hours. Within a day, according to Pavel Durov, about 70 million users came to Telegram around the world.

According to Vladimir Zykov, head of the Association of professional users of social networks and instant messengers, the flow of audience to Telegram was strengthened by influencers who transferred communications to a more stable platform, and their network of contacts followed them.

However, Mediascope’s numbers show that the leap in the number of Telegram users began in September, when its audience increased from 24 to 29 million, while WhatsApp’s and Viber’s numbers remained unchanged. 

According to Zykov, at the moment Telegram has excellent chances to become the market leader in the number of users, if it maintains its growth. Problems of a technical or reputational nature can change the balance of power if they suddenly arise for one reason or another. “For example, if it suddenly turns out that they are regularly leaking data to someone,” Zykov told RG. According to the expert, an important part of promotion campaign for Meta should be not only adding important functions to their messenger, but also discrediting a competitor. 

The growth in the number of Telegram users and the decrease in the audience is impressive considering that, according to VTsIOM, in February 2021, 73% of respondents most often used WhatsApp, Viber had a share of 26%, and Telegram only 18% (in the survey, several messengers could be named). However, the study was carried out just 6 months after Roskomnadzor overturned the ban of the messenger, and it can be assumed that some users chose not to advertise the use of an “unwanted” service. The other reason is that many organizations curtailed their work in Telegram after the start of the ban and they only returned to the messenger by the summer of 2021.

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