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What’s up with WhatsApp?

With over two decades of experience at the firm, Mike is known as an expert in designing and implementing large scale tracking research programs. He prides himself in working with his teammates and clients to not only find the answers to tough business issues but communicate them in a way that enables all involved to act upon the insights. Mike is from a small country town where he and his wife enjoy spending time outdoors, watching their kids play sports, and water activities, on the water and with their four children.

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What’s up with WhatsApp? Hero Image

In the first half of 2022, we took KS&R’s Entercom Landscape Tracker to Brazil and conducted our historically US-based survey with a few tweaks for cultural/environmental differences with over 1,100 Brazilian social media users, ages 13-65. Most of our entertainment and telecom partners are global, with Latin America being an important region for them, so we wanted to better educate ourselves on any differences between the youth in the US and Brazil.

Overall, the generational differences in Brazil are similar to what we see in the US and the youth in particular are very much alike, with the exception of one key difference across generations: WhatsApp.

A graphic showing bar graphs of the top social media platforms used among each generation and in the US and Brazil.

WhatsApp is the top social media platform used across all generations in Brazil, compared to being ranked 10th in the US. Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube (free) round out the top tier of social media platforms being used in Brazil, while those three are the top tier in the US.

Although Gen Z and Millennials are using WhatsApp the most, Instagram is their favorite social media platform by a very wide margin. The variety and customization of Instagram’s content tops the reasons behind its popularity among the younger generations. Think utility (WhatsApp) versus entertainment (Instagram).

It’s not surprising that WhatsApp is more popular in Brazil compared to the US. In fact, messaging and calling apps in general are more popular outside the US due to the fee structure, or previous fee structures, around SMS messaging and even long distance calling through carriers within many countries. The bigger learning is the similarities amongst the Gen Z and even Millennial cohorts between the US and LATAM. This knowledge can help organizations market more broadly, utilize similar messages and even channels in many cases – especially with Gen Z and Millennials.

Not familiar with WhatsApp? In KS&R’s Entercom Landscape Tracker, we group it into the social media app bucket, but it’s a little different and describes itself as a communication platform/app that features secure messaging and free calling. And easy and free means to keep in touch with friends and family across the globe.