Kik might still lag behind messaging behemoths such as Facebook and WhatsApp, but the young app is growing at an impressive rate.
One of the reasons for the expansion of Kik is that the app built a dedicated audience that shows a special interest in the latest technologies, namely bots.
Kik CEO Ted Livingston recently took the stage during the TechCrunch Disrupt NY and gave some insights on the growth of its company over the last year.
According to Livingston, the platform currently has 300 million registered users. This represents a whopping 33 percent increase since January 2015. He also mentions that Kik has an adoption rate of 40 percent in the American teen demographic.
The CEO further notes that more than 6,000 bots are in use by the company.
Bot technology saw a surge in popularity after Facebook Messenger used them consistently, but Kik has been dabbling into their potential since 2014. Livingston underlines that even if most coders focus their efforts in delivering bots for Messenger, his company can make use of bots with advanced capabilities. In April, Kik opened up a bot shop for third-party developers.
He goes on to add that chatbots are treated in a similar fashion to the way websites were handled in the mid '90s. Livingston suggests that text-based chatbots are just part of the evolution process, and will eventually give way to more advanced technologies.
There are multiple advantages of using bots as a platform.
"No downloads, no new account, no new interface," Livingston names a few of them.
The Kik CEO makes a point that the conversational, text-reliant approach of bots should not extend to other platforms, but concedes that each development has its "early days."
Livingston focuses on simplifying the process and thinks that bots are the way to do it.
"To order a pizza you should just write 'Hey there, I'm Ted, and I'd like one large pizza with pepperoni, please,'" he notes. Livingston adds that, by today's standards, 100 taps for one pizza is simply too much. He looks forward to the day when clicking "one large pepperoni pizza" will be available.
The general conclusion that Livingston comes to is that native apps are reaching a dead-end, while bot-reliant platforms have a great chance to take their place and offer streamlined features that we cannot even imagine now.
We'll keep you posted on what the bot-filled future brings.