If chatbots really are the future of messaging app communication, then Kik wants to make sure it kills the competition with its army of them.
Kik announced a major milestone when it comes to communication, revealing that users have exchanged nearly 1.8 billion messages with its more than 20,000 bots that are currently part of the platform.
That is a whole lot of robots and a whole lot of messaging with them since the company first launched and opened up its Bot Shop to third-party developers in April.
It was back in April that there were only 16 different kinds of bots, including ones from Sephora, Vine and J-14.
Kik's Bot Shop is the centralized place where users can view all the chatbots that are available on the app. To be added to the platform, the bots' developers first have to meet guidelines that make sure they work and are what people would want. The types of bots built for Kik vary, from those developed by brands like Sephora that give makeup tips and shopping advice and a more interactive storytelling one called Sequel Stories.
While there are more than 20,000 bots available, the Bot Shop highlights some of them, including those from CNN, Target and AwesomenessTV. Kik has expanded these featured bots to now include a total of 111 of them that are listed under the three categories of entertainment, lifestyle and gaming.
According to data from the app, those who interact with bots were found to spend 32 percent more time messaging in Kik than those who didn't chat with the bots.
"While it's still early days for chatbots in the U.S., we're starting to realize the many possibilities inherent in this simple but powerful form of interaction," Ted Livingston, founder and CEO of Kik, said in a press release. "Early results from bots featured in Kik's Bot Shop show that we are unlocking the potential of messaging in exciting new ways."
The company also discovered that it is the younger user base that is a fan of bots, with 60 percent of teens ages 13 to 19 driving the bot interaction growth.
Of course, this outcome makes sense, since about 40 percent of teens in the United States are registered users.
Regardless of whether or not brands, services or companies want to reach that demographic, Kik provides a platform for third-party developers to try new things when it comes to the way bots interact with people. This includes doing things like the bot having the ability to be mentioned in a conversation to join a group thread or invite other users to check out the bot, such as the zombie invasion game Zurvival that gets 20 percent of new subscribers from this Kik feature.
One thing is for sure: messaging apps will continue rolling out bots to cater to our need for easy and fun communication.