Kik to focus on the United States, viral ads to rise above competitors

When it comes to messaging, there is a lot of competition out there, so it becomes more imperative for each application to stand out in some way and to keep its focus on what it does best. With Kik, it looks like that could be the United States and “viral ads” right now.

To be sure, Kik is certainly keeping its focus on expanding its core messaging audience beyond where it stands today,  according to Anthony Green, Kik’s business development lead. Green spoke at a panel in New York’s Advertising Week last week. During that discussion, Green said that Kik could do what Snapchat and others have done and offer services like in-app payments, taxi services, and food services.

This could mean that you could call for a taxi or order a pizza while using Kik, something that messaging apps outside of LINE and WeChat have not offered. Even these apps only offer their services in select areas.

“Our focus is on U.S. teens and hopefully maintaining them as they grow up”

However, fresh from its recent gain of a $50 million investment from Chinese Internet giant Tencent and a valuation of more than $1 billion, Kik looks to become the top messaging app in the U.S. where people will turn for messaging and, soon, even more.

Facebook Messenger is a huge gorilla in the room, and they are focusing on being everything to everyone,” Green said as reported by Forbes. “Our focus is on U.S. teens and hopefully maintaining them as they grow up.”

Kik usernames rather than requiring the use of phone numbers can help make the application more accessible to teens. Phone numbers have been used in the service for some things, but usernames make it so you don’t have to give out a phone number in order to contact someone.

Kik has been doing a lot in the past year to get noticed. Kik added bots to its service a year ago, launched KIk Codes last month, and native video in May, Kik has been focused on adding features. With the in-app services on the horizon, it’s looking to add even more focus on utilizing brands and enabling companies to interact with their customers, particularly those in the U.S.

Kik currently has over 200 million users and is available on iOS, Android, and Windows smartphones.