BBM adds over 20 million active users in the first week

By Adam Zeis on 29 Oct 2013 09:01 am EDT

Just over a week ago BBM launched on iOS and Android to an amazing reception. It was an instant hit, quickly shooting to the top of the App Store and ultimately hitting number one in Google Play for Top New Free as well. BBM has seen well over 10 million downloads at this point and is still going strong. 

BlackBerry has announced today that BBM has ended its first week with over 80 million active users, including 20 million new users from Android and iOS. 20 million new active users - that's 20 million users who are actively using BBM, not just downloads. We're not sure of the total installs, but given that the number of new active users is 20 million, we can only imagine that the total number of actual downloads is much higher. BlackBerry is smart to measure by active users as opposed to just download numbers so we can get a real gauge for the traction of BBM on other platforms. It doesn't look like things are slowing down at all.

From Andrew Bocking, EVP of BBM:

“It is great to see so many people downloading BBM, but the true measurement for us is engagement – the connections being made and the conversations in which our BBM community engages. The power of BBM has always been the active, real conversations and interaction that our customers enjoy,” said Andrew Bocking, Executive Vice President of BBM at BlackBerry. “From here on out, we will focus on active users of BBM and will no longer focus on simple download numbers." 

Awesome job for BBM and BlackBerry - we can't wait to see how much more BBM takes off in the coming weeks, especially with the addition of BBM Voice, BBM Video and BBM Channels.

Press Release

BBM Community Grows to More Than 80 Million Active Users Across BlackBerry, Android and iPhone Devices Globally

Waterloo, ON – After the amazing launch of BBM™ on Android® and iPhone® devices, with more than 10 million downloads in the first 24 hours, BBM has now ended its first week with more than 80 million monthly active users*, including over 20 million new users on Android and iPhone devices.

During its first week, BBM was the top free overall app in 35 countries in Google Play™ and in 107 countries in the App StoreSM, and continues to maintain a strong position in key markets such as Canada, the US, the UK, Indonesia and much of the Middle East, to name a few.

“It is great to see so many people downloading BBM, but the true measurement for us is engagement – the connections being made and the conversations in which our BBM community engages. The power of BBM has always been the active, real conversations and interaction that our customers enjoy,” said Andrew Bocking, Executive Vice President of BBM at BlackBerry. “From here on out, we will focus on active users of BBM and will no longer focus on simple download numbers." 

With the BBM community now at more than 80 million active users around the globe, users are connecting on the private social network like never before. This past weekend, BlackBerry® (NASDAQ: BBRY; TSX: BB) was able to remove the virtual line-up so that Android and iPhone users can now immediately download, sign in and start using BBM without having to wait.

BBM users are enjoying the immediacy and control that BBM offers as they chat with their new contacts – either one-to-one, in multi-person chats or as part of a BBM Group. The delivered and read statuses, as well as the message-in-progress alert, keep people engaged and active in conversations on BBM.  BBM users can also share files such as photos, and voice notes, as well as update their statuses with ease. BBM Groups allows photo, calendar, chat and file sharing for up to 30 people in a user-generated community.

Every BBM user has a unique PIN that helps maintains their privacy, so users never have to give out their phone number or email address to a new or casual contact. BlackBerry ID connects with a person’s PIN, BBM contact list and services to make device switching quick and easy.

The BBM experience will continue to evolve.  In the coming months, BlackBerry will deliver BBM Video calling, BBM Voice calling and BBM Channels – a new community building service to connect BBM users even more broadly – to Android and iPhone users.  

Android and iPhone device users can download BBM by visiting


Topics: BBM Apps

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

BBM adds over 20 million active users in the first week


Well i think that's bec the ceo is not in charge of BBM since it has or its going to be a separate division from BlackBerry.

Don't forget that the CEO originally supported the decision to not take BBM cross-platform. Would be a bit disingenuous to start taking credit for it now.

Posted via CB10

Of course he didn't support BBM. Heins wants Blackberry to die so he can get his 55 million payday. BBMs wild success may save the company and that's gonna be a slap in Heins ugly greedy face lol

What's equally telling is that not once do they refer to it as BlackBerry Messenger. I don't blame them, the BBM brand is much less tarnished than the BlackBerry brand... but it is interesting nonetheless.

Posted via CB10

I am responsible for 2 new active users. If every active user prior to the launch of BBM X adds just 2 people 100M will be surpassed in no time.

Posted via CB10

This is good but I want some good news about the company it self just hope the sale go the way we want it to #blackberryliveon

Posted via CB10

I fear many, like myself, are waiting for the Z30 to get a bit cheaper (off contract). Now before anyone says it.. I already supported with my awesome Z10.
Where the heck is the marketing? These guys not doing their jobs. With BBM so in the public's eye they should be pounding it's virtues. The silence is deafening. BWDIK.

Don Diego endorses the Zed.

Agreed no marketing it's dead. They have over 80million active BBM Users and 20million of those are new potential future customers.... and marketing aren't doing anything yet.

Marketing and R&D need to wake up or get fired. BlackBerry needs to stop releasing old specs phones from last year to attract those 20million people... from iOS and Android

Posted via CB10

Frank Boulben (Chief Marketing Officer) surfs Facebook and porn sites all day.

If he has some free time on the weekend, he sometimes puts in 1-2 hours of BlackBerry marketing work. But only sometimes.

Posted via CB10

Great news. Go BBM! Once again, I would like to see suggestions feature, like we have using bb10, inside BBM of android and ios devices. Yesterday I added a friend that downloaded BBM on his iPhone just because he appeared in my list of suggestions. I didn't need to ask his pin.

Posted via my awesome BlackBerry Z10

Great news! I've added a couple of users as well. I'm waiting for others to confirm that they’ve installed BBM. It is my preferred IM client!

Keith H. Posted using CB10.


Just kidding. I wish that was the case as well. Good for them though.

Posted via CB10

Great news indeed!! Have to say though that many of my Android friends are now on BBM but still no IOS lol.. weird

Posted via CB10

Keep feeding bbm give people a reason to keep using the app more updates! Channels voice and video support asap

Posted via CB10

Agreed. I post status updates with things you can do with BBM, like creating a shared shopping list for families or track kids school assignments. Many are surprised because they were thinking it's just a chat client.

Posted via CB10

Hey Adam, you never declared the winner for the accessory round-up contest :)

Btw I'm happy for the good news, I have a couple of my friends back on it and they're loving it !

Posted via CB10

When voice and video are added soon in the coming months, I'd like to see a follow up on how many new users would be added.
Also, gingerbread is so popular I hope they make a BlackBerry Messenger compatible with it although I'm pretty sure someone figured that out by now...

Posted via CB10

BBM also needs to be available for non GPS devices such as tablets and iPod Touch devices. I want my kids to use BBM on their iPod Touch so I can control who they are messaging with and receiving messages from. This is one of the best, but least talked about features of BBM. No handshake, no messages! #IChooseBlackBerry10

Z10 on T-Mobile, 32 GB PlayBook - Posted via CrackBerry 10

SUPERB news!

Much needed positivity!

Now let's hope they keep up this activation rate; that it doesn't trail off after a honeymoon period.

Bbm is arguably the best instant communication medium out there - it deserves to be recognised as such.

And hey, I'd LOVE to hear BlackBerry activated 20 million bb10 devices - would love that!

Posted via CB10 on my BlackBerry Q10

It is a shame Bocking was not given a much higher profile in BB. He seems personable, knowledgeable and engaging. Qualities notably absent in some of his better known contemporaries.


Just wants to know what is going to happen with BBM user, those are using legacy phones, will they able to access for free or still they wants to pay for BBM?

You are still paying? Before I got my Z10, I had a Bold 9700 and my carrier didn't charged me for the last two years for the BlackBerry package.. they said it became free for all legacy BlackBerry users.

Posted via CB10

Yes that's true. I was no longer paying separately on my 9900 before switching so you should check your carrier on this

Posted via CB10

Vodafone UK stopped charging me for this a few years back. I think Lebara UK and and few other like "3" still charge for it though. You'll have to check first.

Posted via CB10

Great news for sure. I also think it's smart they released the actual users and not downloads. The press will somehow twist this anyways, but at least it's less fuel to the fire.

Posted via CB10

If it gets that viral element that Umi was talking about last week and it could surpass WhatsApp in active users within a month. My main challenge so far has been that after I tell everyone to download it, I usually have to follow up with instructions on where to get it and then how to add me, and then to go to to recruit their friends. A lot of people just quit somewhere in that process.

Or after a few days of no one that they want to talk to being available.

Not everyone is interested in adding thirty of forty total strangers to their list of "friends".

Definitely. I've primarily taken the approach of Groups. If I can convince critical mass of individual users within a circle of family or friends, then I can create a Group and use that to convince the rest. That makes sure that once they're on they do have people to talk to.

I went from 7 contacts to 26 and I haven't pushed any of my friends at the idea yet because they are stubborn and if something goes haywire they would delete it and never look back.

Posted via CB10

Andrew.. I'm right there with you on that. Some people are just waiting for a mishap. I've focused on adding my 'happy go lucky' friends, who aren't so anxious about what company/product does what. They all love it so far. I think in a couple weeks, when people start to feel left out- it will be extremely easy to convert.

Ditto. What's interesting is that almost all of my Android/iOS friends are actually using BBM over Whatsapp. They haven't messaged me through Whatsapp since launch of BBMx. The groups I was part of on Whatsapp have been replaced on BBM. One hold out is still using Whatsapp, but I'm not promoting one over the other with him -- he'll come around on his own, trust me.

Yes, bring on the voice n video when the hype subsides. Sure to regain the crown and rule this space.

Hm... not bad. hope we can reach by the end of 2013, 100 million active users.

Posted via CB10

How many new users do you guys think Thor is personally responsible for adding?! I would guess it's a depressing number.

Posted via CB10

I was chatting with my brother (Samsung S3) last night while watching the game, and noticed that 3 separate times I would get a grey check box, but never delivered! I copied and pasted and it would go. I've also noticed this a couple times to my wife (z10 to z10). I hope they iron these issues out. BBM has always been solid, until now.

Yep. I've noticed some lagging last night and this morning. Hope that this isn't a looming problem. I would think that previous capacity level hasn't been over topped yet.

I've had zero issues with BBM to other BlackBerry s. Occasionally with droid and ios devices I've noticed a bit of a delay in the D, but only sometimes.


I am experiencing the same trouble. I have sent picture messages that still haven't arrived. I never once had a delayed message before (unless the contact was on the phone). The stability and reliability is causing me concern. I am hoping the friends that I have converted to BBM don't even notice this before BlackBerry gets it fixed. I plan on shooting them an email today.

I have added 2 iPhones and 2 android phones to my BBM contact list. Who is your carrier and what phone are you using? My friends and I are not experiencing any problems.

I am between a G2 and my Q10. Messages are going to my wife's Z10, mother-in-laws android, and co-workers' iphones. We are on Verizon. Mother-in-law and co-workers are split between VZW and AT&T. I have sent an email to BB support with screen caps for proof. We will see what happens. I don't even like talking about it on a public forum!

Anyone know what it would take for BlackBerry to increase the group size from 30 to maybe 50? With all the new users, I think this would be niiice.

Posted via CB10

It's been great to see my bbm contact list grow back to what it was 3-4 years ago. I've been telling everyone that I don't "text" anymore, and if they expect an answer, they need to have bbm. Haha!

Posted via CB10

Lol I tell people the same!! If you don't have BBM you won't be able to reach me *evil grin*


“From here on out, we will focus on active users of BBM and will no longer focus on simple download numbers."

Actually the focus should be on improving the product and keeping it fresh.

It has been great getting all of my family onto BBM. It's like our own personal messaging service. Miles ahead of Whatsup. Can't wait for the voice options. This will be dynamite.

Posted via CB10

4 users added: 2 iOs. 2 droid with 12 invites out and climbing.

The 1 and only true secure IM!

BBry rocks!

Written with the superlative Q10..Z30 a coming!

It's good that there is some traction going on now as BBM really rocks on BlackBerry Devices, it has all instant and voip features all in one. But in my opinion BlackBerry should quickly roll out voice and video to iOS and Android and even push to windows phone to quickly kill and provide added features to Viber, Whatsapp, Skype, Tango, etc...

Especially that BlackBerry devices still don't have a native Viber app neither a working sideload version of it if you're running 10.2.
Whatsapp will not lose it's number one spot with 350 million users unles BBM gives them a valid reason

Has anyone else had a problem where it said BBM couldn't connect to the server. Had it a few times today on my z10.

Good job BlackBerry and good job to me too. I have literally had so many conversations with people getting them to ditch whatsapp and get on Bbm. It's great that they are, being in Australia where not many people use blackberry my contacts list went from 4 to 26 in a week. BBM is awesome once video calling is enabled cross platform it's going to be legendary

Posted via CB10

Wake up BlackBerry. Make two best phones (high and low end) beating competitors and it will make all these users to think/switch to BB10.

I was in getting my haircut this morning. My barber owns the shop (a lady) and her daughter also works there. I was talking about bbm which my Barber has no idea about...she has a dumb phone. But her daughter spoke up that she downloaded it on her android and really likes it. She volunteered that she likes it because it is not tied to your phone number, but to a pin number. Pretty cool.

One thing that BBM needs to do is actually define the active user metric (whatever it is) because someone will challenge them on this. It could be as simply as a measurement of amount of continuous per pin over a period of time. It would also create a standard against which all IM providers would be measured. Right now, everyone throws around numbers but we don't really know what they mean.
Anyway, great news for BB.

Awesome news!!!If all the existing BlackBerry users add minimum 2-3 , the numbers will bump up even higher in no time. I now have 2 from android and 3 from IOS so far. And I have deleted Whatsapp from my BlackBerry Z10!!!

Posted via CB10

I can be completely sure there will be at the very least one more user when they bring it to Windows Phone. I just wish my old pins would work.

BBM truly rockz but can Blackberry please market the apps more??? I am absolutely convinced that the awareness that is now lacking, if being spread will let those starting out really fall in love with the phenomenon that is BBM. :)

Posted via CB10

Guys it looks like bbm works on my Ipad2 it's downloading right now!! I hope I'm not being punked

Posted via CB10

I think they should throw adverts out there TV, radio, Internet videos telling people about the bb10 platform and the new phones. Now, while there's thus buzz about BBM

Posted via CB10

Dear BlackBerry, pleas add the following functions before launch of BlackBerry channels, video etc. I think to add the base features is more important:
- share files, appointments, locations etc.
- share function for all of these also directly within group chat AND multi person chat
- make bigger emoticons
- make not that tall text bubbles to see more content
- etc

Than the other functions can follow. Also a poll function within group chats would be great!

The thing is that I made a lot of marketing on whatsapp friends :) Nand got the target to get 90% of them to bbm. Maybe parallel to whatsapp, but they often use bbm. To get them completely to bbm it has to offer minimum the same functionality. On the other hand they started to love the group chat functions etc. but a good base ist the start of success. Thank you

Posted via CB10

they should do a study to see how many have deleted whatsapp, once my sister got BBM on her note2 she uninstalled whatsapp

It's great but if you look deeper, the 20 million users are basically the 20 million subscribers BlackBerry has lost over the years. In other words, BlackBerry hasn't attractive new users, it just got back the ones they've lost.

Hope it will catch the race from other platforms plus having also unique approach to the market.

Posted via CB10

Wonder how BBM music would have faired now, in a community of users that is growing versus one that was shrinking?

Posted via CB10

What's an active user? One SMS a week or one a month? I have a hard time trusting BB! Remember "sold out".. "Better than ever"... "We will sell tens of millions of Q10".. And now " 20 million of new users".... !!!!!
BB can not be trusted. Just wait a month or two and the BBM will be dead! :(

From 0 users (me included) after 7 days I manage to add 12 totally new contacts,they never used BBM :D
We need to keep promote and add new users,explaining them that BBM is more than a simple chat,we have lists,tasks,separate pictures with comments,integrated calendar,etc and all secured!!
They need to learn that BBM is much more than a simple chat

Has anyone had an issue of strangers appearing on the BBM contacts? It happened three times - each after I added a friend. Each time it was a stranger from Indonesia. I thought maybe it was a case of duplicate PINs (which would be a disaster) but that wasn't the case.

Hi Crackberry,
I understand that BBM hit milestone when they hit 20 Millions but what do they earn? they need more servers to support so many users. I believe, once that they can get a lot of users, they will sell this BBM to other company. a little bit sad that they have to go to this method.

many countries actually need BBM and buy BB phone just for the BBM. this will be BB lost i guess...

20 million? Is that all that could be done in a week?

It is great news, lets kick some real time As s BB and show them how its done.

BB Z30 coming in Nov. hope it will capture more market than that o z10. as z30 offer more competitive specs.