Facebook's decision to remove messaging functionality from its main mobile app and require people to download its Messenger app seems to be paying off, according to recent data from GlobalWebIndex.

Some 38% of the global mobile audience outside of China is now using Facebook Messenger each month, the analysis found.

The jump in the popularity of Messenger can be seen most clearly in the data for individual markets. For example, in the United Kingdom usage of the app jumped from 27% at the end of 2013 to 40% in the middle of 2014.

Moreover, usage of Messenger has spiked much higher than the global average in certain markets, peaking at 55% or more in the Philippines, India, and the United Arab Emirates.

A separate report from GlobalWebIndex found Facebook Messenger has become the second most popular mobile messaging app behind WeChat, which is hugely popular in China (over 80% of the country’s mobile users engage with WeChat each month, the report found).

Tied with Messenger for second place is WhatsApp, which is also owned by Facebook.

About the research: The report was based on data from a survey of mobile Internet users around the world age 16-64.

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image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a writer, editor, and a content strategist. He is a co-founder of ICW Media and a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji