Slack Claims Higher Engagement Than Microsoft Teams

Posted on November 20, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Office 365, Microsoft 365 with 45 Comments

In the wake of news that Microsoft Teams now has over 20 million active daily users, Slack says it has greater engagement.

“As we’ve said before, you can’t transform a workplace if people aren’t actually using your product,” a Slack spokesperson told me. “Slack continues to see unmatched engagement on our platform with 5+ billion weekly actions, including 1+ billion mobile actions. Among our paid customers, users spend more than 9 hours per workday connected to our service, including spending about 90 minutes per workday actively using Slack.”

These numbers need to be understood in context. According to Slack, Microsoft’s numbers—20 million active daily users, 27 million voice or video meetings in the last month, and 220 million open, edit, or download actions on files stored in Teams in the last month—can be used against it: They equate to just over 1 monthly voice/video call and approximately 11 monthly file actions per daily active user.

Put more simply, Slack is claiming that its user base is far more engaged with its service than are Teams users with Microsoft’s.

“Engagement is what makes Slack work,” Slack VP Brian Elliott noted back in October. “You can’t transform a workplace if people aren’t actually using the product. And we love the people building apps and integrations on the Slack platform, because they help drive that engagement. Our developer community has scaled with us to create a thriving ecosystem that feeds this engagement.”

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Comments (45)

45 responses to “Slack Claims Higher Engagement Than Microsoft Teams”

  1. spacein_vader

    So reading between the lines: Teams active user count is padded by the fact it's bundled with Offices so many of the active users aren't really actively using it.

    Slack is a standalone product, so I imagine the number of "passive" users is much lower.

    • darkgrayknight

      In reply to spacein_vader:

      Check out Mary Jo Foley's article:

      If Microsoft was counting Office 365 installs of Teams, it would be at 120 million rather than just 20 million. The active user number is exactly unique users per day that used Teams and started a chat or other actual action (not logged in/out or minimized/closed app).

  2. rbrynteson

    Teams active users means they did something with the product. Not that is was simply installed on the workstation. If I minimize Teams all day then it's not a usage. Now that said, Slack might be right that the users are in Slack more than Teams. This of course can cut multiple ways:

    1) Slack says their users are connected to their product for more than 9 hours per day. This isn't an activity number, this can be a client minimized and counts. Not the greatest measurement.

    2) 5+ billion weekly actions? What does that mean? If I click on one channel in slack and then click on another channel is that an action? Or are these messages posted, etc.

    3) Microsoft's 27 million Voice/Video meetings isn't number of participants but actual meetings. So yes, one could measure and say that it's roughly 1.35 meetings organized per person. That said, most people don't organize meetings but rather attend them. I think the other number that would be good to know is how many meeting participants joined those 27 million meetings. Or total meeting minutes. Also would be interesting to know Slacks comparable numbers?

    4) Files. Yeah, that doesn't sound like a huge number. What of course would be missing is people who went to SharePoint directly.

    At the end both companies are having success in this space and cherry-picking the stats that look best for them.

  3. Chris_Kez

    Meh, I don't understand* the pissing match here. Enterprise collaboration is not a zero-sum game; there is plenty of room for both products to find success.

    *I totally understand it; I just think it is dumb.

  4. Vladimir Carli

    In reply to dontbeevil:

    planner looks like a toy in comparison with Trello, Monday, Asana, Basecamp etc. It's really too simple for managing projects. On the other hand Microsoft Project is an elephant that most people don't need.

    Ondrive on paper offers the same functionality as dropbox but syncing is unreliable. It stops for no apparent reason. Sometimes the only way to make it restart is to delete everything and restart from scratch. None of this ever happened with dropbox

  5. arthemis

    Ah, good ol fashioned dick swinging between big tech.

  6. ndelena

    I prefer Slack's UI and simplicity but have to chuckle at how the Microsoft method was employed here: bundle it, force it to open with o365 installs, load it up with features that are a little clunky to discover, and think about UI and design last, if at all.

  7. maethorechannen

    Is engagement really a great metric for this sort of product? Because people could just as easily be wasting time instead of being actually productive.

    • skolvikings

      In reply to maethorechannen:

      Well it shows they're using the product.

      • crfonseca

        In reply to Skolvikings:


        I use both daily, and while I share lots more files on Slack than on Teams, the reason for that is simple: our corporate Office 365 account also includes SharePoint, so I rarely need to use teams to transfer files, we simply share them using that. SharePoint also allows us to edit Office files simultaneously, something you can't do with Slack alone.

        That said, the Teams app in Windows 10 is awful, Slack lets you have multiple separate channels, and makes them clearly distinct, while Teams lets you have multiple chats and jumbles them all together sometimes, making it an absolute mess.

        It's so bad we even joke about it, because if you're not careful you can easily create a new chat, there's always a input box in the bottom o the chat window for that, and you'll end up "outside the box".

  8. ejuly

    I have both Slack and Teams running ( plus Basecamp). I only use Slack because a project I am working on involves a consultant who only uses slack, otherwise it is dead to me. I use Teams at least once an hour , the ability to add links, files, and videos keep me in Teams. Slack just seems disorganized to me and is not useful for any significant PM or to-do work.

  9. William Clark

    I'm sure I'm not the average user, but, I am similar to my entire company which consists of about 5 management people and 50 developers. The management team is on Teams 4-6 hours a day, every work day. About 1/3 of the developers are on Teams for at least 2-3 hours a day minimum. Others may sit in the same room during a Teams call, making their Teams look unused. These Teams calls are with people in other companies, many from Microsoft, but non-Microsoft as well. In other words, most everyone I work with uses Teams.

    I do get some requests for meetings in Slack. I have done maybe 1 in the last 2 years. I have done meetings in WebEx, Zoom and a couple of other conferencing solutions but I've never hosted a Slack call. Nothing against Slack, it's a good product and I have it installed on my machine. But I don't use it.

    I noticed the article didn't mention Skype for Business. I'll bet there's still a few million people or more that use this. I know this is going away but I wonder how many people are still using that? I have tried to remove it and I get warnings from Microsoft that it is going away but for some reason I can't seem to delete it from my laptop.

  10. nbplopes

    We use Slack. It is simpler Tobias and for that matter more efficient.

  11. remc86007

    I know there is more to this, but it kind of sounds like Slack is saying: they may have more users (earning more revenue), but at least our users use our service more (costing us money).

    • Vladimir Carli

      In reply to remc86007:

      no, it doesn't sound like that. Slack has a point by saying that the number of users Teams has is inflated and many people don't use it but are considered active because they have an office365 account. In terms of revenues what you write doesn't make sense. Teams doesn't generate any revenue by itself. It maybe increases the overall number of Office365 accounts but it's impossible to calculate how much.

      • William Clark

        In reply to Vladimir:

        Unless something has changed, Teams doesn't get installed by default just because you have an O365 account, unless your IT group installs it. And if you're using the Web client for O365 you have to click to open Teams. The numbers in the article don't match up. There are some 155M O365 users but the article only refers to 20M Teams users. I don't think the numbers are inflated at all.

        What Slack is trying to say is that people are more engaged with their product than Teams but they provide really weak evidence. For example, I often do calls in which there may be 4-8 people in a room using a single Teams account login. Everyone there has a login but they do their calls in conference rooms because doing them at their desk can be disruptive to other employees. So while it seems like they aren't using Teams, they are by sharing someone else's license.

        As for revenue, yes it's hard to tell if Teams has any impact on O365 sales. The integration doesn't hurt. It makes it easy to choose to use Teams since the rest of my work process uses MS applications like Word, Excel, OneDrive etc.

        Slack is a decent product but for me it would mean paying an additional cost for functionality I already have in Teams. I use the free version but that's not particularly useful as it has limits.

    • Stooks

      In reply to remc86007:

      Slack like Dropbox has a tough road. They are a stand alone product that the bigger companies simply add to their suite of products. Once the competing product in that suit is "good enough" or better the value of the stand alone product drops quickly.

      The stand alone product company needs to know when to sell the company....before it is too late. Slack will probably get picked up once its value drops enough and be a member a suit. Maybe Slack will be Google + 2.0? Maybe it will come with a free FitBit or Nest product?

      • Freezal

        In reply to Stooks:

        This is an excellent point for services that operate like Slack and Dropbox. Unless these services can integrate seamlessly in with the corporate suite, directory services, management plane, data governance they will start to fall.

        This happens all the time. The services that embrace and extend (god I hate using that phrase) tend to win even if they are less capable.

        IT no longer wants to manage multiple tools if they can have good enough single vendor.

        The other big problem for all these services is Office 365 like any good drug dealer gives you a hook that you can't refuse in a service that there is no real competition for and that is Email. Once you set everything up for email it is so hard to justify not using the other services you are paying for, and to continue to pay an additional cost for a stand alone service.

  12. Stooks

    I have used both at our company. Both are good but I think Teams at this point is more feature rich.

    At our company it used to be a free for all in terms of tools that were used. And then we moved to Office 365 and upper management forced everyone onto it. Trello, Slack, BaseCamp, WebEx and Dropbox are all gone. Lots were irritated but just over a year later it was a great move. Gone is the crazy tool sprawl with lots of logins. Gone is trying to find what data is where.

    • Atoqir

      In reply to Stooks:

      Sounds like we did. We at IT advised the upper management to force everyone into using 1 product: Office365. We support it on Windows, iOS, MacOS and Android.

      In the end most people are happy but I still have some heated battles from time to time; usually with Google Drive/Forms fanatics going against corporate policy.

      • Vladimir Carli

        In reply to Atoqir:

        lol, that's why so many people hate microsoft and see it as a tool for work only. Something to get rid of as quickly as possible

        • Stooks

          In reply to Vladimir:

          And you are in that group of "I have my iPhone, Macbook, G-Suite and Slack what more do I need" working at a small company I imagine. The "woke" techno-hipster crowd, Microsoft bad, anything but Microsoft!!

        • William Clark

          In reply to Vladimir:

          Really? I don't see that at all. I use Outlook and MS Office for home, our personal business and for work. The whole reason Windows took over the home market was because people wanted the same sort of computer at home as they used at work. That's probably less of an issue today but that's also probably because Windows is the defacto standard. (no offense to Apple)

          Where you live and work may be very different from me but I do not see people rushing to get away from Microsoft.

    • Vladimir Carli

      In reply to Stooks:

      I wonder how you replaced Trello and Basecamp with Office365. I would be irritated too.

      Let alone dropbox, we tried the move to Onedrive because it makes complete sense from the financial perspective. However, in practice, we hurried back to dropbox after a couple of weeks. OneDrive is garbage in comparison

      • Stooks

        In reply to Vladimir:

        Trello was used by our development group. They created free accounts, using their corporate email address. The company had no insight into what they were putting up there. If someone left the company, no control over the data up in Trello. They moved to Microsoft planner. Planner hooks into OneDrive, and Sharepoint libraries and you also get a "Planner" tab in Teams when you create a channel, say for a project. Teams has everything Basecamp has and more, to include inviting people to your project outside of the company.

        Dropbox is horrible to use. Super slow, and sharing is fine when you want to create a read only share. If you want whomever you sharing with to be able to put files up into your dropbox you have to create a "request for content" share, which is confusing to most users. Their sparse interface does not make it easy to figure this out.

        With OneDrive/Sharepoint document libraries you simply create a share, say folder, you pick whether it is read only or not, set an optional password, expiration date, and email it right from that sharing dialog box, or copy the link. All of that is tied into Azure AD and you can manage it there vs also in DropBox.

        OneDrive used to be, 3 years ago, slow and unreliable. Then Microsoft upgrade it and now it is the fastest sync out there IMHO. I think this was during the move from the old Hotmail platforms to Exchange/Sharepoint.

  13. waethorn

    I'd bet Microsoft's numbers are fudged now that they're **FORCING THE INSTALL WITH OFFICE 365 UPDATES**.

    • wp7mango

      In reply to Waethorn:

      Even if true, it doesn't make Microsoft less successful. It might not sit well with you personally, but it doesn't actually change the fact that Teams is a successful product and is good competition for Slack.

      • waethorn

        In reply to WP7Mango:

        a) It is true.

        b) It's worthy of monopoly antitrust investigation (forcing the install bundled with a monopoly product - Office)

        c) Forced installs is no indication of being "successful". It bugs users to sign in and has no option to disable at Windows startup until you do.

        • William Clark

          In reply to Waethorn:

          I have O365 on my home machine, work laptop and my iPad. I had to install Teams separately on the iPad and the laptop. On the home machine I am up to date and no Teams has been installed. What version of Office as you using? I am running O365 and Office 2016.

          Office is not a monopoly, not by a long shot.

        • wp7mango

          In reply to Waethorn:

          Just as I thought, it doesn't sit well with you personally.

          Teams is a good product. Slack is a good product. There are pros and cons for both.

          • waethorn

            In reply to WP7Mango:

            What doesn't sit well with me is when clients complain that on every computer they have Office 365 software installed, some new application they didn't want gets installed automatically, and then pops up in their face at logon with no way to get at options to disable it (until they log in with their Office account). And Microsoft didn't announce that they would force this on users, nor do they provide any way to block the automatic deployment of it. When you start dealing with dozens or hundreds of business PC's, this is a real problem. But even 1 complaint is enough.

  14. red.radar

    skype for business is scheduled to go EOL. Teams is positioned as the replacement. Utilization of teams and engagement is going to dramatically increase.

    Not to mention the integration with Microsoft’s cloud suite... if I was to bet on a horse it’s going to be teams

    • darkgrayknight

      In reply to red.radar:

      Most everyone at work are still using Skype for Business, rather than Teams. But at EOL, Teams will be it. Our usage will increase those numbers for Microsoft significantly, as we're on skype all the time with pretty much every meeting going through skype, and skype is also our only phone.

  15. drewidian

    Slack is an inferior product. Now that Private Channels are available in Teams, I'm pushing for my organization to get rid of Slack, Box, Zoom, Monday (we may keep this one as it is still better than Project and Planner), and several others since we already subscribe to Office 365 for Office and get Teams Free.,. The experience of a cobbled together set of services like the ones I listed above is confusing for the average worker. Teams offers a simplified streamlined experience and with Outlook make Slack and those other services irrelevant.

  16. wp7mango

    All this boils down to is two companies using a different measurement to gauge success within the space in which they are competing.

    Both companies therefore consider themselves successful in this space. Which is fine.

  17. Vladimir Carli

    Slack has two big problems:

    1) if you already use Office365 is a no brainer to use Teams instead. No one wants to pay the extra cost

    2) even if you don't use Office 365 there are free alternatives such as discord. At my workplace everyone is in love with discord and nobody wants to move to teams. In terms of features, discord has even more than slack and being free makes it very easy to involve external users (big problem with Office365)

  18. beckerrt

    Total loser talk. Slack's glory growth days are clearly over, and they're having a hard time accepting it. MS still owns the corporate productivity world.