However, other messaging apps have taken further steps down the monetization route.
LINE and South Korea's Kakao Talk sell stickers and oversized emoticons and games to users, while also acting as a portal to online shopping sites.
Earlier this month Kakao Talk moved into Indonesia, seen as a prime growth market for app makers, given half the population is under 30 and only 20 percent of its population use smart phones. WeChat, meanwhile, is perhaps the most expansive in terms of monetization methods, offering a platform for chatting shopping, gaming and even banking.
According to Gregory Gunn, global vice president of business development at social media management system HootSuite, although it is not yet clear how these apps will monetize, he said he was confident this would be figured out further down the road.
Gunn said messaging apps had already conquered the first hurdle in terms of getting people's attention.
(Read more: Can Japan's answer to WhatsApp take on the world?)
"It's not often that you see a technology that has the ability to have a billion users," he said. "We're still in the nascent process with these messaging apps and perhaps defining what their upper tier is will come with time. As long as you have someone's attention and they are inside your system then there's a whole slew of ways you can make money," he added.
Acquisitions of smaller, niche social networking sites is set to be trend in 2014, analysts told CNBC. Already we have seen Japanese online retailer Rakuten buy Viber, while there were rumors of SoftBank looking at buying a stake in LINE last month, and the most recent being Facebook's buyout of WhatsApp.
"Acquisitions along the lines of Facebook and WhatsApp will continue, as the mobile real estate wars gather pace. Messaging and video will be the battlegrounds I think – both are evolving at a fast pace as phones get ever more powerful," said Stylus's Ward.
IDC's Mortensen told CNBC that a key headwind for these messaging apps will be conquering the challenge of moving into new geographies. He gave the example of WeChat which is popular in China and South East Asia, but has so far failed to crack Europe and North America.
"The battleground will be emerging markets. In this battle, size matters - people will only join messaging apps if the people they communicate with are already on it. On the other hand things can change quickly," he said.
—By CNBC's Katie Holliday: Follow her on Twitter @hollidaykatie