You may remember that last year Facebook paid $22 billion for WhatsApp, the popular mobile messaging service. Compared to the $1 billion Facebook paid for Instagram, it may seem that Mr. Zuckerberg overpaid for WhatsApp. But following a recent announcement it sounds like it still may be too early to tell.
WhatsApp now has more than 700 million monthly active users — up from around 600 million this past summer — according to its CEO, Jan Koum.
“Additionally, every day our users now send over 30 billion messages,” Koum stated in a Facebook post earlier this month.
Bottom line, WhatsApp now has more users than any other similar app, including Facebook Messenger, and has become an alternative to text messaging for many people around the world. But Facebook is hoping it can be much more.
In earnings calls with investors, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg (aka Zuck) said he expects WhatsApp to contribute to the company’s bottom line, but not until it reaches roughly a billion users. With early January’s announcement, the billion-user mark may soon be approaching.
At a recent “town hall” meeting, Zuck stated that messaging is now “one of the few things that people actually do more than social networking. In a lot of countries, we’ll see that maybe 85% of the people who are online will use Facebook, but maybe 95% of people — or in some places 99% — will use SMS or sent text messages,” Zuckerberg said.
Adding to Zuck’s excitement, Facebook recently said its distinct Messenger app had been downloaded more than 500 million times.
Like the success of Instagram, a growing WhatsApp means that Facebook can rely a little less on the popularity of its flagship social network.
With around 1.35 billion users, Facebook has never been more popular. Yet a recent report from Frank N. Magid Associates found that younger users continue to move away from the social giant. So, new acquisitions like WhatsApp and Instagram — both incredibly popular with younger users — certainly provide some security
Looking ahead, Koum added: “We’re even more excited to keep building a great product in 2015.”
So, it looks like WhatsApp is wildly popular. It’s interesting that I don’t know a single person who uses it. Probably because I’m old. Or, it may be explained by the fact that much of WhatsApp’s popularity comes from outside of the USA. Here, where unlimited texting plans abound, we don’t have as much of a need for WhatsApp. I’m sure that Zuck & Mr. Koum will figure out a way to change that. Mark my words, stay tuned for new features …
In closing, GO WhatsApp! I can’t wait to see what you’ve got coming.
For more on WhatsApp check out this post from Social Media & Marketing Daily