WhatsApp is a messaging application that lets 450 monthly visitors users text, IM, and share media. The service also includes voice video video messages for individuals or groups. The appeal of this application is that it sends messages through your phone’s data network or a Wi-Fi connection. This way, it doesn’t cut into your monthly text allotment, if you still have one.
Facebook made a surprising purchase on WhatsApp and for it’s popularity, it is still relatively unknown to most people. Keep in mind, Facebook bought Instagram for a mere $1 billion, in comparision to WhatsApp. As CEO Mark Zuckerberg explains, “Our explicit strategy for the next several years is to focus on growing and connecting everyone in the world… Once we get to being a service with 1 billion, 2 billion, 3 billion people, there are many clear ways that we can monetize. I don’t personally think ads are the right way to monetize messaging.”
For one, if the cost of text messaging is a concern for you WhatsApp is an affordable solution. The application is free for the first year and $.99 for every year after that. If you’re a current user, you should be interested in what Facebook has in store for the application, including cost.
Privacy is also another concern. While WhatsApp’s stance on advertising on the application is firm (they don’t believe in using ads on the app), it will be interesting to see what changes, if any, will be made now that Facebook has bought it. With many privacy hiccups in the past, Facebook hasn’t exactly been the ideal image of trust when it comes to user privacy. This will also transfer to WhatsApp because of Facebook’s acquisition.
There are two things you can take away from Facebook’s move in purchasing WhatsApp. First, Zuckerberg is quick to acknowledge that Facebook Ads aren’t the right place for the company to expect to make all their money. In other words, don’t put your eggs all in once basket and diversify your investments. Marketers can take this as good advice and not invest their budget into just one channel. It’s crucial to find the right marketing mix (multiple marketing channels) for your business.
Also, you might have also heard the inspiring story behind WhatsApp’s founder, Brian Acton. The former Yahoo engineer was turned down for positions at both Twitter and Facebook previously. Now, he holds the title for “biggest Silicon Valley acquisition in history”! Persistence and hard work pays off. Remember that, all you marketers out there!