“Does every ‘ad guru’ have their PowerPoint updated to include WhatsApp?” Chris Copeland, chief executive (CEO) of GroupM Next, tweeted this tongue-in-cheek comment when news of Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition of the U.S. mobile messaging app broke on Tuesday.
We Are Social, a London-based social media agency, has produced a few infographics to provide context on the massive buyout.
According to the chart above, WhatsApp adds 1 million users every day, with 50 billion messages sent via the mobile platform worldwide.
“With [the] WhatsApp addition to Facebook’s portfolio, the social giant will now be able to tap into a huge wealth of data about real-time social interactions and understand the fluid dynamics between people in a way that its existing platform doesn’t do,” Simon Kemp, Singapore-based managing director for We Are Social, explains in an email.
He hopes Facebook will not monetize WhatsApp through advertising and suggests it offer real-time customer service offerings for brands or explore its foray to replace SMS marketing.
WhatsApp is not without competitors in the mobile messaging space. China’s Tencent-owned WeChat or Weixin, which launched two years after WhatsApp and in its early days was coined a “clone,” is fast becoming the hottest social network among advertisers in the country.
Based on statistics from the companies’ internal data (refer to image above), WhatsApp has 400 million active members, which still ranks ahead of WeChat, which has 272 million.
WhatsApp prides itself on its “No ads! No games! No gimmicks!” policy, a simple user interface, and zero marketing, which it says makes it stand out from competitors.
In contrast, WeChat rolled out an aggressive TV campaign in 15 countries that featured sports star Lionel Messi to promote its service outside of China last August, as part of its plans for global expansion.
Korean company Naver Corp’s LINE and KakaoTalk are two other notable Asian chat apps that are rapidly adding members to their user bases and have ambitions to expand internationally.
Both apps do not reveal active user data but We Are Social estimates that each of them has around 100 million active users, mostly from Asia in South Korea, Japan, and Indonesia.
Just last week, Rakuten, Japan’s e-commerce platform, paid $900 million to buy Israeli chat app Viber to strengthen its mobile commerce and content play, which appears to now pale in comparison to Facebook’s latest purchase.
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