A lot of people were intrigued when Facebook announced it was buying the rapidly growing messaging app WhatsApp for an astonishing $19 billion in February last year. Back then, WhatsApp announced that it had “more than 450 million” monthly average users and was gaining one million more users per month. Even then, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg said that WhatsApp was “on a path to connect one billion people.”
A check of that amount will always generate attention, but the amount of money spent on purchasing WhatsApp was not the only thing that generated attention – there was also the matter of Messenger, Facebook’s own texting app. Obviously there was not enough room for both apps on the market to. But it looks like Zuckerberg has made the right call, and both WhatsApp and Messenger may surpass Facebook according to a recent study.
At this moment, the top five messaging applications combined 3 billion MAUs. WhatsApp has doubled its plateau, approaching one billion MAUs, since Facebook has purchased it, now stands at over 900 million. Facebook Messenger has now over 700 million MAUs, more than double compared with the previous year. Positioning Messenger as a stand-alone application, same as WhatsApp, has come a long way leading to a exponential jump in users. Not surprisingly, given the emergence of smartphones across the globe, many of WhatsApp and Messenger MAUs are of the mobile variety.
WhatsApp Messenger doubled in size in the last year or so, while Twitter’s increase in MAUs was stagnant at best. Obviously, Facebook WhatsApp and Messenger are filling a niche that Twitter simply can not fill, and apparently this difference will continue to grow.
A fresh report from eMarketer shows that an estimated 1.4 billion out of 3 billion of MAUs will use a smartphone to contact other persons by the end of the year, an increase of 30% compared with last year. In other words 75% of the phone owners world wide are using a messaging app and the trend is expected to continue. In addition to that, eMarketer said that within three years 80% of the mobile phone users will use a messaging app lie WhatsApp or Messenger, based on this predictions WhatsApp and Messenger could exceed Facebook itself in sheer volume.
Big numbers, but what they mean for investors?
Whe asked about monetization plans for WhatsApp, Zuckerberg’s answer was consistent for the past year: Facebook will explore alternative revenue once it reaches 1 billion MAU. At the current rate, that will brobably be at the end of the year.