The digital community was abuzz recently when Facebook announced that it would be acquiring WhatsApp (and its 55 employees) for a whopping $19 billion. Yes, you read that correctly. $19 billion. The forthcoming purchase of WhatsApp makes the $1 billion that Facebook spent to acquire Instagram back in 2012 seem like peanuts.
So what is WhatsApp and what makes it $18 billion more valuable than the extremely popular Instagram platform? According to OnDevice Research, WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app for smartphones. The app has nearly 450 million users and acquires a lofty 1 million new users each day. Facebook’s standalone messaging app currently ranks second to WhatsApp. The purchase of WhatsApp will certainly strengthen Facebook’s positioning in the saturated app-based messaging-sphere. TechCrunch reports that the app already processes as many messages as the telecom industry and that its growth is accelerating so rapidly that it is poised to surpass SMS.
In a recent report, WhatsApp users are credited for sending 16 billion messages per day and receive 32 billion messages per day, for a total of 48 billion messages handled. Separately, the users send 500 million images per day, which surpasses Snapchat’s daily sum of 400 million images.
The acquisition certainly proves that Facebook is not oblivious to the unavoidable and ever-changing market trends and affirms that mobile messaging cannot be ignored. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion people.
WhatsApp will also help Facebook gain traction in the highly sought after teen/tween market who have been leaving the platform for—you guessed it!—messaging apps. Lastly, the acquisition will strengthen Facebook’s legs in Europe and Latin America where WhatsApp is widely popular. Facebook has been striving to grow its presence in both regions for some time.
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