A new member of successful communications apps is now here – WhatsApp now has 800 million active users. This has numerous implications for everyone who is involved in marketing.
Understanding Why the WhatsApp Revolution Happened
The revolution of text meant that people did not have to pay for phone time in order to get a message to someone else. The telecommunications companies soon found a way to wiggle a profit into that market. WhatsApp foiled them again, providing the general public a way to send text messages without having to pay for SMS.
Furthering the WhatsApp revolution was the fact that the program was cross application, meaning that people could use it no matter what mobile device they had. iPhone users could talk to Blackberry users. Android users could talk to Nokia users. Each of these companies had tried to increase their own revenues by blocking communication with their competition, and WhatsApp completely blew this business model out of the water.
The real advantage of WhatsApp was in the commerce that it provided, not just in the private social applications. Businesses that previously paid hundreds of dollars per month in order to stay in contact with colleagues, clients and partners suddenly found their communications budgets wide open. The business community flocked to WhatsApp in droves.
The Scale of the Numbers
WhatsApp is the first mobile app that is based around communications that has grown this big. In comparison, Facebook has one billion users, but that site originated in the desktop era and took much longer to reach that milestone. Even Twitter, the number one app for communications across the board, has less total users than WhatsApp currently.
What This Means for Marketers
Public relations professionals and marketers are chomping at the bit to find ways to get their hands on this consolidation of people brought together by WhatsApp. Never before has there been a single way to promote to a cross-platform audience of virtually any targeted demographic. Across borders and corporate lines, WhatsApp has created the ultimate consumer pool.
Currently the app itself does not have any ads, but if Facebook is any indication, this narrative will soon change. It is definitely in the best interests of marketers and PR agents to watch what Mark Zuckerberg and his team do to create value for the new app now that the audience for it has been created in spades.
And in business with the company since the early days has been Allison & Partners, who was paid $10,000 per month when the company had only a handful of employees.
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