By now, most people will be well aware that Facebook has announced its intention to buy the popular messaging service, Whatsapp. The unprecedented sum of $16 billion comes hot off the heels of the recent Viber purchase by Rakuten for $900 million. Ultimately both buyouts will begin changing the face of social messaging, and what exactly this means for brands and consumers is still unclear.
While the figures may seem astronomical, especially compared to the $1 Billion paid out for Instagram, there’s some interesting stats behind Whatsapp which might make things a little more appealing, especially as Facebook looks to get that investment back.
– Whatsapp has circa 450 million active users per month, a number which easily outstrips even the likes of Twitter or Linkedin
– 70% of these are active on any given day
– Messaging volume is starting to outstrip global SMS with users sending 16 billion messages per day.
– Whatsapp has a small team of around 50 people and while it charges long term users a dollar a year, it has raised $20million previously in fudning.
– The buyout isn’t strictly straight forward, only $4 billion will be in cash, with the other $12 billion being Facebook shares, which I would imagine come with strict contracts to ensure that there’s no selling rush, harming the overall share price.
– The growth of the platform is, frankly, phenomenal – in October 2012, Forbes ran a piece describing it as the most popular network we’ve never heard of, with only 100 million users. A trend of growth that shows no sign of slowing.
Over the next day or so, I’ll look more at what this means for advertising and brands – it will definitely be exciting, particularly as it allows Facebook to capture a new market it singularly failed to with Facebook Messenger.
It also leaves Kik as pretty free to be snapped up by Google, or go down the Snapchat route, potentially becoming a serious competitor as users flee the platform due to the often, negative effects of a buy-out.