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WhatsApp’s fascinating growth: 1 billion monthly users

WhatsApp's community has doubled after joining Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg posted on his Facebook page, on February 1st,  a photo announcing that WhatsApp reached 1 billion users, which makes it the most popular messaging app in the world.

WhatsApp's community has doubled after joining Facebook. Zuckerberg: "We've added the ability for you to call loved ones far away. We've dropped the subscription fee and made WhatsApp completely free. Next, we're going to work to connect more people around the world and make it easier to communicate with businesses." WhatsApp's new approach is to make money through numerous business partnerships, since dropping the subscription fee.

Adobe Digital Index published a while ago a revealing study and Facebook was declared a clear leader in both paid and organic social media marketing efforts, that's why I assume WhatsApp's tremendous growth is no surprise. Eventually, having the Facebook marketing engine on your side will definitely make you a winner.

Reaching 1 billion users is very good news for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who initiated the $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp on the promise it could grow to become one of the world's most-used communication platforms. So while WhatsApp doesn't make any money, Facebook can certainly say it's popular -even more than Facebook Messenger, which just passed 800 million users. "There are only a few services that connect more than a billion people. This milestone is an important step towards connecting the entire world," Zuckerberg said.

Back in 2014, Facebook, which was advised by Allen & Co, paid $4 billion in cash, $12 billion in Facebook shares, and an additional $3 billion in restricted stock units granted to WhatsApp's founders (advised by Morgan Stanley), Jan Koum and Brian Acton.

WhatsApp had approximately 500 million monthly active users before Facebook acquired it and the small but very efficient team led by co-founder and CEO Jan Koum has almost doubled the user base in just one year, as a result of several investments and its ad-free stance. According to relevant financial data, WhatsApp's annual sales before the Facebook acquisition were near $11 million, mainly from charging certain users about a dollar a year for using it. Previously, the company offered some users a lifetime subscription for just one dollar, while the majority of users were offered the service free for the first year and some users had their free-use period extended few times in the last few years and they never paid for the service. In a recent post, the company admitted that its subscription-based business plan had not been fully successful.

Facebook said last month that it would eliminate the fee while WhatsApp would still remain an ad-free service. They will look into partnering with interested organizations, to open communication channels with its user base. What is terrific is the fact that mobile operators seek partnerships with Facebook and WhatsApp, so I strongly believe that WhatsApp will turn into profit sooner than expected.

Also, Whatsapp and Facebook decided to share user related information, that's why we will probably see our Whatsapp contacts as Facebook suggested friends. I would say:

Stay tuned for more exciting changes!

More Stories By Mihai Corbuleac

Mihai is an avid technology reader and occasional writer. He loves helping people and animals. Mihai is an IT consultant at ComputerSupport.com, an IT support company providing managed IT services, cloud computing and onsite support across the United States since 2006. His favorite areas include Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure infrastructures.

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