Compared to last week, we just have one newcomer among the 8 most downloaded images on StickPNG: Whatsapp logo. And a swift comeback (Soundcloud), probably boosted by their recent $70m debt funding round. In 2015, the Berlin-based company was still losing more than twice the amount of its revenues: EUR 51m vs EUR 21m. Curious to see how they will attempt to turn things around to make a profit, which is also the challenge faced by Spotify, Deezer & the other streaming services. Music is a tough business!
Eight years. 1.2B MAU.
The first version of Whatsapp was released in January 2009, 8 years ago. Whatsapp was acquired by Facebook in February 2014 for a whopping $19.3B! It has now more than 1.2B monthly active users, which makes it the most popular messaging app in the world, closely followed by Messenger, another Facebook product.
Whatsapp has usually been considered as a no-frills alternative to SMS, hence its success in developing countries with very low bandwidth, whereas Messenger has been increasingly positioned as the Western counterpart of Asian chat apps like WeChat or Line, with a richer platform-like approach, as confirmed by the launch of Messenger Bots at F8 in April 2016.
But we’ve recently noticed that Whatsapp is also moving towards a richer experience, introducing for instance its own Snapchat stories clone, called Status, a few weeks before the launch of Messenger Day.
Instagram, Whatsapp and Messenger now offer their own take on the popular “stories format” pioneered by Snapchat.
You can also create groups in Whatsapp and Messenger, very handy when you want to arrange a night out with friends. Bots still have to find their audience but some of them, enabling fans to chat with pop stars avatars, already seem pretty popular.
Facebook Messenger has recently announced the progressive roll out of smart (interactive) replies triggered by the content of conversation threads (quite similar to what you can already use in Gmail or in Google’s Allo messaging app).
I wonder what will be the next incremental improvements brought to these Facebook apps. I expect a better bot discovery engine, a better way for businesses to connect with Facebook users (business pages messaging channels are currently handled via a separate app, not via the Messenger hub, which tends to cause a delay in business owners responses) and also better integrations of a range of value added services (job board, marketplace, bookings,…).
Any other suggestions?