A gem for social media apps, WhatsApp is technically a cross-platform messenger in its development. Connecting people by exchanging messages without having to worry about charges that may apply, you can send and share files, videos, and photos, at no cost at all.
To utilize this messenger, an Internet data plan or Wi-Fi connectivity is needed but other than that, it is very easy to use. Most people prefer this over other messaging apps due to its flexibility of use on other phones as it can still run on some feature phones.
History of WhatsApp
WhatsApp had a humble history when Brian Acton and Jan Koum left “Yahoo!” on September 2007. Afterwards, the two of them went so South America in search of greener pastures. They tried applying for Facebook, but both were rejected. From then on, Jan Koum relied on his $400,000 savings from Yahoo.
When iPhone slowly gained popularity, in 2009, Koum contacted Alex Fishman and the trio discussed ideas for potential apps on the App Store. They needed a developer to materialize their ideas so Fishman contacted Russian Igor Solomennikov via “RentACoder.com”.
From then on, the app materialized as Koum went on to incorporate WhatsApp Inc. on February 24, 2009 in California. Initially, the Koum was disheartened as the app crashed constantly at certain points but as Apple launched push notifications, the problem was resolved.
On November 9, 2009, the application launched exclusively on the App Store for messaging and was made a paid service in order to grow slowly and steadily. In December, the application was greatly improved as Photos were then allowed to be sent as well.
By 2011, WhatsApp was listed in the Top 20 apps for Apple’s US App Store. In February 2013, the application had over 200 million active users and 50 staff as its value grew to $1.5 billion.
Marketing and how your information is gathered
WhatsApp is a unique messaging app that is direct to its point. However, with this feature comes a lot of room for marketing. There is a lot of potential for direct communication with people and sending marketing offers to different people.
A good way to start off with marketing in WhatsApp is to establish a good follower contact base. With this, it becomes easier to find contacts to market. As the application is relatively organized, it is much simpler to get things across with a good amount of people to contact.
So far, direct marketing is the easiest and best way to showcase what you have to offer. Besides that, it is much more cost-effective than other social media sites that require several options and algorithms to toggle with. Many prefer to market here due to its high rate of opt ins and brands prefer the user base in the application for its organized state.
As for information gathered, WhatsApp automatically compares phone numbers from the used devices’ phone book and synchronizes them for the application’s base.
Evolution and features
Through the app and with a connection online, it uses the active contacts on your phone so that you may contact other friends with the application and connect with them instantly for free. You may also opt to share your contact – a feature other apps don’t have – to create more connections. For some people, WhatsApp is a better and easier to use application compared to others.
The evolution of WhatsApp was made surely but gradually. It introduced its market only after testing its waters on the relatively new but high potential App Store. Although there were doubts due to the app’s malfunctions in the beginning, the developers pushed through and have added new features up to its release in the global app market. And with that, it has become a famous social media platform and messaging app.
The basic functions of messaging, voice calling, sending photos, and videos are the primary movers of the application. However, there are also some great features in WhatsApp that you can utilize for your convenience, including:
- See when messages are exactly read to properly keep track of time when necessary.
- Create shortcuts for contacts that you have in order to message them faster.
- Take note of the amount of data you’re using to budget what you have.
- Save messages as you back up and restore them on your phone or tablet if ever you need to look back important texts.
- Lock the application for security and privacy purposes.
- Make chatheads for WhatsApp contacts.
- Get notifications from the app to your desktop which then appears on it’s right side.
- Share your location by opening a chat window, clicking the paperclip icon, and choosing the option “send current location”.
Acquisition by Facebook
As a popular messaging app, Facebook took interest in the application and bought it for a staggering $19 billion on February 19, 2014. At that time, it was considered as one of the largest acquisitions to date. The payment was divided such that $4 billion cash, $12 billion worth of Facebook shares, and $3 billion in restricted shares was given to the founders, Koum and Acton.
Come August 2014, WhatsApp became the biggest social media messaging application with over 600 million users worldwide. Fast forward to February 2016, the app had 1 billion subscribers, retaining the crown for most popular messaging application.
Benefits and criticism
WhatsApp’s popularity can be traced back on its beginning. When it was launched in 2009, it was the first of its kind, a messaging app not relying on SMS but on internet connection. It paved the way for the new messaging apps we have today and was very unique on its release.
SMS was becoming too expensive and people were becoming too wary of using them for their lessening popularity. WhatsApp was made for mobile and as such generated the charm of phone users. It came at a perfect time and by word of mouth and popularity from people, it quickly grew to what it is now.
Another benefit is the instant identification that utilizes your phone’s number without the hassle of creating a new account. Just get the app and it identifies the number as a unique user. It then adds and connects all the contacts automatically if they also have the application.
Criticisms for the application are mostly on its security and privacy issues. Last 2011, there was a security hole on the app that left some accounts open for hacking. Since then there have been a lot of security holes in the application including one last 2012 where German Tech site The H showed how to hack any account on WhatsApp.
Most also doubt about the security of their privacy as the application required users to have their address book on WhatsApp’s servers so they would see who is available. Though this had good premise, the threat of having contacts from non-app users shown on their servers raised a lot of eyebrows.
Things you might not know
One of the most interesting facts about WhatsApp is that it invested nothing on marketing ads. As there are no ads, gimmicks, or anything, it saved resources and other algorithms in producing the best in the application.
Currently, on its daily usage, about 700 million pictures and 100 million videos are shared on the app daily. 72% of its total users open the app daily and the average user checks the app about 23 times a day.