In February 2014, WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook for a staggering $19 billion. This messaging and voice app is extremely popular in Europe, but it’s barely reached the shores of America (with only an 8% user penetration).
However, WhatsApp was becoming just big enough to threaten Facebook’s plans to launch their own voice-messaging app – so they decided to take out the competition by acquiring them for a staggering amount that seemed mind-blowing at the time.
Now, just one year later, more people are starting to realize what a smart move Facebook made. Facebook saw the way the trends were going, and realized that messaging was becoming more important than ever. WhatsApp was already knocking it out of the park; so rather than reinvent the wheel, Facebook decided to buy it instead.
Facebook’s acquirement of WhatsApp only proves the power of messaging, whether it’s via text or voice. People want to communicate with each other in-app – and the more messaging abilities you provide your users within your app, the more likely it is that you can transform yourself into your own WhatsApp success story.
WhatsApp’s valuation didn’t happen in a vacuum; in fact, when it comes to the popularity of in-app messaging and chat, the writing’s been on the wall for some time. WhatsApp had been primarily used in Asia and Europe, but hadn’t reached really penetrated American shores.
But despite the fact that WhatsApp hadn’t made it to America yet, it’s important to note that it capitalized on one of the most fundamental truths about apps:
The most popular apps are messaging apps!
Think about it: What are the apps that you use the most? For most people, it’s probably some form of social media, like Facebook. If you’re a Millennial, you might say Snapchat; if you’re a woman, you might say Pinterest is your favorite app. All of these apps serve different communities with different products, but they all have one thing in common: they let their users connect with each other without having to leave the app or network.
Not convinced about the power of messaging? Let’s take a look at another Cinderella story that had a little run in with Facebook: Snapchat.
Chances are, you’ve heard of this popular app before. Users can enjoy “fast and fun mobile conversation” by taking and texting photos to one another, only to have these photos disappear after a few seconds (of course, nothing really disappears, but that’s a blog post for another time). More teenagers and Millennials are ditching Facebook in favor of Snapchat, and it shows: their most recent valuation estimated their worth at a whopping $20 billion.
We bet the folks over at Facebook – who attempted to buy Snapchat for just $3 billion back in 2013 – really kicking themselves right now, considered they’ve seriously failed to replicate the success of Snapchat after getting spurned by the popular messaging app.
With this in mind, it’s easy to see why Facebook jumped the gun on WhatsApp – they didn’t want a repeat of the Snapchat fiasco, especially since WhatsApp was already gaining major popularity in Asia and Europe.
So what can you learn from WhatsApp’s success story?
Whether you already have an app in place or your company’s just building a new app, messaging matters – so make sure you have it. Here are a few ways you can use in-app messaging to replicate your own WhatsApp Cinderella story:
With more apps than ever including in-app messaging, your users are expecting apps to streamline communication. So why not use this to your advantage by using in-app messaging and voice to cultivate your brand’s super fans? Ask your users for feedback regarding any changes your company could make to improve the app, your products, or even your brand. The more you reach out to your app users, the more likely it is you’ll create Super Fans.
If you give your users the ability to reach out to a customer service agent within the app, you’ll make it that much easier for them to get the answers they need to important questions. Streamlining the customer service experience can help create a more fan base of your brand.
Apps that offer an organic and intuitive user experience are more likely to have users come back again and again – and that’s how you create the kind of app that users love.
If you haven’t already included messaging and voice functions in your brand’s app, it’s time to jump off the fence and get on board. More apps are discovering incredible success through simple messaging features, which gets to the heart of what these apps are all about: helping users communicate with one another.
Listen to your users – they want to talk to one another. Make it possible for your app users to communicate with one another – without leaving the app – and you’ll discover that you just might be the next Cinderella story we’re writing about.
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