WhatsApp the world famous cross platform messaging application is now close to having a billion users. The application was purchased by Facebook two years and since then the platform has been revamped with several updates.
WhatsApp has competition from other messenger applications such as Line, Telegram and Viber. Though these companies have not been able to overtake WhatsApp , they have established their own loyal customer base and innovative tools on their app. This means WhatsApp needs to keep improving to stay in the race.
Some of the recently updated features on WhatsApp
This feature was added after several privacy concerns raised by users regarding the safety of their messages. Earlier the messages transmitted through WhatsApp could be easily interpreted and read by any third person. But with end-to-end encryption, the users have been given the guarantee that apart from the sender and the receiver nobody will be able to read the messages.
In the initial stages, WhatsApp has the facility to share photos, videos and audios. Since the year 2016, WhatsApp has provided the option for sharing documents. Documents of PDF and word format can be shared.
This feature is yet to make its appearance in the WhatsApp application. But this is the most expected update since the rivals of WhatsApp have introduces the feature in their applications.
When Facebook decided to buy Whatsapp for 19 billion dollars it created a buzz for the deal was placed at such a high price. At that time the only revenue the developers had was through subscription charges. The charges were at 99 cent which never fetched a huge amount for the developers, to strike a deal of such amount. Also the developers were never in favor of advertisements within the application.
But when one looks deeper into the business of both the products, they were designed to communicate online. This makes Whatsapp a rival for Facebook.
After the purchase Whatsapp founder Jan Koum announced that the subscription charges will be dropped and made free for life. One of the major reasons for dropping the charges was many users from developing countries do not have access to credit cards to make an online payment. This leads to limitation on the growth of user base.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg during the deal told the developers of the application to concentrate in raising the number of users rather than the revenues.
How does the deal benefit Facebook?
Facebook is for free so how do they make money through it? Here the user is the commodity whose interests are sold to companies who advertise over Facebook.
Our search history and our activities within the sites the pages we like all become factors to decide what to advertise over the site. Target advertising is what fetches money and make facebook founder the 6th richest man in the world.
Apart from advertising there are promoted posts and content which is also a source of revenue.
The revenue generator for Facebook is more number of users and data that we provide them in the form of our likes and brand interests.
How does Whatsapp help Facebook in this aspect?
With WhatsApp there is lot of data available to Facebook. There is an update which integrates the data of WhatsApp onto Facebook. So the activities on WhatsApp are accesses and analyzed by Facebook.
This means the contacts you chat with and the conversations. This would give them better targeted advertisements when you use Facebook. Apart from that it will show you the feeds from people whom you chat with regularly on Whatsapp.
This according to the company is providing a better users experience. When you receive posts of people who you are in regular touch with means you tend to spend more time on Facebook.
Targeted advertisements increase the click rate eventually leading to more revenue.
However this is not well received by many users and privacy concern activists. There are already various accusation over Facebook over the lack of concern for users privacy, Added to this are the comments of Mark Zuckerburg stating that people no longer care for privacy, which f raises more concerns.
The integration is provided to users and they can opt out of it by accessing the settings and the option will never appear again. But many argue that the takeover by Facebook made the number of user moving towards telegram and other messaging service a little higher. However it is just a claim made by the companies and not a proven fact.
So what people hate the fact Facebook took over Whatsapp?
One of the major differences between both the platforms despite being used to keep in touch with friends is the personalized feel that WhatsApp has.
Facebook no longer has that personalized feel. We have so many people on friend lists that we do not care to even know whether we know those people or not.
It is no longer sharing your data with just friends and family. It has become more of a virtual public life. But WhatsApp is virtual personal life.
You can see only people who are in your contact book of phone and not everyone you just met.
Now Facebook taking over Whatsapp and integrating it means there is a loss of this feel. You are giving away way too much of information to be publicized.
You may be talking about your skin problem to your friend and even seeing laser skin treatments over facebook advertisement. People expect some amount of personal boundaries and not everything getting mixed up in the virtual world.
Its simplicity will be lost
Another reason that makes us love WhatsApp is its simplicity it is not cluttered with promotional contents and advertisements. It is a simple app for simple uses. But with Facebook deciding to bring its integration sure it will look at innovative ways to monetize through the platform.
Today businesses do not have anything special to take away from WhatsApp , though there are organizations that use their WhatsApp accounts to chat with customers but there are no tools to enhance this connection.
There are restaurants which let customers interact with them for table reservations and also services which bring groceries through WhatsApp .
Soon there will be official accounts that will let organizations and businesses communicate with other users to promote and communicate with users.
They can send bulk messages, and any queries of customers can replied through automated bots.
For example, you can communicate with your bank regarding the status of transactions and other details.
This provides a faster reach towards customers. At present Telegram provides official accounts and almost 80 percent of the people follow at least one of the brands.
The popular business on the platform includes the likes of McDonald.
In the future we can see a lot of changes on how WhatsApp will operate. One can hope in this process the application does not lose its simplicity and elegance which in the first place attracted so many users across the world.
Author: Anand Rajendran is CEO and Co-Founder of Zoplay, best PHP scripts Development Company located in India. Zoplay is a part of Casperon Technologies a leading social and mobile development company which is developing, leading innovative and collaborative software development teams to deliver major software applications like SCIMBO – Whatsapp Clone Script. He is a Tech geek, Digital marketing expert, Entrepreneur, and Atheist who loves to write everything about PHP Scripts and mobile application development.