The Marketing Value of WhatsApp for Facebook

$19 Billion. It is not a bad day to be a stakeholder in the mobile messaging company started by Jan Koum and Brian Acton in 2009. Facebook’s purchase of the CA-based start-up is a clear message to its competitors – with access to more than 450 million WhatsApp monthly users added on top of its own billion-plus user base, the social media giant doesn’t just want to be part of the conversation. It wants to moderate it and in many ways, direct it.

There are troves of blogs and articles trending today, everyone weighing in on various iterations of the same question – is this massive acquisition worth it. For us, we are quite curious as to how this plays out from a marketing standpoint. There is still so much unknown about the return on social media, yet we have seen such massive buys in the industry over the past few years – Instagram (also Facebook), Tumblr (Yahoo), Nest (Google), and now WhatsApp just to name a few. Of course, we can’t forget about Twitter’s IPO. One is left to wonder – where is the pain point? Where is the true value and opportunity to be earned or gained? We ask rhetorically, in one sense. Historically, a great many battles have been fought over control of strategically vital resources – land, water, oil. Is this a different type of battle? Fought over access? Over the personal information of consumers?

We would love to be a fly on the wall at Facebook headquarters today. Just to hear the brainstorming of potential possibilities in generating revenue from this tiny, 55-person staffed tech venture. What do you think they would be batting around?

You can find a link to an article about the purchase on CNN Money here.