What’s Up with WhatsApp?

You may not use WhatsApp, but the rest of the world does. And if you have no clue what WhatsApp is, then you probably live in the United States.

Written by Pacific Agency
on 10.15.16

Sit tight, read on, and get ready to ask yourself why you haven’t downloaded this technological beauty yet.

The app describes itself as a “cross-platform mobile messaging app,” and is currently available for iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Phone, Nokia, and Android. The best part? WhatsApp allows you to exchange unlimited messages without being charged SMS fees, simply by using your phone’s data plan for web browsing instead of for standard texting. Although similar platforms already existed, like Viber and Voxer, WhatsApp takes messaging to a whole different level.  Besides unlimited text messaging, you can also send unlimited audio messages, images, and videos. You can even place free phone call (yes, you can call any WhatsApp user for free!), group chats, and much more.

In addition, your first year after downloading the app is free, then users pay $0.99 annually. There are no ads, no games, and no gimmicks! Yes, that means no annoying pop-ups on your friends’ faces. Staying in touch with friends – especially foreign friends – has never been this cheap and easy.

WhatsApp was founded in 2009 by Brian Acton and Jan Koum, two former employees of Yahoo! that interviewed for positions at Facebook and Twitter with no success – only to have WhatsApp bought by Facebook in 2015 for 19 billion dollars. Too bad for Mark Zuckerberg, he can’t go back in time to those interviews. Also, the company has not used a single penny on marketing, PR, or user acquisition, depending solely on word of mouth and its progress. You read right, $0.00 on marketing.

The app is now considered the biggest messaging system globally, with more than 800 million users from all over the world and 30 billion messages sent and received daily.  Users spend an estimated 195 minutes using the app on a weekly basis, with 700 million pictures getting shared daily,  and 27% of selfies being shared through WhatsApp. If you’re already a WhatsApp addict, you have probably debated whether you love the new features, like the double blue checks for message read, or if you hate it. But let’s not go there, this post is a WhatsApp breakdown for newbies.

You can now ask yourself, “Where has WhatsApp been all my life?”

The real reason why WhatsApp is not a success in the United States is still unknown, however, there are a few hypotheses. The first being that the app simply doesn’t fulfill the American lifestyle; in other words, the existence of good SMS package plans in the United States keeps Americans away from needing a messaging tool for regular domestic communication. They use other tools, such as Google Voice, iMessage, or FaceTime. Nevertheless, these apps still fail when it comes to reaching an international audience.

With that said, Americans only discover the beauty and elegance of WhatsApp when they go overseas, after they’ve realized how difficult it can be to keep in touch with loved ones back home on a daily basis. People still debate on why some people abroad, even with good SMS packages, still choose WhatsApp over other options. The answer is simple: WhatsApp offers more than just convenient messaging, but a complete, fun, and useful communication tool.