RSG: Marketers – Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp highlights your mobile challenge

InsightaaS: The Real Story Group is “a buyer’s advocate for enterprises looking to invest in content technologies” specializing in independent vendor evaluations. In this post, analyst Kashyap Kompella provides analysis on what Facebook’s “sticker-shock-defining” $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp means for mobile marketing. Kashaypp notes that “the silent plague of enterprise technology is [lack of] adoption…as many applications languish with insufficient uptake. He states that WhatsApp has avoided this pitfall, with 70% of its 450 million users active on a daily basis. He then looks at what drives strong take-up in the mobile social space, and adds some commentary on why “the combination of Facebook and WhatsApp is curious as they are a study in contrasts.”

When Facebook announced the acquisition of cross-platform mobile messaging tool WhatsApp for a “sticker-shock-defining” price of $19 billion, it stoked an immediate debate on whether Facebook overpaid. But setting aside valuation concerns, there are many interesting takeaways for enterprise technologists and digital marketers.

The silent plague of enterprise technology is adoption — frustrating project sponsors as many applications languish with insufficient uptake. We typically see two main culprits here: no clear “what’s in it for me,” and less than satisfactory user experience. The phenomenal rise and rise of WhatsApp — 450 million users, 70% of whom use it everyday — is due to cracking both these tough nuts.

While SMS was the killer app for early mobile customers, WhatsApp is SMS-plus for smartphones. It takes the classic use case of text messaging and nicely updates it to take advantage of the smartphone’s versatility — you can include location information, add pictures from the phone camera/photo album, and leave recorded voice messages – using either the cellular network or a local wi-fi. There are no passwords to remember; your phone number is your user id, and all the contact numbers stored in your phone automatically become part of your social network…

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