How would you monetize Whatsapp/Instant Messaging?

Zuckerburg lost his patience on finding an innovative way to monetize Instagram and went for the traditional "Sponsored ADS" popping every 5-6 posts on your feed. The implementation features the same systems that analyze and target you depending on your behavior.

However, the big question remains, how would he be able to fully monetize Whatsapp, his biggest acquisition to date with a 21 Billion $ Price tag?

Among all the social media platforms we use, monetizing Instant Messaging seems to be the hardest. It is actually a real challenge to do that without messing with the experience and privacy of IM Platforms.

Let's discuss.

Comments (23)

Oct 16, 2016

In February 2016 there were a recorded 1 billion monthly active users, charge one dollar a year as a subscription fee which is less than a damn can of coke these days.

Oct 17, 2016

The problem with that is that there are so many free messaging apps that most people wouldn't be tempted to pay.

Oct 18, 2016

Just to play devil's advocate, what about the cost of switching? Sure, there's no monetary cost, but if most of your friends are using Whatsapp, you cannot simply switch to another messaging app unless all of your friends do as well.

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Oct 16, 2016

I think it's pretty simple. Instead of charging the user you can create a contract with a telecommunications company for exclusivity or ask money from telecommunications providers if they want their customers to be able to use whatsapp.

OR

You do not monetize instant-messaging at all and admit that you're an idiot for paying 21 billion $ for a messaging app.

Oct 17, 2016
Name Of Profit:

ask money from telecommunications providers if they want their customers to be able to use whatsapp.

I believe this violates net neutrality?

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Oct 17, 2016

whatsapp is huge here in Argentina (text messages are expensive)

yeah i disagree on the subscription model here, at least for how the current version is.

with that many users, integrated advertising and/or perhaps a premium version would be the way to go imo

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Oct 18, 2016

It's pretty big in Europe too, where the idea of a cell phone contract is pretty foreign. I message my family and several friends all the time with Whatsapp. I do not know anyone living in Europe who sends traditional text messages.

Best Response
Oct 17, 2016

Free, Premium, Business.

There should be a free usage for a certain number of text messages. Something that 80% of people fall into. For those 20% who are pumping out tons and tons of messages, a very cheap subscription model. $2USD/month.

Then create a more business friendly version of WhatsApp. Great encryption, maybe some kind of sharing service with the new Facebook at Work which they're rolling out. Integrate it with Slack or Salesforce so it becomes the center of the "business comms" services.

I could see companies doing all company interactions over WhatsApp so that way there is a paper trail, and so that way you can know when someone's received important messages.

Imagine being able to reference an email in a text message by attaching it, knowing its a secured network. Would be huge.

"It is better to have a friendship based on business, than a business based on friendship." - Rockefeller.

"Live fast, die hard. Leave a good looking body." - Navy SEAL

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Oct 17, 2016

Why do you think Zuckerberg is pushing so hard into chat bots and AI? He has the platform that people use to send and receive messages from their phone. What if you could use that platform on a fee based plan to get information and have things taken care of for you with AI and other automated processes?

Also lets you get across phone networks...there are like 3x more people on android than there are on iOS in the world. You are not limited to iMessage or whatever else kids use these days.

Oct 17, 2016

Advertising makes the most sense. There are superior messaging apps to Whatsapp. The reason they don't enjoy the same popularity is they cost money. Advertisements/premium ad-free is FB best bet to monetize without losing a significant portion of their customer base. After all, the network effect is Whatsapp's value add, and losing users means they lose their competitive advantage. Light, integrated ads, like we see on FB's timeline, slowly added (no pun intended), will minimize user attrition.

"Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face."

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Oct 17, 2016

id just embed the ads in the background every once in awhile. if ads werent so clunky and didnt slow things down so much i wouldnt mind them. there is a european version of dropbox that does exactly this..

alpha currency trader wanna-be

Oct 17, 2016

Charge for it

Oct 17, 2016

Me thinks someone got assigned the HBS case study in school.

Oct 17, 2016

What if companies which want to advertise have a verified account (something with a check next to it maybe) and can basically message you a link to whatever they are advertising so they fall in your regular whatsapp inbox and from there, treat it like regular ad revenue in which FB would get a certain % of each "click" on sent links?

Oct 18, 2016

if they were to charge, they could maybe get away with charging users to use web.whatsapp.com, just a thought

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Oct 19, 2016

However if they do that, they should also remove the requirement of being connected to the same Wifi network on your phone.

This is pretty annoying especially when you lock your phone, it seems to automatically disconnect from wifi until you unlock it again, which makes the web app disconnect.

Oct 19, 2016

yeah i agree with you on that

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Oct 18, 2016

You could have micro transactions attached to the app. For example pay one cent to use this emoji or some image. Though that would pave the way for competitors would could just release the same exact thing but without the micro transaction.

The app has to capture the entire market at once and then beat back any competitors the second they pop up if they were using its products, assuming they could be patented. I just don't think it's possible.

I'm not a real banker though...

Oct 19, 2016

How about turning it into "Skype"? You need to add "credentials" to your account if you wish to call outside of the country or non whats app users? Keep the local/user-to-user free as well as the texting?

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Oct 19, 2016

He already "semi"-messed up that opportunity for himself by making whatsapp calls free for everyone.

The remaining "semi" is for those calling people who dont have a whatsapp on the other end, however those people are rare. Everyone has a data package & skype, whatsapp, FB IM, Instagram Direct, Snapchat these days.

Those who can't afford the data package can definitely not afford international calls $$$.

I actually believe he should have kept the "Whatsapp Calls Feature" as part of a Premium Package, 1$ or so, and right there in the upper right corner of the screen for standard users without being able to use it. Pretty tempting, it will drive them to subscribe to Premium.

Oct 20, 2016
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Oct 21, 2016