That’s what I first thought when I heard about the WhatsApp acquisition and to be quite honest – I’m still thinking that. How in the hell are you going to monetize a messaging service?!!?!? You can’t charge for it? It’s free now and the barriers to leave the service are nonexistent. (500k users left the first day after the announcement.)
Well, I ‘m here to tell you that they will be monetizing the service by monitoring conversations and then presenting you with advertising when you’re on the Facebook app, Instagram and eventually Facebook Paper. You may have noticed I didn’t mention Facebook.com. There is a good reason for that.
Facebook, who waited 2 years to put a mobile application out, completely understands user behavior and the inexorable push towards apps that embody primary consumer behaviors. Such as:
- Content creation/sharing = Instagram
- Content consumption = Facebook Paper
- Messaging = Facebook Messenger + WhatsApp
Facebook is splintering into a series of apps because of this shift in consumer behavior. They have to, but this also puts them head-to-head with competing apps. Which is why, WhatsApp was acquired. Still not sure about the whole $19 billion part.