WhatsApp? Monetizing data. That’s what’s up!


$19 billion!??!?!?!!?

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.

By Michael Myers

I'm currently the Academic Director of the Denver MBA at the Daniels College of Business. I manage the student experience and enjoy helping our students acquire the leadership skills they need for the next phase of their professional journey.

I'm also an Associate Teaching Professor of Digital Marketing at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver. Since 2010, I've developed the 2nd most collegiate-level, digital marketing courses in the United States. I teach across a wide array of programs including Executive MBA, MBA@Denver, MS Marketing and Entrepreneurship.

I'm professionally passionate about digital culture, artificial intelligence and cognitive neuroscience. I'm married to an amazing woman and have two incredible children. I was raised in Colorado and spend my free time with family, cycling, snowboarding and going to the Pacific Ocean to SCUBA dive + surf.