Nowadays WhatsApp doesn’t make money in any direct way. It is a free program that is fully funded by the parent company, ie Meta. However, the popularity of the messenger app brings other types of gains and powers to it.
In this article we are going to talk a little more about this subject, about the power of influence of WhatsApp, what advantages it brings to Meta and how it can have a source of profit in the future.
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The power of WhatsApp influence
WhatsApp is a messaging and file exchange application that has been around since 2009 and was purchased in 2014 when Meta was still called Facebook Inc. Today it is the top app in this category, with a very advanced lead, as well as being one of the most downloaded apps worldwide in all categories.
In financial terms, WhatsApp does not have any form of profit, as it is completely free to use, has no ads and does not have any subscription model for the regular version. That’s why many people wonder: how does WhatsApp make money anyway?
As already stated, the app is not yet a source of financial return for its parent company. It’s Meta that pays the program’s operating costs, plus servers, staff, and all the advertising around it. However, it is still likely that in the future this will change, since for many years developers have been thinking about how to add forms of advertisements to the application.
But that hasn’t happened yet and there’s also a big chance that it won’t happen, since from the beginning WhatsApp has always been on the market with the aim of offering a free option for communication, ad-free and totally secure.
That’s why he is a leader in the market. This formula has made WhatsApp an irreplaceable application for many people and it is on the rise, with download numbers that continue to rise. Although this does not bring financial returns, it provides the company with other advantages, such as the power of influence.
In the messenger market, it is the most used, and this means that Meta can have the power to dictate how this market will work and move forward. This is what happens, for example, with Microsoft and its Windows and Office suite.
While there are other free and cheaper options, companies still pay high fees to use Office programs like Word for texts, Excel for spreadsheets, PowerPoint for presentations and even on Windows licenses because that’s what most workers are used to. . Inserting new programs or a new operating system could delay these jobs.
Messenger also brings important information to Meta
One of the pillars of WhatsApp is its security. The application has end-to-end encryption, which prevents the company from having access to the conversations or files that are sent by the messenger, unless the user allows it. When you report an account, for example, WhatsApp notifies you that it will have access to the last messages exchanged with the account that will be reported.
Therefore, its use guarantees great security. Still, they manage to gain access to some valuable information thanks to the data mining that the program provides. In this case, it has nothing to do with cryptocurrencies, but information about users’ habits without needing to know what they are talking about or having access to files.
It’s the metadata, which can indicate, for example, when the peak time is, that is, when people are most exchanging messages through the application. They also use metadata to know what types of files are uploaded the most, even if they don’t have access to them, such as large photos, smaller images, videos, etc.
It is also possible to have access to the user’s location to get an idea of the places where WhatsApp is most active, as well as other demographic data. Another example is knowing which are the most clicked links within the messenger.
Since Meta is also a parent company for other great apps and programs, it doesn’t even sell this kind of information (which would be a source of profit). For her, it is more advantageous to use them for these other programs like Facebook and Instagram, thus feeding her advertising tools.
This information was never confirmed by the company, but it is a little obvious and would also explain WhatsApp’s greatest asset and why it is so strong in the market and Meta still keeps it at the top with everyday updates.
WhatsApp was created to have no ads
WhatsApp was created by a man named Jan Koum, and he revealed that when he started creating the app, he always kept a note close by that said, “No ads! No games! No pranks.”
These were the three basic premises for the application to be developed, as it wanted something new on the market and better than the options that already existed. Jan wanted users to have a cleaner communication experience, with no distractions, no ads, and no extra features that could only be unlocked with payments.
And that’s exactly what made WhatsApp so successful, especially in poorer countries, as it guaranteed features that previously could only be accessed with paid subscriptions, such as calls over the internet and free of charge for calls. That is, it offered both the chance to chat on calls and to send messages, all for free, just using the internet.
Even the arrival of WhatsApp in Brazil even created an uproar in the country’s operators, who tried to block the use of the application here since they would have a great loss, mainly in the SMS service, but they could not.
Eventually WhatsApp was bought by Meta when the company made a very interesting proposal to the founder of the app, and the company kept the formula that made the messenger so popular. And so it continues to climb the usage charts to this day.
WhatsApp once had a signature system
Before being bought by Meta, WhatsApp developers still tried to implement a subscription system that worked for a short time. The idea was to create a business that was sustainable, that gave some kind of financial return, and that’s why the idea of paid subscriptions with symbolic values. It was also a way to maintain one of the app’s pillars, which was to not have ads that would spoil the experience.
This happened in 2013, and the price was pretty easy. Here in Brazil it was about R$2.55 per year. Those who wanted could still have more discount by paying R$ 6.87 for 3 years or R$ 9.54 for 5 years.
This subscription model continued until 2014, when the app was sold to Meta. As the amount was small, this was not even the initial problem, since many people agreed to pay the symbolic value and those who didn’t like the idea still installed the APK on Android to avoid paying.
But the problem is that at the time this type of online payment was not very advanced, many people did not have much experience with it, which would end up making it easier for them not to know how to pay or even forgetting, which would make the user run out of money. access your messages.
Meta then decided to cancel this subscription system, as losing a large number of users would be much more of a disadvantage than losing this kind of profit. It was at this time that he really started to gain more popularity, especially here in Brazil.
Business version already has paid subscription option forwarded
WhatsApp will soon add a subscription option for the Business version of its app, i.e. the business version. Although the subscription is not mandatory, it does have some advantages. Therefore, anyone who wants to continue with the free version can do so.
What is expected so far is that this paid subscription guarantees the use of the application on more devices at the same time, the creation of shorter links that can be customized and cloud hosting. Pricing and availability are yet to be revealed, but it will certainly be the start of a revenue stream for the messenger, even if it’s not the most popular version of the program.