Almost half of Kenya’s mobile users i.e 49% use Whatsapp as their key messaging tool, a worldwide poll by Jana Mobile reveals. The poll released on 21 February 2014, indicates Nigeria has 45% and South Africa 72% of their mobile users using Whatsapp. The poll was conducted in nine countries including Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Philippines, India, Vietnam, South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.
“Whatsapp has instant delivery and is readily available even on small java phones,” said one female respondent from Kenya.
Facebook’s bold $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp may have sent shockwaves through the tech industry, but those with an eye on emerging markets should have recognized the opportunity that messenger apps represent. While Facebook’s own ‘Messenger’ is a similar product, the popularity of WhatsApp made it not only the world’s biggest messenger app (450 million monthly active users), but also the first to challenge social media as a form of communication in some demographics. WhatsApp had grown into a company that could compete for the multiple millions of emerging markets users that will gain access to the internet over the next decade.
“WhatsApp is on the path to connect one billion people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable,” stated Mark Zuckerberg.
In emerging markets where messenger apps have taken users from social media, Whatsapp can bring Facebook a superior version of its Messenger function, and tap into an an abundance of new users. According to Jana’s projections, Facebook is on track to generate over half its revenues from emerging markets by 2017. The acquisition of Whatsapp, the world’s number one messaging app, could expedite that revenue shift to as early as 2015.
Jana is a social marketing and global research company that connects brands with emerging market consumers through reciprocal advertising. Jana aims to deliver insights to brands through mobile-based ad campaigns and drive consumer action by offering members with free airtime on their mobile phones.