The last time WhatsApp released its figures as far as the number of users is concerned was more than three months ago, with CEO and co-founder Jan Koum stating the then figure to be over 900 million users.
This was back in September 2015 and given the reputation the app has regarding adding users to its platform; there is no doubt that the app has already added a significant figure to the one mentioned earlier.
Now that 2016 has kicked off, and there are rumors that WhatsApp video calling is soon coming to iOS and Android devices, we expect this figure to shoot in the coming few months. In April 2015, the app had more than 800 million users and about six months later, it had seen more than 100 million people jump on the bandwagon. Given this trend, it is also expected that by the time April comes around, the app will have added another 100 million users to the platform, bringing its total user base to at least 1 billion people.
A dream comes true
Facebook saw the potential in WhatsApp and bought it for a fee of $19 billion. During this acquisition, the chat app had a user base of a little over 400 million users and since this date, the numbers have been swelling like nobody’s business. However, ever since the company revealed its user base back in September, the growth rate has stalled in some way, probably due to the fierce competition that is coming from its sister app, Facebook Messenger as well as other players such as Snapchat, Telegram and Skype, just to name but few.
Facebook Messenger reached 800 million users at the end of 2015, a feat that made it rank as the fastest growing application in the U.S. If this trend continues, market pundits claim that the end of 2016 might see the two apps have a combined user base of at least 2 billion people. Facebook has been very busy beefing up its Messenger app all throughout 2015, but it seems the focus is now turning to WhatsApp as 2016 kicks in.
Once Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg said that it only gets more interesting when you start working with a billion users and now that WhatsApp will soon be hitting this margin, we might see the monetization process begin this year. It is not clear how Facebook plans to make money out of this app; especially that ad-blocking is increasingly getting more and more attention in the present world.
We might see WhatsApp go for business users of the app, chagrining for them when they use the app for revenue-generating activities. Also, it is possible that a WhatsApp Out or simply WhatsOut feature might come in where the company will be charging users a small fee for making calls to non-users of the app, just like Skype, Viber and WeChat do with their Skype Out, Viber Out and WeChat Out services, respectively.