WhatsApp Emphasizes Reliability and Simplicity as Core Principles for Success
- One billion people are sending 55 billion messages a day
- “We want people to think of WhatsApp as a utility, a key component of everyday life,” says Neeraj Arora
WhatsApp, the eight-year-old, free-to-download messenger app, is now used by one billion people every day, said Neeraj Arora, Vice President of Business Development for Whatsapp, while speaking at the opening day of the sixth World Government Summit (WGS 2018) in Dubai today.
In a speech titled ‘55 Billion Messages A Day: The Story of WhatsApp’, Arora said WhatsApp reached the one billion active monthly user milestone a year ago, and now has 1.3 billion monthly active users, most of whom use it daily.
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The cross-platform instant messaging service, acquired by Facebook in 2014 for a staggering US$19.3 billion, started out as a humble alternative to SMS. The product now supports a variety of media: text, photos, videos, documents, and location, as well as voice calls. Messages and calls are secured with end-to-end encryption.
WhatsApp’s Secret Mantra for Success
Highlighting the success and growth of WhatsApp, Arora stressed that WhatsApp’s principles of reliability and simplicity have been its key drivers. “Our mantra of ‘No Advertisements, No Games and No Gimmicks’ has worked very well for us. We care about engagement and want to ensure that people who use the platform are happy with it. A lot of companies go after growth – which is important – but our priority is guaranteeing our existing users get value. That’s how we grow,” he said.
Arora also indicated how critical it is to address the needs of businesses on its service. WhatsApp recently launched a separate app designed for use by small businesses to better connect with customers. WhatsApp Business, which is free to use, added key features such as dedicated business profiles for details like email address, business description, store address, website, in addition to smart messaging tools like greetings, quick replies, away messages, and metrics for how many messages were sent, delivered, and read.
“Affordability is important to us. Our service is not only used in the developed parts of the world but in developing countries as well. As such, affordability should not be a problem for anyone who wants to use the app. We want people to think of WhatsApp as a utility – a key component of everyday life,” he said.
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Future of Communication and Challenges Ahead
When questioned about his thoughts on the future of communication and expected challenges, Arora highlighted that as communication becomes more immersive, the challenge is maintaining the simplicity of the app while enriching it with new functions. He also stressed the importance of private and public sector partnership and the need for telecommunication companies to work closely with the service to offer reliable services in high growth markets across Asia, Middle East, Latin America and Europe. “We eventually want everyone in the world with a data connection to use WhatsApp,” he said.
Arora, who is the Vice President of Business Development for the messaging service, spent four years handling corporate development for Google Inc. before joining WhatsApp when it was still a fledgling startup in 2011. Prior to Google, he was part of the Investments and Corporate Strategy teams at Times Internet Limited, a subsidiary of the Times of India Group, and an engineer and “self learnt hacker” at the mobile file sharing company, Accellion Inc.