So WhatsApp has launched a web client.
What a move for the company which has time and again said that they are a mobile-only product and desktop makes no sense?
WhatsApp’s Real Challenge..is?
The real challenge is not in the user base growth. But in growing the ‘actual’ and ‘engaged’ userbase.
WhatsApp already has a huge engagement on its apps, but spammers are taking over WhatsApp and it almost feels like Orkut (to quickly share, NextBigWhat team has moved to Telegram for all internal chats/discussions – it is much cleaner and distraction free).
The desktop client however, doesn’t solve the spam issue – in fact, expect more bots on your way!
WhatsApp And Facebook Group: The Synergy
Both WhatsApp and Facebook are facing the same issues – i.e. lack of engaged and active/serious user base, which also translates to becoming the next Orkut/Myspace.
They both can take separate strategy to grow the engaged userbase – but integrating FB groups and WhatsApp gives a huge leverage.
I won’t be surprised if Facebook announces an integration of Facebook group with WhatsApp. It’s a two-way synergy and both need each other for growth. Facebook needs to drive more consumption of FB Groups on mobile so that they have enough room to play with when it comes to native ads and other monetization options.
Facebook Groups’App Is A BIG Flop Show
Facebook groups already have a good engagement score on the web, but the apps are a BIG flop show.
For instance, Facebook groups has been installed between 0.5 – 1 million times on Android, which is plain NOTHING (Third party and a really simple app, WhatsApp Wallpaper app has been downloaded over 50 million times!).
If Facebook has to go big on native ads, Groups will play a significant role. Groups have a defined intent and are apt for targeted monetization.
Facebook needs to stop focusing on Facebook groups app – the numbers are too small and insignificant. Convert these groups into WhatsApp groups and you are done! Most of the FB users are already on WhatsApp and the integration will simply drive more engagement.
And before you do that, you need to get people used to WhatsApp web – for a seamless experience. I am guessing that within 6 months, an integration (between FB groups and WhatsApp) will be announced?
Plus, Facebook At Work? SMEs ?
Imagine Facebook At Work launching WhatsApp implementation!
To me, it’s an ideal use-case for Facebook to get SMEs switch between Facebook and WhatsApp for conversations, engagement, and driving business.
In fact, WhatsApp is an extremely popular tool among Indian SMEs / government and police departments. I am sure, it’s a global use-case to have organizations move to WhatsApp – but as a Facebook group (or Facebook At Work group) driving signups across the two products : Facebook and WhatsApp.
Facebook has done a terribly bad job of engaging with SMEs and maybe, WhatsApp is vehicle for them to get closer to $ME$. It is a successful product among SMEs, but needs to go beyond mobile for broad adoption. And that’s why you need the desktop client.
At the end of the day, it’s all about engagement and capturing the OS mixes rather than sticking to mobile-only plan.
After all, you got to do what you got to do.
To those who have been talking/selling mobile-first and mobile-only paradigms, take a deep breath. The real world doesnt’ care so much.
PS : These are Maybes and I could be 100% wrong!. I am no expert in social media, but these are perspectives and fun debates/discussions to have. If you have your own perspective and want to share with NextBigWhat audience, do connect with me (firstname.lastname@example.org).