For me, WhatsApp is an example of how often simple and creative ideas, and not breathtaking technologies, often revolutionize the way we live and interact with each other.
The two WhatsApp founders Brian Acton and Jan Koum wanted to offer people a way of communicating via text that cost less than the SMS used then. The business model was simple, $ 1 / year for each user, it may not seem like much and it probably wasn't enough to cover all the expenses, but the real goal (supported by a team of investors) was to occupy the largest slice of the possible market before the competition started and was able to offer valid alternatives.
In 2014 Facebook acquired WhatsApp for the US $ 19 billion, at the time the next steps were not yet well defined but for this figure, Facebook bought not the turnover (which in any case in 2014 was about the US $ 600 million) but the users. Enduring users are the most difficult thing to acquire even when there are unlimited liquid assets.
In 2016 Facebook introduced WhatsApp Business. This app allows companies to make themselves more accessible to their users/customers and has been cleverly developed with incentives aimed at reducing response times by the companies that use it.
The app liked a lot and now there are more than 3 million paying customers. It basically allows end customers to contact the company directly with questions or orders and allows the company to respond with complex text messages, that is, which include automatic replies, automatic scans of incoming messages for receiving orders, automatic sending of positions geographic and much more, allowing the most cunning and creative to provide services that actually increase the comfort of end-users. The cost of this service is charged to the company that decides to use it to communicate with its customers and is calculated with a fixed cost for each message sent. The cost varies from country to country.
In addition, Facebook began to experiment with advertisements on WhatsApp but not in the traditional way that would have been too invasive. It simply allows business users to insert advertisements on Facebook that directly open a chat on WhatsApp addressed to the company account, thus facilitating communication and direct interaction with potential customers.
Thanks to these two programs, WhatsApp manages to invoice enough to no longer have to depend on the annual subscription of a dollar, which has been removed in order to accelerate the growth of the platform even more thanks to greater accessibility.