Facebook’s Purchase of WhatsApp Was Well Played

With Facebook’s $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp, the social network has strategically solidified its position as the most dominant social media platform. This is not surprising to me, considering that my December blog post focused on WhatsApp being the next big story.

Despite recent reports of fewer teens using Facebook, it now owns two of the most popular online places teens have been going: Instagram and WhatsApp. Some people are ready for a Facebook challenger to claim the top spot, but realistically that’s not likely to happen any time soon. In 2013, the number of daily mobile active users to Facebook increased by 49 percent, while overall daily active users rose by 22 percent1. Simply put, Facebook is still growing.

Communications strategists should recognize that with a user base well over one billion people and rising, Facebook remains a valuable platform. And the growth of its mobile users means that mobile first strategies should be a priority. Facebook’s daily active user count includes 556 million people from mobile devices, compared to 757 million people coming from all sources combined1.

At the most basic level, this means that links shared on Facebook should go to mobile friendly destinations whenever possible. It also means that graphics are more likely to be viewed on smaller mobile screens. With people having greater access to faster cellular and WiFi networks, videos are fitting well into mobile first communications strategies. Not to mention, YouTube easily removes many of the technical barriers to implementation.

If you’re influenced by the press coverage you hear about Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest, consider that roughly 70 percent of U.S. Internet users are on Facebook. In comparison, sites such as Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest are each used by less than 25 percent of the U.S. Internet population2.

I always recommend a diversified communications strategy that doesn’t rely on just one channel. However, it’s not time to ditch Facebook if you want to maximize your organization’s reach. On a side note, I guess people were right when they said Facebook’s previous $3 billion offer to acquire SnapChat was low.

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