It might seem redundant for Facebook to own two messaging apps, each with its own massive user base, but the company has no plans to consolidate them. In an earnings call with investors today, CEO Mark Zuckerberg relayed his distinct visions for the company’s pair of chat apps, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
WhatsApp and Messenger are the two largest messaging services in the world, with 700 million and 600 million users, respectively. Though Zuckerberg admits it seemed “a little bit counterintuitive at first” to own both of them, he says people use these apps in very different ways.
WhatsApp, which Facebook acquired last year for nearly $22 billion, remains a very “utilitarian” tool, primarily designed to replace text messaging, though it now has voice calling, as well. Messenger is centered around connecting Facebook friends and providing a richer experience, such as the ability to send money over the app. “Messenger is very focused on expression and the whole set of things that fit into the tools around the Messenger platform,” Zuckerberg said.
Last month at Facebook’s developer conference, the company opened up Messenger as a platform that third-party developers can build apps for. On the heels of that announcement, WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton was clear to note his chat app would not be releasing a similar API, saying the team was “conscientious of the user experience.”
Facebook’s been public for three years now, but it’s interesting to remember that one of its investors’ major hesitations before the IPO was the company’s lackluster performance in mobile. Today, it’s hard to think of Facebook as anything but a mobile company, with WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram under its belt.
Though it reported mixed earnings today, hampered by slowing revenue growth and a rise in operating costs (particularly in research and development), mobile continued to be a bright spot for the company. Of Facebook’s 1.44 billion active users each month, 87% accessed the social network from their mobile devices. Mobile now accounts for 73% of Facebook’s ad revenue.