Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram nearly two years ago was its first large deal, the announced acquisition of WhatsApp last month for $19bn in cash and stock is clearly its biggest bet to date which everybody is watching keenly. Given the size of the transaction and the perceived low switching costs of mobile messaging apps, investors are paying particular attention near-term on user growth for the WhatsApp messaging app to see if MAUs (monthly active users) are trending toward Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s goal of “over one billion people in the next few years“.
Lets examine the app store data over the last ~6 weeks since the Facebook-WhatsApp deal was announced to get a sense of how WhatsApp has done since the announcement. WhatsApp’s popularity appears to have not only remained strong but may have even risen since its acquisition by Facebook was announced, based on its global ranking in the iOS and Google Play app stores.
Examine the average number of countries where the WhatsApp app ranked in the top 5 in its category has risen from 78 prior to the acquisition announcement to 91 as of two days ago.
Similarly, the average number of countries where WhatsApp is ranked #1 has increased from 41 to 45. This trend is consistent on both major app stores. The app store rankings are based on number of factors which include but not restricted to – download volumes, quality factors like ratings, etc