Swaroop C H

blog books about contact subscribe

Why is Whatsapp so pervasive

12 Nov 2012

Whatsapp I'm astounded on how popular Whatsapp (messaging app for phones) really is: I could go on and on, the point remains that the pervasiveness of it still surprises me. And it surprises many of my peers who grew up with email, Yahoo! Messenger, Google Talk, etc. So I was imagining what could be the reasons that Whatsapp is so popular, and here are some wild guesses: These are just my rough line of thought about this whole thing and I just wanted to write it down because many of my friends have asked the same question.

What are your thoughts?


@v1pl says:

@swaroopch haven't read your post, but my reasons are: app available on nearly all platforms, coupled with low entry barrier (no login/pass)

@Praval says:

@swaroopch major reason for sticking to @WhatsApp is that it doesn’t have Ads and gives a very good experience to a first time user.

@i0exception says:

@swaroopch Plus, SMS is expensive (in the US at least) @neerajarora

Neerav says:

Recently on a trip to Darjeeling, I wanted to buy a cardigan for my mom. Not sure which colour to pick, I just clicked a picture, sent it via whatsapp and asked my mom for her choice. So simple. Avoided all the pain of guessing and then waiting till I hand it over to mom and she finally saying 'i like the colour' (hopefully).

My reasons for success of whatsapp:
1. Cross platform
2. Super simple to use (even my mom uses it and thats a big statement)
3. Cost effective plans for GPRS

@21bhargav says:

@swaroopch For the huge number of smileys that can be used in almost all situations imaginable :-)

@mitensampat says:

@swaroopch nice post on the circumstances for why it could be popular, but why them v/s Kik, GroupMe others is real question cc @neerajarora

Mayank says:

cost of 2G/3G is definitely a major factor. Also I think more than cross platforms we are moving towards having app for everything. I am not sure why but the idea of an app is more appealing to people. If you have a website to register a ticket and an app for the same, people would use the app and not go to the website. Perhaps app reduces the number of steps and instant feeling makes it more lucrative.

Ad is also another reason. Though its security aspect sucks even now. But normal people don't know or care.

Swaroop says:

@Neerav Nice story, I'm familiar with the same experience with whatsapp :)

Swaroop says:

@Mayank I agree with you, just today I read an analogy that puts it well : "The OS is the new browser — apps are the tabs."

Suhail says:

The big big reason is 2G has become very affordable.

The other is its simplicity, no registration required, it usese your mobile number as your username and your IMEI number as your password.

You don't need to manually add contacts to whatsapp, it collects the contact numbers from your mobile, checks on whatsapp server, which of the contacts have whatsapp installedd and instantly adds them to your whatsapp account, all set and done, ready to use.

It has not only become an alternative to SMS but to voice as well.

Overall the concept and idea is very much similiar to BBM, but these guys applied it to all platforms and took over the market.

Wunderkinder says:

I think Suhail mentioned the biggest reason IMO viz auto adding contacts, followed by cross platform availability. Removes the biggest barrier to entry to any new messaging platform, which is adding all your contacts one by one, having them start using the platform, being "available online", etc. etc... Your entire phone book with 1000s of contacts just get added nearly instantly, depending on their usage of the app.

Best use I've seen recently is an MD group messaging on whatsapp with the CFO, CTO & COO during an Investor meet to figure out answers to some queries!! :) Think the IT guys haven't caught on to the security holes yet. Probably another year or 2 / a major hack attack away from the "Ooops!" moment.

Sarthak Ganguly says:

Absolutely same experience with Whatsapp. Loved your article.

mikejame078 says:

The platform independance, low cost in comparison to the BB plans and the hassle free additions of contacts have resulted in whatsapp being pervasive...


There's no comment box, but please do email me or tweet me your thoughts and criticisms, and I will publish the relevant ones here.