Facebook’s Acquisition of WhatsApp is All About Audience Expansion


It’s been all over the news and social media. Facebook acquired global chat application WhatsApp for the sky-high price of $16 billion. Yes, that’s right, with a “B”.  That’s sixteen times larger the acquisition cost that Zuck and co. paid to Instagram!

If you’re unfamiliar with WhatsApp, it’s essentially a tool like iMessage or BlackBerry Messenger. You may not have heard much about it before if you’re in the States because most of the app’s users are in foreign countries. The most attractive part of the deal for Facebook is WhatsApp’s already staggering user base numbers.

WhatsApp has 450 million active users, and their still growing. Their Chinese competitor WeChat claims 270 million active users, and Japan’s Line recently passed 300 million registered accounts (though active users are a subset of that). Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected, and WhatsApp is going to help them get there.

Currently WhatsApp has a customer acquisition cost (CAC) of $35. They only charge their customers $1/year to use the product. They’re obviously going to need to make that $34 up somehow. It will probably come through different channels like targeted ads, but that’s a major hurdle that they’ll need to overcome to be successful.

Let’s think about this situation from a small business content marketing perspective for a minute.

You need to build your audience too

There just one thing, you don’t have the marketing budget that Facebook has. You certainly can’t just go out and buy more people and add them to your audience. Well you could, but it wouldn’t be a good business decision (Would you pay $34 for a new customer to get $1 of revenue? Neither would I). Instead, you need to do it the traditional way. You must start building interest in your products and services and then you must earn a potential customer’s trust. After you earn their trust, you can earn their business. So how do you do all that? With content of course!

Publish valuable articles to your blog that answer your audience’s questions and alleviate their pain points. They’ll find you through the search results as long as you’ve done your keyword homework and optimized your pages. Engage these visitors. Ask them questions. Be a diligent with your content marketing. Do it consistently. Publishing a post weekly is usually a good start.

Promote your articles through your social media channels and your monthly newsletter. Use a marketing tool like BoostSuite to research your keywords, publish and share content to generate audience interest and backlinks, and convert more of that traffic into leads and customers with headline optimization tests.

You can do it, and eventually you’ll expand your audience and reach/convert far more prospective customers than you ever thought possible!

What are your thoughts on the Facebook/WhatsApp deal? Do you think it was worth $16 billion? Do you think this will benefit Facebook in the long run? Looking forward to hearing your feedback. Thanks for reading!

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