Product Review

Omnipresence of Whatsapp

Chatting has been and still is the most common form of communication in the world. Today it is an unparalleled tool to share our thoughts with friends, family, and peers. Communication has become an indispensable and integral part of our daily lives, something we are so hooked on without even realizing.

Let’s talk about the digital world today. One of the most popular communication platforms (if not the biggest) is Whatsapp. Before we go too deep, some numbers hereto digest (as per Business Of Apps)

  • Revenue for 2021 : $8.7bn
  • Number of countries: 180 in 60 languages
  • Active users in 2021: 2.2 bn
  • Percentage of internet users using WhatsApp: Excluding China, 69%of internet users use WhatsApp (GlobalWebIndex)
  • Daily activity on WhatsApp: Over 100 billion WhatsApp messages are sent and over two billion minutes are spent on WhatsApp voice and video calls per day (Facebook)

Whatsapp, right from its inception has been on a mission to help people have the next best experience to an in-person conversation when they want to communicate with anyone. And their recent presence and updates allows them to dominate this space. Let me deep dive more about how they are slowly crawling into daily unconventional conversational streams.

  • Professional ← → Chat Experience : while browsing my Whatsapp recently I stumbled upon a very small change to their homepage layout. An icon somewhat similar to their groups feature. At first I thought it was for groups and now they probably had more clear and dedicated space. Curious to explore more, I clicked onto it and woahhhh, this was something new. Communities. Whatsapp (in specific regions) now allows to group users of common interest into one community and provide them blanket updates. This is a very useful feature especially in the post covid era when digital communication reached a brand new level. Given more thought, you will realize that this was something which was always available but now allows a localized yet commercial approach. Think about the use cases: Classroom communities to distribute homework, talk about attendance records, Parent teacher updates and meetings. This is like a way to organize and group groups — something on the likes of Slack Workspace but now on Whatsapp. While Slack allows search for groups by non-members and users joining those groups, groups in communities will be more secure/private as people will not be allowed to discover other groups in their community. They have also taken care of the privacy issue here, as none of the contact info of members in a group is accessible for other groups in the same community. Now, this is one of the prime examples of Product-Led-Growth and product extension using the core existing capabilities of the product, shown here by Whatsapp while opening a whole new (now official) target audience
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Commerce ← → Chat Experience: very recently I read that Whatsapp and Reliance JioMart (from India) have come together to allow users to have a full buying experience on Whatsapp for their grocery needs without leaving the app. Browse products, add to cart, pay and get it delivered — all within Whatsapp without opening any other app. This opens their avenues for entering directly into the chat commerce space. No need to install another grocery delivery app or browse to find the required items. Simply send a Hi to a dedicated Whatsapp number and your whole experience will be available within the chat window.

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This was the user side of the story. Now let us see what’s in store for Whatsapp. Based on these updates, Whatsapp will now be able to know what happens in your household apart from the regular conversation. They are able to collect data about your preferences, what is happening around you and what is affecting you the most. Apart from this, the average session time on the app would increase by multiple folds which is an important aspect and metric of its operations. However, the big picture play here is collection of Users Behavioral Data, Personal information and becoming the master warehouse of this data. The more time you spend on their system, the more you will inadvertently ‘share’ about yourself, your likes and preferences.

When you think about this, Whatsapp is slowly becoming what you call a super app. By introducing these features, the app is slowly becoming an indispensable part of our life. Who knows what’s next: get results of your child’s tests on whatsapp — no need for physical report cards or those bulky non sophisticated school portals all including product recommendations based on the child’s performance.

Key learnings from a Product Managers’ perspective

  • Product Led Growth: let your users experience and test your product. They will get hooked and adopt only by choice and not by force.
  • Use existing capabilities to unlock new avenues: one of the prime ways of acquiring new users and helping in increasing the product adoption QUICKLY is by utilizing the core of your platform to open new segments
  • Listen for problems: always solve for a real world customer pain point and build a case of how your product or offering can solve that for them. Your customers will always highlight what concerns they have. Just listen and ‘read between the lines’ to identify your solution

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