WhatsApp status ads are coming, likely sometime in 2020, say analysts at eMarketer.
This would be a major change for the chat app which has so far remained ad-free.
WhatsApp has 340 million users, according to eMarketer senior analyst Jasmine Enberg.
India is WhatsApp’s largest market in terms for number of users, followed by Brazil and the US.
Australia is reported to have about 7 million active WhatsApp users.
“India has been able to amass such a high number of WhatsApp users, partly because the platform can be used on some feature phones, like the JioPhone, which is popular there,” says Enberg.
“India’s wide user base has also made it a testing ground for new WhatsApp capabilities, including a payment system. The company has been testing the service in India since 2018, and it is expected to launch nationwide this year, pending regulatory approval.”
eMarketer numbers strip out out fake and duplicate accounts.
At 68.1 million, the US is in third place for WhatsApp users, but that is just 7.7% of the total number of WhatsApp users in 18 countries tracked by eMarketer. That’s because widespread use of SMS, Facebook Messenger and iMessage have held back WhatsApp adoption.
eMarketer expects the number of US Facebook Messenger users this year will be close to double that of WhatsApp users—117.6 million versus 68.1 million.
However, the two apps are not mutually exclusive. Four of the top 10 countries for WhatsApp user penetration among smartphone users in 2019 -- Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Italy -- are also among the top 10 countries for Messenger user penetration.
WhatsApp will be a major contributor to growth in overall mobile messaging app usage worldwide.
The total number of messaging app users will grow 12.1% this year to reach 2.52 billion people, according to eMarketer forecasts. That means 87.1% of smartphone users worldwide will use a mobile messaging app at least once per month in 2019.
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