Thursday 20 February 2014

Facebook Buys WhatsApp – “Mobile [..] Will Be Even More Important For the Travel Vertical”

Back in December 2012, in an interview with EyeforTravel, Facebook said they had not missed the mobile boat – they were building it.

Their purchase of the mobile messaging platform WhatsApp for an astounding $19billion this week is testament to this (albeit building through acquisition).  With a mobile user base of 450 million, WhatsApp is popular among the young as well as in key emerging markets, giving Facebook an injection of new mobile users.

Nineteen billion messages and 600 million photos are sent daily via WhatsApp.   Facebook’s mobile stats were already pretty impressive with 751 million mobile users accessing Facebook every month. 

 “We see mobile as a very important channel and one that will be even more important for the travel vertical,” says Lee McCabe, Head of Travel Industry, Facebook.

Mobile now generates 30% of its ad revenue up from 23% at the end of 2012.  It can certainly be said that Mobile is a game changer for Facebook and a boat worth building. 

Lisa Friedrich, Travel Industry, Facebook will be speaking about how travel brands can leverage the power of influence and the change in your travel consumer’s behavior due to mobile, at EyeforTravel’s Social Media & Mobile in Travel conference in San Francisco next month.

““Mobile is having a profound impact on travel consumer behavior  - as is accessibility to social data.  Together they offer real consumer engagement and revenue driving opportunities to travel brands.”  

“By bringing together some of the best minds in social media and mobile, the 2 day conference continues to shape innovation and be at the cutting edge of social media and mobile in travel” says Tim Gunstone, MD, EyeforTravel.  

Back in 2008 when the conference was first launched, Facebook and MySpace ruled the roost.  Twitter had barely surfaced.  Facebook had 100 million users versus the 1.19 billion it has today. 

7 years on, in 2014, Facebook still rules the roost (in terms of user numbers) but interestingly Google+ has moved to the 2nd position.   With speakers from Google+, Facebook, Twitter as well as the Co-Founder of Flickr, the conference will be exploring what these key changes mean to your brand and importantly where you should be investing your valuable time and resources.