Jott, a new messaging app, has caught on fire and become viral among junior high and high school students. Why? It’s a messaging application that works without a data plan or wifi. Teens who don’t have a data allowing them to text can now message each other for free on a closed network on school grounds. This is yet another mobile messaging service competing for the future generation’s attention in this on-demand world.

Focusing on just one channel doesn’t tend to be optimal, especially not in our multi-screened reality. If we take a look at the leading messaging services, like Skype and Google Hangouts, we can see that they have developed desktop, browser and mobile applications. If we look at the leading mobile-first messaging services, like Viber and WhatsApp, we can see that they have a different take on a cross-platform solution: Viber launched a desktop application while WhatsApp focused on creating web messaging.

We decided to investigate WhatsApp to understand why it decided to focus on a browser enabled messaging service instead of developing a desktop application.


WhatsApp’s Web Service Generating as Many New Daily Users as the App Itself

WhatsApp launched its web interface on January 21st, 2015, which is still not available to iOS users, due to Apple platform limitations. The service does support Android, Windows and Blackberry devices, letting users to sync their WhatsApp mobile app with the web service and then use it directly from the browser.

A Jumpshot Site Analysis report for WhatsApp reflects the effect of this new web service with an unprecedented traffic spike on January 21st and the beginning of a constant upward traffic trend. This new traffic roughly doubles the overall daily new users generated by the website.

WhatsApp website traffic 2015


How Did We Get to This Conclusion?

We started out by filtering the Site Analysis report to display desktop traffic only and found that this platform explains the new traffic. As you can see, desktop traffic grew from a daily average of 250K before to over 3 million.

WhatsApp Desktop Traffic 2015


We then decided to look at the pivoting point on January 21st and found that the most popular page on the website was the web service setup page, where users set up cross-device account synchronization. This remains the leading page on the website till this day and is accountable for 20 million new web users per month.

WhatsApp Monthly Top Pages from Desktop


The website’s top page for desktop traffic prior to January 21st was the download page, strengthening our conclusion that the web service is responsible for the new traffic and subsequent new web users.

WhatsApp Monthly Top Pages from Desktop Before Web Service


If we compare this to the website’s overall traffic we see that the traffic to the web service page is almost equal to the service’s direct download page, which is the leading page for mobile devices.

WhatsApp Monthly Top Pages all Devices.


Bottom line: WhatsApp’s web service doubled the daily amount of registered users generated by the website, emphasizing the importance of a cross-platform solution and reminding us yet again that the web is not dead.


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