Last February, Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp announced that it had reached a billion monthly active users, beating Messenger to the same milestone by five months. Now, WhatsApp has underlined its continued growth, announcing that it's reached a billion daily actives, the second Facebook app to hit that mark.
To put that in perspective, Facebook itself has 1.33b DAU, leading the pack by a significant margin - while in contrast, a popular app like Snapchat has only 166m DAU, underlining the significance of WhatsApp's presence.
And the comparison to Snapchat is also relevant from another perspective - in addition to their overall usage numbers, WhatsApp has also reported that 250 million people now use WhatsApp Status every day. WhatsApp Status was re-vamped in February to look and function exactly like Snapchat Stories, following Instagram's lead.
And while WhatsApp is not as dominant in North America, the app's growth is especially significant to Facebook's broader plans. You see, WhatsApp is dominant in virtually every other region outside the US and Asia - this chart is from 2015, but it provides some idea of WhatsApp's market hold.
That makes the growth of WhatsApp Status even more significant, because Snapchat has thus far focused most of their effort on North America. As per Snap's Q1 numbers, 43% of their active users are based In North America, with 33% in Europe and 24% everywhere else. That means Snapchat has just 95 million daily active users in WhatsApp's core regions
Snapchat's audience outside North America (in millions)
Of WhatsApp's billion users, only some 20 million of them are in the US. That's approximately 980 million people in other regions being exposed to WhatsApp Status, versus 95 million on Snapchat. You can see how this can only make Snap Inc.'s eventual expansion into broader markets even tougher as time goes on.
In terms of marketing potential, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that WhatsApp monetization plans are going slower than expected, but that they are on track. WhatsApp started sharing user data with Facebook last year, a first step towards wider monetization, while they recently posted job ads for new roles relating to "product development on our monetization efforts."
While there are no ads on WhatsApp yet, that looks set to change soon, and given the platform's size, it's likely to be a relevant consideration for many marketers.