WhatsApp hits 1.5 billion monthly users. $19B? Not so bad.

Facebook’s $ 19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp voices smarter and smarter. CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on the Q4 2017 earnings call today that WhatsApp now has 1.5 billion users and considers 60 billion messages sent per day. That’s compared to 1.3 billion monthly users and 1 billion daily active users in July.

The massive growth builds Facebook’s choice to pay more than $ 19 billion to acquire WhatsApp look prescient. At the time in 2014, WhatsApp had just 450 million monthly active users and 315 million daily active users.

In a slight to Snapchat, Zuckerberg also noted that Instagram and WhatsApp are the No. 1 and No. 2 most popular Story-sharing products, referring to those apps’ clones of Snapchat Stories. Each now each has 300 million daily active users, compared to 178 million on Snapchat as a whole. He also mentions that Facebook’s research been shown that across apps, total social media posting to Stories will soon outstrip that of feed posting.

People thought Facebook was crazy to pay such a high cost. But messaging is the most critical and time-consuming activity on mobile. And if Facebook didn’t buy WhatsApp, Google probably would have, and messaging would be a two-horse race. Instead, Facebook is massively dominant everywhere but China, between the 1.3 billion-user Messenger and 1.5 billion-user WhatsApp.

Now Facebook is ultimately getting serious about monetizing WhatsApp with the recent launch of the WhatsApp for Business app. Facebook plans to charge business owners for additional commerce, customer service or broadcasting tools. And with such a massive audience, merchants will be clamoring for them.

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Instagram Stories and WhatsApp Status hit 300M users, nearly 2X Snapchat

Instagram and WhatsApp’s Snapchat clones aren’t slowing down. Today Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Instagram Stories and WhatsApp Status both now have 300 million daily active users. That’s up from 250 million for Instagram in June, and WhatsApp in July. That makes the copies virtually twice the size of the original, as Snapchat’s entire app only has 173 million daily active users. Zuckerberg shared the new stats today on Facebook’s Q3 earnings call that assured it earn record revenue and an all-time high share cost despite the shadow of Russian election interference.

Now that most of Facebook products, including Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories and Messenger Day, have their own augmented reality face filters, they’ve hit a certain degree of feature parity with Snapchat. That means we may ensure more innovation now that there’s a lower level of Snap roadmap to follow. Though perhaps we’ll ensure Facebook transcript Snapchat’s Bitmoji personalized avatars and Snap Map location-sharing feature. For example, Instagram merely launched Superzoom to let you add dramatic zoom-ins to your videos, and is testing a Stop Motion feature.

Instagram Stories

Zuckerberg said on the call that he find promoting community around video as a big push for Facebook as it switchings from focusing on “time spent” on the company’s household of apps to “time well spent.” Zuckerberg explained that “research shows that interacting with friends and family on social media tends to be more meaningful and can be good for our well-being, and that’s hour well spent. But when we just passively consume content, that may be less true.”

WhatsApp Status

Because Instagram Stories and WhatsApp Status are peer-to-peer video usually viewed by close friends, they enhance the community feel of Facebook’s apps in ways that top-down professionally produced content can’t. People also watch these short clips intensely, which could be a boon for the ads Facebook now inserts between Instagram Stories.

Now more than half of Instagram’s 500 million daily active users are on Stories, indicating that it’s becoming the future of the app. That notion is supported by the fact that Instagram now injects big preview tiles of Stories into the middle of its feed to foster you to watch them. While people might like to permanently post the occasional glamour shot, or promptly scroll them, Tales drive daily creation and longer bouts of intake. While Snapchat may have pioneered the idea, Instagram is pushing to perfect this modern kind of social media.

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Instagram Stories launches cross-posting to Facebook Stories

Facebook Stories might not be a ghost township for long. After testing in Portugal last month, TechCrunch spotted the option to syndicate your Instagram Stories to Facebook Stories appearing to US users. Now Facebook confirms this feature is officially rolling out, and everyone should have it soon if not already. The only exception is businesses, since they’re not allowed on Facebook Stories yet.

Instagram is now rolling out the ability to share Tales to Facebook Stories.[ Name and profile photos redacted for privacy]

“You now have the option to share your Instagram Stories to your Facebook Stories. We’re always working to make it easier to share any moment with the ones who matter to you” a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch. Facebook also told us that while you can’t do the reverse, posting Facebook Stories to Instagram Stories, it hasn’t ruled that out building that in the future.

The feature should drastically cut down on the annoyance of manually syndicating your Tales, which takes both extra day and can lead to reduced image quality as posts are saved and re-uploaded elsewhere. Stories are supposed to be raw, and created in the moment, but all that cross-posting can steal your attention from what you were doing.

Facebook has effectivally pivoted to Stories,making it the main destination for posts from Facebook Camera and its augmented reality Camera Consequence platform. Today’s launch proves Facebook is doubling-down on Stories rather than retreating even though it’s been off to a bit of a slow start since its global launch in July/

This Snapchat Stories clone has been criticized as redundant, considering Facebook already had Instagram Stories, Messenger Day, and WhatsApp Status. And a daily active user counting has yet to be announced for Facebook Stories, despite Instagram touting 100 million simply two months after launching in August 2016. Instagram Stories now has over 250 million, just like WhatsApp Status, while Messenger day has over 70 million.

Instagram doesn’t disclose the break down of its 250 million users in terms of people who post versus those who just watch, but the roll out of the syndication feature could bring a ton of new content to Facebook Stories, which recently added viewing desktop.Instagram is also bringing Stories viewing and posting to desktop.

When Facebook Stories first rolled out, many people ensure tiny position counts despite Facebook’s massive popularity. But I’ve received audiences are warming up to Facebook Stories. This week I manually shared identical situateds of Narratives on Facebook where I have 2800 friends and Instagram where I have 5000 followers. Yet on Facebook I received over 820 opinions compared to simply 220 on Instagram.[ Update: I do have 60,000 public followers, Facebook, but the social network typically proved my News Feed posts to fewer users when I posted publicly than simply to friends. Still, I’m investigating where most of the views come from .]

That indicates that people are willing to watch Narratives on Facebook…there’s only not as much content there since it’s only open to users and public figure, and its camera is more glitchy and less familiar. Meanwhile Instagram Stories’ polished composer is widely used and is accessible to brands. So basically, if you’re looking for spectators, there’s a big possibility on Facebook Stories right now.

Hopefully down the line Facebook’s whole household of apps will enable easy cross-posting, so no matter whether you compose on Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, or Messenger, you’ll be able to share to all the networks you want with a single upload. If Facebook got really smart, it’d even understand who had watched what where, so you wouldn’t consider the Story you merely viewed on Facebook show up unwatched at the front of the Instagram Stories section.

The increasing audience and interoperability of Facebook’s four Stories products should fret Snapchat, which considered daily user growth plummet from a stellar 17.2% per quarter before Instagram’s clone launched last year to a soggy 4.2% in Q2 2017. Snapchat still clings to its reverse chronological feed despite the relevancy sorting Facebook offers in its News Feed and Story constructing it easier to keep up with your close friends.

Facebook isn’t backing down , no matter how much it gets criticized for cloning. The company’s head of design Luke Woods spoke at TechCrunch Disrupt SF last month, and when asked about whether he thought it was ethical to copy Snapchat, he told me “We’re putting people first. We’re focusing on the outcome, on helping them to achieve their goals, and secondarily on what form that takes.”

So even though Facebook may have to swallow its pride, if Narratives are what users want, it’s going to give them to the world. And all the metrics indicate that Facebook’s users want these vertical video slideshows , no matter who fabricated them.

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Instagram Stories turns 1 as daily use surpasses Snapchat

Instagram Stories has blossomed from a Snapchat clone into an integral part of the worlds largest dedicated visual communication app in the first year since its launching. Half of the businesses on Instagram rendered a story in the last month, and its boosted the apps median utilization to 32 minutes per day for those under 25, and 24 minutes per day for those 25 and up.

If Facebooks goal was stop Snap in its ways, its largely succeeded with Instagram Stories. Snapchats monthly active user growth rate has plummeted from 17.2% per one-quarter to only 5 %, while Snaps share price has fallen from its $17 IPO to $13. Instagram Stories currently has 250 million daily users compared to Snapchats 166 million. Instagrams usage per day beats the more than 30 minutes per day of utilization Snapchat claims on average now, as well as the over 30 minutes per day for under 25 s and 20 minutes per day for over 25 s Snap cited in its IPO filing.

[ Update: News of Instagram outshining Snapchats daily usage has caused Snaps share price to sink to an all-time low aroun $12.67]

Its clear to see why users are flocking to Instagram. It has stolen some of Snaps primary utilize cases and party tricks. Instagrams most popular augmented reality filter is the same as the Snap one it copied: virtual puppy ears. Also in the top five Instagram face filters are bunny ears at# 3 and Koala ears at# 5, both inspired by the meme-worthy popularity of Snaps dog face. Meanwhile, Instagram maintains iterating with new features and sticker packs, like the one below to celebrate Instagram Stories first birthday.

Instagram is actually getting more efficient at copying Snapchat. While it took virtually 3 years to launch its own version of Stories, Instagram required just 4 months to copy Snapchats create-your-own-stickers feature launched in April.

Instagram not only copied Snapchats Stories, but has turned its Instagram Direct feature into a full-fledged Snapchat ephemeral private messaging competitor. By letting people to send quick visual messages that disappear, Instagram Direct has grown to 375 million monthly users. Snaps influence has helped Instagrams chat feature one of the more popular messaging apps in the world behind WhatsApp, Messenger, and WeChat. Now one in five Instagram Stories posted by a business receives a Direct Message reply, permitting Instagram to seduce advertisers who want private channels for communicating with customers.

Instagram writes that Narratives stimulated Instagram a place for people to share all of their moments the highlights and everything in between. If CEO Kevin Systrom set out to induce Instagram an app for displaying everything fun in their own lives , not just the perfectly polished snacks and vacations, its succeeded. And for better or worse, Instagram Stories has emboldened Facebook to put Stories into all its apps. WhatsApp Status has boomed to 250 million daily users, while Facebook Stories and Messenger Day are watching weaker traction since theyre respectively redundant or obtrusive.

The flood of apps which allows you post them is making Narratives wearines in some users like me. If the audience is fractured across five different apps and I have to go through a ton of work to post to them all, I sometimes reconsider whether its worth interrupting life in the present in order to show off to my friends. So while Instagram and Facebook are further popularise the Stories format Snap fabricated, they may also be commoditizing it. Either way, the Snap threat is being neutralized.

Snapchats iconic bloom crown face filter on the right, and Instagrams good-enough clone on the left.

Unless Snap can pull off a big uptick in growth when it reports earnings subsequently this quarter, it may insure Wall Street sour on its future the same way it did with Twitter. But you can bet Instagram wont let up the heat.

A year ago, it looked like Snapchat was destined to rule social media. Its full-screen sharing would be impossible to outperform. There was no way to give a more immersive window into friends lives. But Facebook and Instagram didnt have to outdo Snapchat. They only needed to transcript it and set it in a more convenient place in apps that people of all ages already use.

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Facebook Stories unlocks public sharing

Facebook could jumpstart its Snapchat clone by letting social media superstars and public figures post Stories publicly. When Facebook Stories launched globally in March, you could only share to all their friends or a subset of them. Now if you allow public adherents, you can post your Story publicly so anyone can watch.

Social media researcher Carlos Gil first pointed out the privacyfeature, and now a Facebook spokesperson confirms to TechCrunch that This is something we rolled out a few weeks ago. The Public defining allows your Followers to see your tale, in addition to your Friends. As for if or when Pages will be able to post Tales, Facebook tells me For Pages no specific timing to share there quite yet.

How to share Facebook Stories publicly

Public sharing devotes Facebook Stories the potential to mint or popularize internet celebrities the same way Snapchat and Instagram Stories can. My initial experience with posting publicly ensure over 1000 of my 60,000 followers watch my Facebook Story in 12 hours. Thats much more involvement than I get when I publicly share on the News Feed, indicating that Facebook might be prominently proving Stories from public figure in the horizontal scrolling segment above the feed, or that most people only dont have any friends posting Tales so anything that appears there stands out.

To make a Facebook Story populace, first tap on the Add To Story button on the home screen, and post a photo or video. Then view your own Story and tap the three dots more button in the top right. Open Edit Story Settings and change from Friends to Public. All your existing Facebook Stories from the last 24 hours plus any you share from then on will be publicly visible to anyone. You can tap on the viewer count to see the names of friends whove viewed your Story, and a count of all the additional followers who find it without their names.

Facebook has proudly shared the rapid traction of Instagram Stories, both of which have over 250 million daily users. That makes them bigger than Snapchat, which has 166 million daily users for its whole app and has assured growth slow down since the Facebook-owned challengers launched. But Facebook hasnt announced anything about Messenger Day or Facebook Stories usage, and many people say that few friends post on either. The fact that it took several weeks for people to spot the public sharing feature is a testament to its slow traction.

Changing your Facebook Stories privacy setting

While Instagram was built for visual sharing and WhatsApp Status is popular in developing countries where Snapchat isnt, Stories feels a bit obtrusive on Messenger and redundant on Facebook. You already have so many other ways to share on Facebook, and if you care about sharing your day-to-day life, youre probably already on Instagram Stories.

Heres a quick breakdown of the specific characteristics options available on different Narratives products 😛 TAGEND

Snapchat Narrative: Everyone, My Friends, Custom

Instagram Stories: Everyone for public accounts, approved followers for private accounts, plus hiding from specific people WhatsApp Status: My Contacts, My Contacts Except, Custom

Messenger Day: Everyone with permission to message you, Custom