Facebook says current priority for WhatsApp and Instagram is growth, not monetization

Mark Zuckerberg

Speaking on a conference call yesterday following Facebook’s Q1 2014 earnings report, company CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg laid out a broad monetization plan for its mobile app portfolio. While 59% of Facebook’s $2.27 billion quarterly ad revenue comes from mobile, Zuck stated that the company is not expecting Instagram, Messenger, and Whatsapp to contribute in the near term.

“Our apps are at different stages of maturity,” Zuckerberg said. While Facebook’s mobile app, now at 1 billion monthly users, is mature enough to support an advertising platform, “for the next set of apps the current priority is growth.” That next set of apps includes Instagram, Messenger, both now at 200 million monthly uniques, and WhatsApp, which recently surpassed the 500 million mark. While Zuckerberg didn’t offer any specifics as to what level of maturity would be required for monetization, the 1 billion mark might be a useful yardstick. It might seem difficult to imagine a world where Facebook has multiple 1 billion user apps, but Zuckerberg stated on the call that WhatsApp “could be as ubiquitous as Facebook one day.”

Zuckerberg also outlined a third category of Facebook’s app portfolio: single use applications like Paper developed by the company’s Creative Labs. Zuckerberg indicated that these apps (yes, there are more to come) will be even farther behind on the path to monetization, but play a significant role in Facebook’s communication ecosystem, as the company looks to build products for people that want to share different types of content with different types of communities. “At the intersection of each conversation and audience there’s a very compelling product to be built,” he concluded.

Hopefully, we’ll see more of these compelling products soon, without the delay on Canadian availability that Paper currently faces.