Facebook is taking the world by storm with its messenger app. Already, according to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, the app accounts for 10 per cent of global Internet phone calls. Considering the incumbent applications like Skype, that’s rapid progress in a crowded field.
In fact, between Facebook Messenger and Facebook’s mobile solution, WhatsApp, the global community for services such as these has exceeded 700 million each.
However, the growth hasn’t been entirely smooth, with some commenting that the quality of phone calls could stand to improve. It’s an issue that Facebook is aware of, Zuckerberg promised, and as it gains more users for its services, the quality of calls will improve further.
The company has highlighted an initial goal of reaching two billion users – a number that would mean a ‘critical mass’ of users and result in optimum call quality. Facebook also expects growth towards that target to be exponential, as it argues that more users on the service will improve call quality, which will result in more users migrating to either or both platforms from other, rival services.
Voice calls are just one part of the overall Facebook product strategy of course, but one that the company clearly sees as an opportunity for growth in the short term. Facebook now has 1.44 billion monthly active users, and while its recent quarterly earnings reached $3.54 billion, an increase of 42 per cent year-on-year, 73 per cent of its advertising revenue (the overwhelming majority of Facebook’s total revenue) came from mobile ads.
Facebook has a product pipeline that includes moving into virtual reality, as evidenced by its $2 billion acquisition of virtual reality headset startup, Oculus Rift, last year. However, that technology is a fair way from maturity, and with such a large number of monthly users, Facebook’s opportunities for growth on its social media platform are slowing. Voice Calls are an immediate opportunity for the company to expand, and we can expect to see Facebook aggressively target growing that 10 per cent market share in the short term.