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05/06/2014 by

WhatsApp: New Kid On The Social Sharing Block

We all like to share content by e-mail, Facebook and Twitter, but have you have already heard of the new kid on the block WhatsApp?


Of course you do! You might already be a loyal user or you’ve heard of the $19 billion WhatsApp-takeover by Facebook.

Its reach isn’t as readily apparent as,Facebook’s or Twitter’s, because sharing on those platforms is public:  you can see the shares and the traffic.

But for the few sites that have experimented with encouraging WhatsApp sharing have seen big results.

In March the Huffington Post UK already made it possible for readers to send articles to anyone in their contacts list simply by pressing a WhatsApp widget at the top of an article.


Source: Huffington Post UK


FTW, USA Today’s viral sports site, offers a good case study for WhatsApp potential for publishers.

Since introducing a WhatsApp sharing button to its mobile site, FTW has already seen WhatsApp shares climb to 18 percent of the site’s overall sharing activity.

That’s higher than Twitter (13 percent) but still significantly lower than email (35 percent) and Facebook (34 percent).

FTW Mobile sharing activity:



A major driving factor for this growth: WhatsApp currently has over 400 million users who send 50 billion messages a day…

WhatsApp, however, doesn’t make it easy. One of the platform’s biggest problems is that it doesn’t openly integrate with third-party apps, making it difficult for publishers to implement it.

But there are some temporary solutions…

Want to have your own WhatsApp sharing button on your news site? Apparently, with this unofficial WhatsApp button generator you can!

This WhatsApp sharing is currently only supported by iOS. The button will figure out the current platform by itself and only shows up on supported devices.

My Opinion

We’re becoming more aware of what we all share on social media. And when we share content, we’re tend to become more selective on what we share, with whom.

I believe It’s too early to know for sure how this will affect social sharing in the future as a lot of data is still missing, although the figures of FTW are promising.

Whatever the impact turns out to be, marketers will be wise to follow this closely to see how they can maximize any benefits from the huge, and active, WhatsApp community.

What About You?
If you look at your own behavior, do you also tend to share more in private environments, like WhatsApp, Telegram or iMessage?

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About the Author
Laurens Bianchi is an independent online (sport) marketing professional from the Netherlands and has been blogging on ViralBlog since 2008. Currently Laurens is also the Social Media Consultant for the Royal Dutch Football Association. Follow him on Twitter or contact him on LinkedIn.


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