WhatsApp launches a Business App, African Data Challenges, #KOT’s Top 50 & More

Mhoro!

Hello, as Zimbabweans and Shona people would put it.

In the last newsletter I spoke about w-Commerce, a name I coined for the upcoming age of WhatsApp for Business and the full suite of tools that would accompany it. This week they announced that they are in fact building new tools for WhatsApp Business, testing them via a free app for small companies and an enterprise solution for bigger companies operating at a large scale, with a global base of customers such as airlines, e-commerce sites and banks. These businesses will be able to provide customers with useful notifications like flight times, delivery confirmations, and other updates.

The app is gearing up to monetise by charging large enterprise businesses. It’s about time, given it has not made a dime since Facebook acquired it in 2014 for $19 billion. Their CEO confirmed in a WSJ (paywall) interview that though the service will be free when released, they “intend on charging businesses in the future.” With over 1.3 billion monthly users and 1 billion daily users, the app is likely to earn significant revenue. In the meantime, hereare a few tips on ways you can take advantage of the new service as a business.

Speaking of Facebook, an analysis by Afridigest of top apps across African countries revealed that data is a major concern for internet users across African countries. The analysis studied a list published by App Annie on the top free apps in Google Play store per country.

I’ve talked a lot about cost of data being the biggest hurdle for African Internet users and the analysis only reiterates this. Half of the top 10 apps downloaded by African Android users also happen to be Facebook owned, a dominance fueled by the company’s adoption of apps designed to thrive in such an environment. WhatsApp is by far the most dominant communications app in Africa, while Facebook Lite features in the top list for most countries.

Today’s internet user is generally concerned about data and as more and more Africans come online for the first time, ventures that target online audiences in Africa would do well to study the changing behaviour. Reports have it that Africa-focused tech startups raised a record-breaking $367 million in 2016from Venture Capital firms and the numbers are rising in 2017.

A big influence on this investor interest is the promising trend of increasing mobile, smartphone and internet penetration rates.

With that said, here’s your tasting menu of links:

What to Sip (< 30 Sec read)

“What the human being is best at doing is interpreting all new information so that their prior conclusions remain intact.”

Warren Buffett

I thought of this after reading newsletter subscriber and Internet’s man of mystery, @Mwirigi’s Tumblr post (he made his way through our mammoth +3 hour podcast with Brenda Wambui at Otherwise from weeks ago).

What to Nibble (<5 Min read)

Some interesting social media stats in this data science analysis of interaction among Kenyans on Twitter on the Dependent Variable blogIt looks at the flow of information within Kenya’s Twittersphere, made up of one million monthly active users. They set out to find the top 50 Kenyans on Twitter and identify their influences amongst each other. Definitely something to read if you ever plan to hire an influencer. I’m intrigued by the methodology deployed despite my questions on it. Spoiler alert: follower numbers aren’t everything.

What to Nibble (<5 Min read)

Some interesting social media stats in this data science analysis of interaction among Kenyans on Twitter on the Dependent Variable blogIt looks at the flow of information within Kenya’s Twittersphere, made up of one million monthly active users. They set out to find the top 50 Kenyans on Twitter and identify their influences amongst each other. Definitely something to read if you ever plan to hire an influencer. I’m intrigued by the methodology deployed despite my questions on it. Spoiler alert: follower numbers aren’t everything.

Enjoyed reading The Letter N? Did anything stand out to you? I’d love to hear from you and I’d appreciate if you gave us a clap below and shared with someone you know would be better for it. We’re on hand to answer comments or hear your perspective on the topics above.

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