Why users fled WhatsApp
Due to Facebook’s shaky reputation for handling user data, this update really freaked users out. So they immediately got to looking for messaging app alternatives. And that’s when Signal and Telegram got a major boost. (Thanks, in part, to a tweet from Elon Musk about Signal).
Between January 6th and 10th, Signal and Telegram got a total of 7.5 million and 5.6 million installs across both Apple and Google play stores, respectively. These far surpass any previous numbers they’ve done. This kicked WhatsApp down to #3 in the Apple App Store and out of the Google Play Store top 10 entirely. Signal jumped to #1 in the Apple App Store and #3 in the Google Play store.
Another funny outcome: Elon Musk accidentally gave Texas healthcare company called Signal Advance, a 5,675% boost in the stocks as people were searching for the Signal app stock — which doesn’t exist because it’s an independent 501C3.
So why Signal and Telegram?
People seem more trusting of these apps that claim to have privacy and end-to-end encryption at the top of their list of priorities. Signal is de-centralized, meaning they don’t store users’ metadata anywhere. Neither apps have any ad interests like Facebook does, either. This should give users a little more peace of mind that their data will remain where they want it to be with a messaging app — nowhere.
Signal sent out a tweet that definitely seemed like a little jab at WhatsApp. Part of it said, “there will never be ads in Signal, because your data belong in your hands, not ours.”
What can we learn from Signal and Telegram?
In a nutshell, do the opposite of what WhatsApp did. And assure your users that you are going to act in their best interests.
When users feel like they are not being prioritized, or worse, actively being taken advantage of, they are absolutely not going to stay as long as there is a viable alternative. In this case, there are two. When will Facebook learn that you can’t take your users for granted? The line between “worth it” and not for users can be extremely thin.
Hannah Michelle Lambert is the Digital Marketer at Worthix where she leads all things social, conversion, and nurture. She cut her teeth at the intersection of Customer Experience and SaaS technology and is passionate about innovative, customer-centric marketing strategies. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and current resident of Atlanta.