IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

An App Worth $16 Billion? 8 Reasons WhatsApp Is So Popular

<p>Find out why the messaging app with 450 million active users has built such a loyal following.</p>
Image: WhatsApp and Facebook app icons on an iPhone
The WhatsApp and Facebook app icons on an iPhone in New York on Feb. 19, 2014. On Wednesday Facebook announced it is buying mobile messaging service WhatsApp for up to $19 billion in cash and stock. )Karly Domb Sadof / AP

Facebook is known for using its deep pockets to make huge acquisitions, and Wednesday was no exception. The social media giant announced an agreement to buy WhatsApp for the hefty sum of $16 billion in cash and stock. The messaging app offers its users unlimited messaging on mobile devices for 99 cents a year after a one-year free trial.

If you're left wondering why it's valued so highly, here are some of the reasons WhatsApp has such a loyal following across the globe.

Image: Photo illustration of people using the messaging app "WhatsApp"
Photo illustration of people using the messaging app "WhatsApp"Henning Kaiser / picture-alliance / dpa via AP file

1. No Ads

Seriously, none. WhatsApp remains completely ad-free.

"When we sat down to start our own thing together three years ago we wanted to make something that wasn’t just another ad clearinghouse," the company explains on their blog. "Remember, when advertising is involved you the user are the product."

2. It's Cheap

WhatsApp allows users to send messages for free over the Internet, so it bypasses phone carriers that may otherwise charge users to send texts over their networks. It’s also free to install.

3. Works on Most Phones

That includes Android, Blackberry, iPhone, Nokia and Windows smartphones.

4. No Need to Add Contacts

When you download the app, WhatsApp automatically scans through your address book and connects you with those who have WhatsApp installed on their phones.

5. No International Charges

With WhatsApp, it's possible to avoid the relatively costly practice of sending SMS (Short Message Service) text messaging overseas.

6. Online Stalking ... Ahem, Monitoring

WhatsApp has a “last seen” or “online” timestamp feature, which tells you if your contacts are online, and the last the time were connected to WhatsApp.

7. Status Updates Galore

Whether you want to be available, busy, sleeping, or at the gym, it's easy to get creative with your status update.

8. Personalize Group Messaging

With WhatsApp you can broadcast a message to many contacts, but each person will get the message individually.