"Globes" ranks WhatsApp as Israel's top 2024 brand

WhatsApp credit: Shutterstock
WhatsApp credit: Shutterstock

With the war and its uncertainties, the messaging app allows Israelis to stay in touch with their loved ones and keep updated.

International brand WhatsApp has been chosen as the top brand for 2024 in the "Globes" annual brands index, overtaking major brands like Google, Netflix, Coca Cola and Bamba. The brand has long been much more than a messaging app, owned by Meta. It is a social network used by 98% of Israelis according to Israel Internet Association figures for 2024, with 95% of users saying that they use the app on a daily basis. For the sake of comparison, YouTube, which is used by 98% of Israeli Internet users, is only used by 52% of them on a daily basis.

The Brands index was compiled from a survey of 3,500 respondents.  This is the 21st year that "Globes" has published the index.

Strives to be a social network

The brand was founded in 2009 by Brian Acton and Jan Koum, who decided to create an app for Apple's App Store. The idea began as an app that would display statuses in a phone's Contacts menu, showing if a person was at work or on a call. Very quickly the founders understood that they had thought up an excellent platform from sending instant messages. In 2014, Facebook (today Meta) acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion.

WhatsApp began to face problems under its new owners. Users discovered that through the app, Facebook was receiving data to know how to target better in terms of advertising. The company was quick to deny that the app "listens to" or reads messages in personal conversations, although it was fined $122 million by the European Commission. Immediately after that, WhatsApp introduced end-to-end encryption, meaning - only the parties who are in the conversation are exposed to it. By 2018 both founders had left the company.

WhatsApp has become much more than a messaging app with audio and video calls, and it allows business owners to sell their wares and run an entire business model on top of the app. WhatsApp has become a social network, in the sense that users can put dozens of emojis on messages, respond to other users, share their words and more. In recent years, the app has been working to make the experience as community-oriented as possible.

Over the past two years, Meta has introduced features such as statuses, communities, and updates. The statuses are the familiar story from Instagram, which makes it possible to update the contacts on what is happening on a daily basis. The updates feature is similar to what happens in Telegram - content creators or entities can establish a channel, and thus readers can follow them. But alongside all this, the "communities" feature portrays what WhatsApp really wants to be.

Instead of having countless groups dealing with work, school, and the children's extra-curricular groups, WhatsApp allows community managers to include all groups in content to produce an orderly and shared conversation. This move makes consumers feel that they belong to the different groups.

WhatsApp invests much to introduce features for more accurate content management. WhatsApp has caught on especially strongly in Israel. The app works well, with a high user experience, which convinces Israelis to stay on the app. This is of course alongside the fact that it is a free app. According to Bezeq's Internet index, 74% of Israelis would not be willing to give up the WhatsApp app.

Keeping Israelis updated

Over the years, different apps in Israel have tried to compete with WhatsApp, such as Telegram and Signal, which internationally are significant apps, but less so in Israel. The reason for this does not stem from the failure of the other apps, but from the adoption by the consumer.

Last year WhatsApp was ranked fourth in the "Globes" brand index, but this year with the war raging it has jumped to first place. In a period of uncertainty, Israelis are eager to get information quickly and directly in order to manage and alleviate anxieties. The community that WhatsApp offers is expressed more strongly, as Israelis need to keep in touch with their loved ones and stay closer and updated at every moment.

In second place in the "Globes" rankings is traffic navigation app Waze followed by Google in third and last year's top brand Bamba in fourth. Google Maps, Samsung, Nike, YouTube, Microsoft and SuperPharm round out the top ten.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on July 11, 2024.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2024.

WhatsApp credit: Shutterstock
WhatsApp credit: Shutterstock
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