Earlier this year, Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion dollars. With 450+ million users per month and 70% of them active per day, Facebook is betting on the the app’s massive user base and continued growth.
Although WhatsApp is enormously popular, very few WordPress sharing plugins have prioritized adding the service to the list of supported sharing options. Depending on the demographic of your site’s readership, you may stand to strongly benefit from making it easy for WhatsApp users to share your content with each other via the app.
Mobile ShareBar is one of the first plugins to add a WhatsApp sharing button, right up there with the same preeminence of Facebook and Twitter. The sharebar only appears to visitors when they are browsing your site on a mobile site, and you can remove the Facebook and Twitter buttons if you just want to include WhatsApp.
The plugin allows you to select specific post types where you want the sharebar to appear, i.e. frontpage, posts, pages, categories, archives, tags, and even specific custom post types. You can also change the position of the bar to appear on the bottom of the screen. All text for the sharing buttons is customizable in the plugin’s settings page:
A real-time preview of the sharebar appears in the settings page as you edit it, so you know what it’s going to look like on mobile devices. After testing the plugin, my only complaint is that the sharebar is sticky as you scroll down the page, taking up valuable mobile real estate. Having the option to remove that would be preferable, as stickiness might be a deal breaker for some users.
While WhatsApp is available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia, the sharing button only works with iPhones at the moment. This is because the iPhone app is the only one that works with the URL scheme.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg commented on the WhatsApp acquisition: “WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable.” When Buzzfeed added a WhatsApp sharing button, they found that readers on iOS clicked it more often than the Twitter button. It might be worth finding out if your readers are using WhatsApp so you can prioritize it among your sharing options. You can get the Mobile ShareBar from WordPress.org.