Its now 4 years after Facebook bought WhatsApp for $22 billion. It might seem like an astronomical price to pay for a messaging platform, but it came with the data of the one billion people that used it. Until now, Facebook did not attempt to monetize the platform. But with both the original founders of WhatsApp out of the picture, it looks like Facebook is finally trying to make some money out of the popular messaging app.
In a WhatsApp blog, the company stated that it is introducing tools to help people and businesses communicate with each other. The blog post stated that WhatsApp had heard from people that they find it easier to chat with a business team rather than connecting through calls or emails. Therefore, the company heeded the calls by offering “support for businesses that need more powerful tools to communicate with their customers.”
3 ways businesses will connect with customers
The blog post noted three ways businesses can connect with customers.
- One was to request helpful information. Those who need, say, shipping confirmation or a boarding pass, can give their mobile number to a business on a website, through their app or in store so they can get information on WhatsApp.
- A second was to start a conversation. If a user sees a ‘click-to-chat’ button on a website or Facebook ad, they can then quickly message a business.
- The third option is to get support. WhatsApp said, “some businesses may provide real-time support on WhatsApp to answer questions about their products or help you resolve an issue.”
These features should make it easier for larger organizations to take advantage of WhatsApp. Companies will now be able to send customized notifications to people and run ads that redirect to WhatsApp chats.
Though businesses can use some of the tools for free, WhatsApp will charge companies to send certain types of messages. And you don’t need to be worried about your privacy as messages will still have end-to-end encryption.
Milking the sleeping giant
The news comes just days after Facebook’s earnings were poorly received by Wall Street, sending the stock plummeting. While Facebook Messenger was also monetized, the feedback is less appealing. Accordingly Facebook is hoping that the new WhatsApp business tools will spur financial growth and user acceptance.
As it stands now, WhatsApp is easily Facebook’s biggest untapped asset. The messaging app has more than 1 billion daily active users. But, unlike every other major Facebook service, has no advertising (for now, anyway). Which is why Facebook is focusing WhatsApp’s initial monetization efforts on businesses since they (businesses) have more financial resources than individual users.
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