Facebook is looking to monetise WhatsApp by launching a new business API as well as an option for businesses to create adverts that open chats in the app. The aim of the new adverts are that users will be able to quickly and easily open up pre-filled chats in WhatsApp and begin a conversation.

The new business API is designed to help businesses communicate easily with their customers via WhatsApp. The messages will be end-to-end encrypted, like regular chat messages on the messaging app. Customer would be able to request information and businesses will be able to customise non-promotional notifications, for example appointment reminders, event tickets or delivery confirmations.

In its Business blog, Facebook wrote “When someone messages your business, you can also use the WhatsApp Business API to respond to questions or comments for free within 24 hours. Any messages sent more than 24 hours after the last customer response will be charged.”

In its blog, WhatsApp wrote “Businesses will pay to send certain messages so they are selective and your chats don’t get cluttered. In addition, messages will remain end-to-end encrypted and you can block any business with the tap of a button.”

As well as the API, Facebook will soon offer adverts via its Ads Manager which will open a WhatsApp chat. When a user clicks on a WhatsApp ad, they will be directed to a chat.

WhatsApp launched its first business app, which was a designed for small to medium businesses, allowing them to take advantage of the app to communicate with customers.

What sort of impact will this have?

To get an idea of what this is likely to mean for businesses, we asked experts for their views:

“In July of 2017, WhatsApp boasted 450 million active users per month. With so many users and thousands of businesses looking to reach them, the new Business API has potential.

Unfortunately, WhatsApp Business has just 3 million users – a mere fraction of the application’s initial user base. In addition, there’s a cost to the service. Messages can only be initiated by customers and, should businesses choose to respond after 24 hours, all replies will be charged.

On the other hand, WhatsApp Business will soon pair with Facebook Ads Manager, making it possible to link interested audience members on Facebook directly with WhatsApp Business Chat.

Still, for customers, there seems to be little difference between chatting with a company on Facebook Messenger and chatting through WhatsApp. For companies, one option is free. Another is not.

In general, the new Business API presents an opportunity to monetize WhatsApp, the top communications platform in the world. But the impact will be greatest on corporations who can both benefit from the API and afford the fees that come with it.”
Tabitha Jean Naylor, Owner of TabithaNaylor.com

What do you think?

What sort of impact do you think the new Facebook WhatsApp adverts will have? Will the business API be a success? Let us know in the comments below!

Category:   Marketing, Social
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