Just last week, Facebook reported weaker than expected Q2 earnings. So it isn’t surprising to see today that it has taken a serious step towards monetizing WhatsApp. The instant messaging app owned by Facebook has rolled out three new ways in which customers can connect to businesses via WhatsApp. Here’s what will be different:
- Getting helpful information: Now, businesses will be able to send information like shipping confirmation or boarding pass to customers on WhatsApp.
- Option of starting a conversation: Users will be getting a click-to-chat button that will make it easier for them to quickly message the business they wish to get in touch with. The button will be visible either on the website or Facebook ad.
- Real-time support: Businesses will have the option of providing real-time support on WhatsApp for their customers. This will enable customers to get answers to various queries on WhatsApp itself.
Apart from this, the social networking giant will now have ads of businesses, which will link out to WhatsApp. So, businesses will be able to purchase ads that will get people to chat with them on WhatsApp. They will also be able to reply to customers for free provided they answer to their messages within 24 hours. Post 24 hours, the businesses would have to pay Facebook.
The messaging function on WhatsApp is not much different from the one we have seen on Facebook. One must visit the page of the business and start a chat. However, it is notable that business related communications on Facebook never gained immense popularity. The social networking giant eventually had to introduce additional chat extensions for it.
The WhatsApp blog further says that businesses can choose to offer real time support – so users will know if they would have to wait for a while before they hear a response about their query.
The announcement is a clear indication of the fact that Facebook plans to monetize WhatsApp and is releasing features that would encourage businesses to stay on its platform.
WhatsApp for Business was launched in September last year and there is still no word from the company about the number of businesses using the app. However, it did say that before getting released, its tools were tested with 90 businesses.