We all know WhatsApp as a free download messenger app for smartphones. Now it is gearing up to finally monetize the app by charging large enterprise businesses for tools to better communicate with customers. Moreover, the company is also going to offer a free app to small-to-medium sized businesses. However, it has not yet outlined the specific functionality of the app.
So, what is WhatsApp offering to its consumers? The enterprise solution will allow global companies “to provide customers with useful notifications like flight times, delivery confirmations, and other updates”.
“We do intend on charging businesses in the future. We don’t have the details of monetization figured out.” – WhatsApp’s Chief Operating Officer Matt Idema
The company wrote about what it wants to facilitate. First of all, it wants “someone placing an order with a local bakery or looking at new styles from a clothing store.” Then it needs “shopkeepers who use WhatsApp to stay in touch with hundreds of customers from a single smartphone.” And lastly, WhatsApp wants to offer “an easier way to respond to messages.”
Perhaps WhatsApp could charge enterprises to have multiple representatives managing an account or sending high volumes of messages. Moreover, it could also charge for artificial intelligence bot functionality or e-commerce transactions.
Moving on, WhatsApp also officially announced its closed pilot program for verifying business accounts. It has a green checkmark that helps distinguish them from personal accounts and fakes.
It was a week ago when WhatsApp began testing verified accounts for businesses. Meanwhile, conversations with businesses are encrypted. And they can be blocked. The good news is, that if a business isn’t already in your phone number contacts, its name will appear just the way they register themselves instead of their number.
Ultimately, this could allow WhatsApp to create a business search engine with optional sponsored results. It could also let businesses cold-message people. However, the latter would possibly be for a fee.
Alternatively, before businesses can respond with organic or sponsored messages, they may need to be contacted by a user first. It is how Facebook Messenger works. Moreover, it’s led to businesses buying “tap-to-message” ads on Facebook’s News Feed to get people to initiate conversations. And that would lead a business following up with sponsored messages.
Did you know that Facebook acquired the company for $19 billion in 2014? At that time the companies said they wouldn’t put ads in WhatsApp. They thought it would degrade the experience. However, it also dropped its $1 annual subscription fee.
Apparently, WhatsApp has over 1.3 billion monthly users and 1 billion daily users. So, it has reached the massive scale necessary for it to earn significant revenue. And even light advertising is enough. Do you know about its Snapchat Stories clone WhatsApp Status? It has 250 million daily users and could host vertical video ads between friends’ content the way Instagram does. And that is not all. It could also insert display ads into the inbox like Facebook Messenger.