If you were one of the believers of WhatsApp being ad free forever, your dream is about to be shattered. There was a time when WhatsApp had almost mocked Facebook for being filled with ads, leave no space for privacy. In one of the statements, WhatsApp’s spokesperson had quoted “These days companies know literally everything about you, your friends, your interests, and they use it all to sell ads.”; this happened back in 2012. Now, after WhatsApp’s acquisition by Facebook, this is what WhatsApp’s spokesperson had to say to TechCrunch, “We’re testing a new way for people to start a chat with a business in WhatsApp from a Facebook ad. This makes it easier for people to connect with businesses that they care about on WhatsApp.”
In fact, the process seems to have moved slower than expected; marketers were hoping to see Facebook launch advertising capabilities on WhatsApp much sooner. The good news however is that users can easily block businesses who they find useless or irritating, just like how users can block individual people.
How Can Businesses Make Use of this Feature?
The function will work exactly how the Facebook’s sponsored messaging worked, which means businesses will only be able to text you on WhatsApp once the user has agreed to it. This will be a benefit for businesses, if the user does not block the user after the conversation and the brand can reach them with promotions and offers. This is an effective way for businesses to reach old customers who they notice have not been shopping with them for a long time. Re targeting advertising is the most effective usage from a business perspective.
The entire process is interesting considering the amount of information Facebook holds about their users. Imagine a situation where two people are having a conversation on a Facebook ad about how pretty a certain dress looks. The conversation is then continued on WhatsApp. With crucial information available at a brand’s disposal, it becomes easier for them to target interested customers. Although this feature is now restricted and can only be activated with user interest, we can only hope it stays the same.
Who is this Going to Benefit?
This new feature is primarily going to be useful for smaller sized enterprises and businesses, allowing them to stay connected with their loyal customer base, which is a small number. This will also be beneficial for courier businesses and the airlines industry, allowing customers to seek quick help. Of course, Facebook hopes this feature is going to be useful for customers as well and it definitely would be – for customers who like to stay updated about offers and discounts or for those who like to stay connected with the brands they prefer or even for those who like to block businesses for fun!
The feature will initially be free for use by businesses, but considering Facebook’s graph of monetizing on their new features, that shouldn’t last long. Users on the other hand will have the control over receiving messages, by initiating a conversation and continuing to receive messages in the future or opting to block the business once the discussion is over; which in the future might also be removed for ease of businesses to carry targeted advertising campaigns.