Social media giant Meta Platforms (dead) He is going through a very difficult time.
The parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp is being ridiculed and watching the bonds of trust with investors crumble day by day. Meta shares are down 62.3% since January, which was reflected in a $570 billion drop in market capitalization.
Metaverse, which CEO Mark Zuckerberg has described as the next big thing, has so far only suffered huge losses. Thus, Zuck and Meta are up against the wall to find growth drivers and appease investors’ impatience.
In these columns, we brought up the idea that Meta should monetize WhatsApp by giving advertisers the opportunity to promote their products and services on the messaging platform, which is present in more than 180 countries and has more than 2 billion users.
WhatsApp is a real goldmine we wrote. It’s up to Zuckerberg and Meta to mine it.
Meta has no plans to display ads on WhatsApp at this time, according to sources familiar with the matter who requested anonymity in order to speak frankly. The social media giant fears that ads will change the experience of users who are accustomed to a non-advertising platform.
But sources say that Meta may change her plans in the near future. Zuckerberg could discuss WhatsApp monetization during his third-quarter earnings call on October 26.
WhatsApp had, at one point, considered serving ads in the “Status” section of the app, and eventually abandoned the idea. But sources said they may revive those plans.
According to a WhatsApp spokesperson, the platform is “focused on building new features to help businesses increase the value of their service today and believes that the opportunity for business messaging is important.”
Focus on messaging
WhatsApp monetization plans are currently focused on how to generate revenue from messaging, as consumers shift their communication habits away from old channels like phone and email. So the platform works on three opportunities.
The first is to generate indirect revenue from advertising. This program is called Click to WhatsApp Business. Small businesses that use WhatsApp, as the main channel of communication with customers, have an additional incentive to attract new customers if they advertise on Facebook and Instagram where a button with the WhatsApp logo is inserted for the customer who may be interested in the promotional service or product.
When the user clicks on the button, it places it directly in the WhatsApp conversation with the merchant. The analogy within Meta is that Facebook and Instagram are the ‘storefront’ while WhatsApp is the ‘store store’ where you close the deal and pay. Messenger, Meta’s other messaging platform, offers a similar service.
There are currently just over a million active advertisers for this service. A source said it was “really a huge revenue opportunity” for WhatsApp. The majority of these clients are companies in high potential markets such as India, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico and Africa.
However, there is a drawback regarding privacy: as the user goes through Facebook and Instagram, Meta collects his data.
Second Chance is what WhatsApp has also been offering to large companies as an alternative customer service solution since 2020. The WhatsApp Business API allows these companies to integrate WhatsApp chat into their personalized websites, providing personalized customer experiences. Chatbots can respond to basic customer requests while humans can handle more complex queries.
WhatsApp currently charges a fee per customer conversation which includes all messages exchanged within 24 hours. The service already had 50 million customers in 2020. WhatsApp does not give out new numbers, but due to the pandemic, this number must have increased.
Meta pins many hopes on this product in order to increase the revenue generated by WhatsApp.
As a third revenue opportunity, the platform has also been testing a premium service for small businesses for the past 10 days.
This service comes in addition to WhatsApp Business, a standalone app launched in 2018, which allows small businesses to showcase their products and services and connect with customers for free.
The premium service will provide advanced tools for merchants. For example, it will be possible to manage the same WhatsApp account on several devices. In other words, local nail salon employees will be able to chat and manage customer orders across different devices, allowing orders to be distributed across multiple employees.
WhatsApp will also offer small businesses the ability to host a custom URL for them, which can serve as their own small website.
The company is considering charging a “nominal fee” for the premium service, but has not yet determined how much will also depend on the country. The sources told TheStreet that testing of the service and its pricing is ongoing.
The service will be a monthly subscription.
It is still too early to draw conclusions from the initial comments. The sources said that WhatsApp plans to launch the service in 2023.