WhatsApp on Wednesday detailed plans to sell advertisements and charge big companies that use its service to interact with customers, launching its first major revenue streams as growth at Facebook’s main app is starting to decelerate.
Four years after Facebook Inc. bought WhatsApp for $22 billion, it is formally starting the messaging app on a new mission, which involved the generation of revenue.
Facebook will now display ads of businesses that link out to WhatsApp., enabling businesses to purchase ads that lead people directly to an already loaded chat with the business on WhatsApp.
Businesses can respond to customers for free, with the contingency of answering within 24 hours. Additionally, Facebook will charge the business for any response after 24 hours.
The message function on WhatsApp appears identical to uts parent company’s messaging system, in which users are directed to a business’s page and have the ability to send messages. “Business communications on Messenger haven’t been super successful to begin with, and Facebook has had to roll out additional chat extensions to compensate,” notes The Verge. “The WhatsApp blog post indicates that it’s up to the business if it wants to offer real-time support, so there could be the additional wrinkle that you might not hear back for a while.”
WhatsApp opened up its platform to business users last September. Since then, it has kept the number of businesses using the app undisclosed. It said it tested the new messaging tools with about 90 businesses including Uber, Wish, and Singapore Airlines.
“Today’s announcement sounds like Facebook is making new tools to entice businesses to stay on the platform as it begins to monetize WhatsApp. As additional ways to boost stagnating profits, Facebook can monetize from Instagram’s ads in Stories, for instance, and also potentially from WhatsApp businesses that are taking out ads,” The Verge reported on Thursday.