WhatsApp is already very popular among US users. Now Meta Platforms is focusing more on building its small business foundation.
Facebook’s parent company launched WhatsApp Business in 2018 with simple, free tools to help small businesses stay in touch with customers, direct them to chat, search for products and get them interested in buying. Provided a way to signal.
The company will soon launch a premium service for small businesses and is doubling down on a new ad format called “click-to-message,” which allows users to click on a business ad within Facebook or Instagram. Messenger, Instagram or WhatsApp.
Analysts said the moves offer Meta the ability to increase advertising revenue, stay relevant with small businesses and generate additional revenue from premium services offered.
Keep More Within The Meta Universe
Meta (then Facebook) bought WhatsApp in October 2014 for around $22 billion. Since then, industry watchers have been watching closely for signs that the company plans to further monetize the platform. That moment may come now.
“If I’m on any Meta property and interact using Meta, ask questions and make purchases within the platform, no signal is lost and the brand returns them from advertising to Meta.” It’s easy to tell,” said Mark Kelly, managing director and senior equity research analyst at Stifel. “Signal loss is really what’s hitting social media companies this year.”
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently told CNBC’s Jim Cramer that WhatsApp would be the “next chapter” in the company’s history. He noted that the company’s “playbook overtime” is to develop services to cater to a wider audience and “scale monetization” once that goal is reached. “And we’ve done that with Facebook and Instagram. WhatsApp will really be the next chapter, with business messaging and commerce being a big thing,” he said.
The announcement from Meta comes at a time of change for the company and uncertainty among investors. The company recently reported a loss in profit and revenue and forecast a second straight quarter of sales declines. Shares of MetaPlatforms have lost nearly half their value this year. Mark Zuckerberg is betting big, currently at a loss, on the future where Metaverse will be the engine of growth for the company. But with its commitment to Metaverse a decade away from being operational, Meta’s CEO has stressed that in the short term, WhatsApp is one of the focus initiatives for growth.
WhatsApp Business has two components. There is a WhatsApp Business app for small businesses. WhatsApp Business Platform, an API, is also for large companies such as banks, airlines or e-commerce companies. The first 1,000 conversations per month on the platform are free. After that, companies are charged per conversation, which includes all messages sent in a 24-hour session based on regional rates.
With the free app, small businesses can communicate directly with customers. They can set up automated messages to respond to customers after business hours, for example, with information about the business, such as the menu or your business location. Businesses can use this to send customers product images and descriptions, as well as other information that may be of interest to them. Currently, there is no possibility of paying through WhatsApp, but it is a feature that Meta is considering, a company spokesperson said.
Premium features for small businesses, which will roll out in the coming months, will include the ability to manage chats across up to 10 devices, as well as new customizable WhatsApp click-to-chat links to let businesses connect with customers through their presence. Help engage. the company said on its blog.
“We believe that messaging in general is the future of how people will want to communicate with businesses and vice versa. It’s the fastest and easiest way to get things done,” the spokesperson said.
Why Main Street Businesses Are The Focus For Whatsapp Push
Analysts see plenty of potential. Messaging is an international forum that is constantly used by everyone. It’s huge and it’s growing,” said Brian Fitzgerald, managing director and analyst. Wells Fargo Securities Stock Research Sr.
There’s plenty of room for growth in the U.S., where WhatsApp is a “massively untapped resource for small businesses,” said Rob Retzloff, executive director of The Connected Commerce Council, a nonprofit organization. Technologies and tools
This is something that the meta sees changing over time. “We deeply believe that behavior will continue to grow worldwide,” the company’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, said on its second-quarter earnings call on July 27. An estimated one billion users message businesses through WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram every week.
The Connected Commerce Council’s 2021 report highlights the need for free and low-cost digital tools for small businesses. About 11 million, the report said Small businesses would have closed all or part of their business if it weren’t for the digital tools that allowed them to continue operating.
One of the meta drivers in promoting WhatsApp business is advertising revenue. “Click-to-Message is already a billion-dollar business for us and we continue to see strong double-digit growth year over year,” Sandberg said on the second-quarter earnings call. “Click-to-message is one of the fastest-growing ad formats for us,” he added. The company doesn’t say how much business comes from WhatsApp versus Messenger or Instagram.
Companies like this format because it’s a “cheap way to engage [with consumers] that feels a little more personal,” said Stifels’ Kelly. Additionally, it also addresses the issue caused by the privacy changes Apple made to its iOS operating system last year.
For example, a customer sees a Facebook ad for a sneaker store and connects directly with the business via WhatsApp. “In a world where we’re trying to do more with less and less data, there are no leaks. Everything is secure,” Fitzgerald said. “Nobody [else] in the world knows I bought these shoes and it’s a direct business-to-consumer relationship.”
Also, by offering premium services, Meta can increase revenue, at least incrementally, Kelly said.
Jose Montoya Gamboa, owner of Malhaia in Mexico, who has been using the free business app for several years. Said he plans to pay for a premium version when it becomes available. Because he likes the ability to use it on multiple devices.
But Geraldine Coloscia, community manager at Simon Samoir. A certified B corporation that collaborates with hundreds of artisans throughout Mexico, isn’t sure. He said he has been using the free version of the WhatsApp app. For more than two years and would consider paying for it. But the decision would be based on the actual features and price.
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