A pay-to-use advertising service is produced by WhatsApp. Brands can opt into this service to better customer engagement. This bold step creates a new revenue stream for the messaging app (owned by Facebook), discarding of their subscription fees in 2016 and permits businesses to exchange information or services updates, i.e. delivery information or tickets.
The fee for the pay-to-use service will depend on confirmed delivery, for which advertises will pay a price ranging from 0.5 cents to 9 cents (0.3p to 7p), depending on the country of origin. This could potentially make the service more expensive than standard SMS messages.
The main feature of this update aims to encourage a conversation between the business and the consumer. If responded to within 24 hours the responses to customer queries will be virtually free. According to WhatsApp, the feedback they have received for the WhatsApp Business app has mostly been positive, with people stating that it’s quicker and easier to chat with a business than making a call or sending an email. WhatsApp says the service will be optional for consumers. Advertisers can feature a ‘click-to-chat’ button on their website or Facebook ad, allowing customers to quickly message them for information about a product or customer support queries.
Uber, e-commerce site Wish and travel comparison site Booking.com have already adopted the service. WhatsApp guarantees that all messages between customers and businesses will remain end-to-end encrypted. Businesses can also easily be blocked “with the tap of a button”.