It would seem that after a year or more of deliberation Facebook has finally activated monetization on the world’s biggest online messaging platform, WhatsApp.
However, regular users of WhatsApp do not have to worry about paying for the service. Not yet anyway. WhatsApp for Business is where the money is being made and as of 1 August, the API is rolling out globally.
So how does it work? WhatsApp will start charging businesses for sending marketing and customer service messages and the prices will vary from country to country.
Businesses can receive messages from users for free during the first 24-hours. Charges will start for each message if the company fails to respond to customers after that time-period. As per WhatsApp, each message is reportedly going to cost 0.5 cents to 9 cents which is approximately 34 paise to Rs 6. As mentioned earlier charges will vary for different countries and in a price sensitive country such as India, WhatsApp should be looking to keep the competition level with standard SMS charges.
As of right now, businesses will only be able to communicate with users who have contacted them first. WhatsApp business can be used to send notifications such as shipping confirmations, appointment reminders, event tickets and more. As per the TechCrunch report, small businesses can still use the app for sending in “late replies one-by-one for free”.
WhatsApp for Business, which has over 3 million users as compared to the massive 1.5 billion user base that uses the regular app, was officially launched back in January. The intention behind it was to allow small businesses to interact with each other on a streamlined enterprise platform. As always, WhatsApp has stated that all information between the client and business will remain end-to-end encrypted.
Just recently Facebook valuation tanked by $120 billion in a single day and it’s quite clear that the social media giant needs more revenue sources. WhatsApp for Business looks to be that stepping stone which will help Facebook to monetise the app it acquired for $19 billion four years ago.
In India, as per a report by The Economic Times, the WhatsApp for Business API will be first seen on MakeMyTrip and soon on many other businesses as well. BookMyShow, RedBus and Kotak Mahindra already have been using the pilot version since September.
If you have booked a movie ticket on BookMyShow, the tickets are usually sent to the person through WhatsApp. Similarly from now on any flight or bus tickets booked on MakeMyTrip will be sent to the user via WhatsApp.
By 2019, WhatsApp will reportedly be using the WhatsApp status feature to let businesses advertise their products and promote them. There is no confirmation on what exactly will WhatsApp charges a business for advertising on the Status feature but the user or client will be able to clearly see that the Status has come from a WhatsApp for Business user. The feature will be made available globally by 2019 said the report.
News credit : Firstpost