Facebook’s 19 billion dollar capture of WhatsApp sure raised eyebrows back in 2014. Fast forward 3 years, and the Mark Zuckerberg led company is now finally starting to piece things together with the world’s most popular instant messaging service.
In September 2017, WhatsApp announced the feature of having verified profiles for businesses. This allowed companies and brands to design digital marketing specifically to reach end users on the texting service.
Now, Facebook is going one step further by giving businesses the option of linking their ads with a click-to-WhatsApp button. This is essentially the WhatsApp alternative of a feature that already exists with Messenger.
“Many people already communicate with small businesses on WhatsApp. With the introduction of this button, it will become easier for businesses to tell users about their latest products and services or even set up appointments,” says Facebook’s product and marketing manager Pancham Gajjar in his statement to the media.
While this is a move catered towards strengthening a company’s brand engagement and digital marketing, prospects, it can also have far reaching consequences in the customer service industry.
Only those with WhatsApp installed on their phone will be able to see these WhatsApp-enabled ads on their Facebook feed. Besides the relative similarity with any other news feed, they will come with a ‘send message’ button bearing WhatsApp’s icon. Once a user hits the button, the phone screen will switch to the messaging service with a pre-formatted message.
The user can then choose to send the message or edit as per personal discretion. This message will then find its way to the company along with an image of the original ad. The brand too will get to know which of its ads was successful in converting a targeted consumer.
For now, companies cannot access this feature through Facebook’s ad buying tool or the advertising API. They will need to purchase the click-to-WhatsApp function by using the boost organic page post function. Apart from a digital marketing standpoint, companies also stand to gain by collecting user conversion information like demographic, gender, age, location and more.
Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have long been by companies for displaying branded content. Now that WhatsApp joins the game as well, it will be interesting to see the ingenuity of companies in designing consumer specific marketing strategies.