The leader in most of the world is WhatsApp (a pun on the phrase “what’s up”), with 1.2 billion monthly active users around the world.
That kind of market penetration can’t be ignored. But how can you effectively use WhatsApp for marketing? Like all relatively unexplored frontiers, there are equal measures of risk and reward for early adopters. Here’s our marketer’s guide to WhatsApp.
Everything you need to know to market on WhatsApp right now.
WhatsApp has begun testing a system that allows businesses to message consumers directly, according to a report by Reuters. In other words, WhatsApp is getting ready to actually make real money.
WhatsApp today began to roll out Status updates you can make by writing text on a colorful image background, a company spokesperson has informed VentureBeat. While Status debuted as a text-only feature, it grew to include photos and videos. Today’s update lets users choose a font, background color, and even add links.
WhatsApp, the standalone messaging app that Facebook bought for $19 billion back in early 2014, doesn’t make any money.
That’s about to change — apparently soon — as WhatsApp is hiring for a number of key monetization roles, including a product manager position to “lead product development on our monetization efforts.”
WhatsApp could put the brakes on Snapchat’s international growth with today’s launch of WhatsApp Status, a new tab for sharing decorated photos, videos and GIFs that disappear after 24 hours. It’s another Facebook-owned Snapchat Stories copycat, but the twist is that it’s end-to-end encrypted like WhatsApp messaging.
How are Brands Using It?
With 1bn users worldwide, WhatsApp presents a massive opportunity for marketers, enabling instant customer service and highly targeted marketing.
It’s still early days for brands on WhatsApp — most are approaching it as an experimental platform — but with retailer mobile app traction on the decline and Facebook Messenger still building out its offering to be more brand-friendly, quick adapters of the chat-driven technology could find themselves at an advantage.
Net-a-Porter’s Whatsapp personal stylists chat one-on-one with top customers, referred to by the company as “Extremely Important People.” This strategy falls in line with the ways other brands have taken to the app for customer service and marketing: Brands like Diesel, Kenneth Cole, Clark’s and Agent Provocateur have used WhatsApp to talk with customers and run campaigns.
The Financial Times has been broadcasting stories through WhatsApp for the past year as a way of reaching new readers, growing loyalty and driving people back to the FT’s site, where they are more likely to subscribe.
During that time it has honed its content strategy to push out more specific market-related stories, rather than general news, and has found that people who access the FT’s journalism through WhatsApp are more likely to return to its site in the next seven days.
Germany is less than three months away from a national election, and publishers there are pushing for new ways to engage first-time voters in the run-up. That’s why Axel Springer’s in-house journalism school’s latest project was to figure out what new editorial formats engage 18- to 22-year-olds in politics, specifically via WhatsApp.
Chief editors from across Axel Springer’s titles help select the Axel Springer Academy’s 40 students, who receive on-the-job training at the publisher’s titles, including Bild, Business Insider Germany and Politico Europe. The WhatsApp trial ran for a week in June, and Axel Springer editors are now receiving the results. Here’s a closer look at the project.
Facebooks efforts to turn WhatsApp into a revenue generator are becoming more apparent by the day.
Case in point: WhatsApp yesterday announced the launch of WhatsApp Business. Here’s what marketers need to know about it.