WhatsApp Business is introducing new paid features as it announces its monthly active users are now more than 200 million.
Meta Platforms-owned WhatsApp Business, a version of the instant messaging app built for small businesses, now has over 200 million users. According to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, this is a 4x jump from three years ago. In 2020, 2 years after its launch, WhatsApp Business announced a monthly active user (MAU) count of 50 million.
Meta is now touting the advantages of business messaging as the company records a decrease in advertising. The social media and tech giant has lost some of its core advertising business to a dwindling economy and a general reduction in spending power.
In 2021, the Facebook company rebranded to Meta Platforms to shift its focus to the metaverse. At the time, the company explained that it planned to make the metaverse a reality for users to find other people, grow their communities and advance businesses. However, Meta Platforms is shifting its focus from the metaverse to apps. Speaking at a company-wide meeting shortly after announcing it would fire 11,000 workers, Zuckerberg said:
“…The reality is that business messaging is probably going to be the next major pillar of our business as we work to monetize WhatsApp and Messenger more.”
Expected WhatsApp Business Features for Users
Meta Platforms is still working very hard to develop a metaverse and is investing several billion into the endeavor. To make up for the large investment, the company is focusing on generating revenue from other channels, including WhatsApp. Meta is now introducing more features to ramp up income from WhatsApp Business.
For instance, users on WhatsApp Business can now create “click-to-WhatsApp” ads right from the app instead of via a Facebook account. Zuckerberg mentioned last year during Meta’s earnings call for Q3 that these ads recorded an 80% year-on-year (YoY) growth, exceeding the $1.5 billion annual revenue run rate.
In addition to the in-app ad, WhatsApp Business plans to generate revenue from message automation. The paid feature would allow users to automate the delivery of personalized messages to customers. WhatsApp Business users will be able to create customer lists and automate different personalized messages for each list. Business owners may use this feature to offer a promo or discount code to one or more lists, and not their entire customer base.
WhatsApp is introducing in-app features that allow customers to pay businesses directly. In April, WhatsApp launched end-to-end payments in Brazil, with Zuckerberg confirming that anyone can “pay local businesses right in a WhatsApp chat”. In an official announcement, Meta described the feature as a “game-changer” that allows people to complete transactions without opening another app or visiting a website.
Previously, peer-to-peer payments were available to WhatsApp users in Brazil. However, regulatory requirements did not allow Meta to expand the feature for merchant purchases. Merchants had to use a third-party service to generate a payment link and then forward the same via WhatsApp. Now, in-app payments make the process of buying, selling, and paying, a lot more seamless.