WhatsApp Eyes Businesses To Make Revenue

by CXOtoday News Desk    Feb 27, 2017


Popular messaging platform WhatsApp that crossed 200 million active users in India, now wants to go beyond just being an instant messaging platform and would now leap into a revenue-making role soon. The instant messaging app is testing a new version of the platform, what it calls Whatsapp for business to involve small business to propagate via this platform. WhatsApp for Business will debut in India this year, the company confirmed.

At first, it gives an impression that the platform is built to compete with communication business platform Slack or is similar to Facebook at work. But the company said it has new and different features to offer.

“This is also applicable for very small businesses, employing less than 10 people, and they are asking for a mobile client, which will help them manage businesses in an easier manner, whether it is about managing customer contact lists or multi-agent support,” Brian Acton, co-founder of WhatsApp, said in an interview.

Acton emphasized that Facebook at Work is for large enterprises such as International Business Machines Corp., which employ thousands of people.

The new messaging platform which will allow businesses to download the app and engage with the vast user base of the app has zeroed on in India for its pilot testing.

“We built this for India… and the users can give us feedback on how to make this product better, and then we will take it to Brazil and Indonesia,” Acton said.

WhatsApp, which turned eight years old on Friday, was waiting to monetize its business because the instant messaging platform, which Facebook bought for $19 billion in 2014, was readying itself for advertisers.

While Acton said it is too early to say how WhatsApp for Business will make money off the new platform, heexplained that there would be no compromise in a user’s experience and simplicity on WhatsApp for Business “We have this long-standing theme—no ads, no games, and no gimmicks,” he said.

WhatsApp for Business will enable businesses to send targeted messages and videos. “If you are a small shop owner, and there is a bunch of people who buy from you, it will make communication easier,” said, Neeraj Arora, head of business at WhatsApp.

 Acton said that it will be within his cognizance as to who he wants to engage with. “In emails, I don’t feel I am in control. I don’t want to see WhatsApp becoming that, and I will fight that till my dying breath,” he added.