Things are starting to click and lines are falling into places as Facebook steps up WhatsApp monetization plans. The social media behemoth now has ads that link Facebook users to WhatsApp.
WhatsApp, one of Facebook’s biggest acquisitions till date has added three new ways for customers to connect with businesses. There is a new shortcut button to allow to initiate a quick conversation, a new tool to allow businesses send you information, and a real-time support.
Going forward, Facebook will start displaying ads of businesses that link to WhatsApp. Businesses will by this arrangement be able to buy ads that lead directly to chats that are already loaded with business on WhatsApp. Furthermore, businesses can respond to customers without paying a dime as long as this happens within 24 hours, while charges will be incurred if it exceeds the grace period.
“Today we are expanding our support for businesses that need more powerful tools to communicate with their customers,” WhatsApp announced.
Responding to questions shortly after Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said his company wasn’t thinking of monetizing or selling ads to businesses. The company said ads were not part of his plan at the time, at least not until the user base clocks 2-3 billion people; but it seems we are fast approaching that time or it is actually before us. “Our strategy is to grow and connect people. Once we get to 2-3 billion people there are ways we can monetize. Now we want to focus on growing users. I don’t think ads are the right way here.”
Early signs of Facebook’s plans to start monetizing the messaging app became glaring about a year ago when it placed ads for some key positions.
The job for the position of a lead product development was one of three positions the company announced at the time, and this gave us a clear picture of WhatsApp’s plans.
In other WhatsApp news, the app officially rolled out group video calling to all users. With this, up to four people can now chat simultaneously within a group.
Plans to bring group video calling to its users was first mentioned back in May during the Facebook F8 developer conference. WhatsApp director Mubarik Imam made the announcement during the conference, indicating back then that the group video call will be one of few other changes that will be made to the app.
Now, regardless to where group members are located, up to four people will be able to make calls simultaneously on the app. What that means is that connections will not be hindered by the quality of network in any of the areas where any of the four users will be located. As expected, calls will be protected by WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption technology.
To begin a group video chat, simply tap the new “add participant” button in the top right corner to add more contacts to the call. The update is available to all devices including iOS and Android.