WhatsApp has finally released its long-awaited WhatsApp Business app. Unfortunately, not everyone can access it yet. The company released it in select markets, such as Mexico, Italy, Indonesia, the US and the UK. However, it’s going to roll out worldwide in the coming weeks.
It’ll have an enterprise solution that includes business profiles and messaging tools for business customers. It’s part of the company’s plan to generate revenue by charging the larger enterprises for using its advanced tools to connect with their customers.
The free version is for small and large businesses, and it’s only available for Android. It allows companies to connect with their customers. The app also helps them in establishing an official presence on the service. When you look at it closely, it resembles that of a Facebook Page.
WhatsApp announced it back in September 2017. The enterprise solution allows global companies to provide their customers with notifications, like delivery confirmations and flight times. Last year, the app started its pilot program and had been verifying accounts. All verified accounts will get a green checkmark that indicates their authenticity.
Users will know if they’re interacting with a business if the account is listed as a business account. And if it’s a verified account, it’ll be listed as a confirmed account.
WhatsApp verification method includes matching the business’ phone number to that of the registered phone number. Businesses that provided their phone number can contact people. But first, these people need to agree to be contacted by the company over the app.
Alternatively, users can contact the businesses on WhatsApp first before they can respond with either a sponsored message or organic message.
After establishing its presence on the network, businesses can use the tools in the app. The smart messaging tools are similar to the ones you’ll find on Facebook Messenger.
In 2014, Facebook acquired the said app for $19 billion. Both companies stated that they would not integrate ads into the app. Their reason is that the ads would degrade the experience. However, it also eliminated the $1 annual subscription fee. As a result, the company left with a few monetization options.
WhatsApp has more than 1.3 billion monthly users. Each day, one billion users are messaging their friends through the app. Thus, WhatsApp reached that level where it’s necessary for the company to earn revenue from light advertising.
The WhatsApp Status, which is a clone of Snapchat Stories, has 250 million users each day. Thus, it can implement vertical video ads between content. When Facebook acquired it, it was one of the most expensive startup acquisitions. Since then, the app tripled in size under the new management.
If you’re a general user, there’s no need to download the WhatsApp Business app if you wish to communicate with businesses. Companies and brands, however, will have to use it if they want to chat with their customers. Users can block numbers and report spam.
The enterprise solution is not yet available. Currently, its free version is available now on Google Play.