Over the last week or so, there have been a lot of news articles flying around about WhatsApp being open for businesses and businesses are losing their collective minds with excitement.
Before we get into WHY this is the reaction, let me explain what the status quo was before this announcement.
PRIOR TO this update to their terms of service, WhatsApp told businesses that they were not allowed to use their application for commercial purposes: advertising, commerce, customer service…This was a big deal as WhatsApp is the most widely used consumer messaging application on a global scale and they weren’t allowing businesses to engage with customers as apps like WeChat, LINE and Kik were.
WHY did businesses care? If you’re a client, you may have already seen our research on what businesses are doing with consumer messaging apps to engage customers.
- How Consumer Messaging Apps are Being Used for CRM [client access only]
- Top Use Cases and Benefits of Consumer Messaging Apps for CRM [client access only]
If not, you should know that we expect that by 2019, requests for customer support through consumer mobile messaging apps will exceed requests for customer support through traditional social media. So now think of the hundreds of millions of dollars spent every year on social customer service…and then think about how heavily invested companies are going to be in messaging apps like WhatsApp. The sooner they can get started, the better!
HOWEVER – this announcement from WhatsApp is being misinterpreted a bit and we should provide clarity on two things:
- WhatsApp has NOT released an API for companies to more easily connect.
- WhatsApp contacts and Facebook contacts are not being merged. WhatsApp cohort activity is going to be used to further inform Facebook cohort activity to help make targeted advertising hit the groups they are really aimed at.
With that in mind…pop champagne, just don’t go crazy.
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