WhatsApp Business launched on Android device a year ago which is reportedly being used by 5 million businesses globally. This week, WhatsApp announced the launch of the business app on iOS. In a statement by WhatsApp,
“Today we’re introducing the WhatsApp Business app for iOS. Like the Android version, the WhatsApp Business app for iOS will be free to download from the App Store, and will include features to help small businesses and customers communicate.”
With 1.5 billion active users, WhatsApp has become the most used messaging app in the world. A close second with 1.3 billion active users is Facebook Messenger. Both leading apps are owned by Facebook which makes it easy to understand the reason to expand focus on messaging and why adding more business tools is a priority.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently shared the company’s stance on messaging in a statement,
“I believe the future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services where people can be confident what they say to each other stays secure and their messages and content won’t stick around forever. This is the future I hope we will help bring about.”
Citing WhatsApp’s role in the larger plan, Zuckerberg added,
“We plan to build this the way we’ve developed WhatsApp: focus on the most fundamental and private use case – messaging – make it as secure as possible, and then build more ways for people to interact on top of that, including calls, video chats, groups, stories, businesses, payments, commerce, and ultimately a platform for many other kinds of private services.”
The vision is clear, a move away from broadcast content like News Feed and towards private messaging. WhatsApp messenger will be at the centre of that move and therefore adding business tools is essential.
If you look at the above map, WhatsApp is hugely popular in some markets like Europe and South America but not so much in Western nations. The value of WhatsApp for businesses then will depend on which market they are targeting. Facebook is coming up with new initiatives for businesses looking to expand into new markets and WhatsApp will play a major role in that scenario.
There are still some 23 million WhatsApp users in the US. As Facebook continues to shift towards more private communications, WhatsApp will be the flagbearer of the move. Keeping informed of the development and growth of the WhatsApp Business app may be in the best interest of those looking to capitalize on newer opportunities that may present themselves in the future.