WhatsApp adds commerce service as Meta seeks more revenue

More than eight years later agree to buy one of the largest messaging apps in the world, the company formerly known as Facebook decided to start monetizing it.

WhatsApp, the popular messaging service owned by Meta, the parent company of Facebook, said on Thursday that it will open up commercial services to people who want to use the messaging app for power. for their business. This is WhatsApp’s biggest step forward in monetizing a service used by more than a billion people globally.

The new initiative allows business owners to access the WhatsApp Cloud Application Programming Interface, a way to build a custom dashboard on the WhatsApp software so they can chat with customers and provide services. customer service easier.

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Meta, said: “This is an important step towards helping more businesses connect with people and helping more people get the message across to the businesses they want to support – whether big or small,” Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Meta, said at an event announcing the new service.

WhatsApp plans to charge users based on the number of conversations they have with customers per day, from a fraction to more than 10 cents a conversation, depending on the region. It also plans to offer a free tier with limited services for small businesses.

The move is Meta’s strongest signal that it wants to start generating meaningful revenue from WhatsApp, especially as it faces multi-faceted business challenges. Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014 for $22 billion, the company’s most expensive acquisition. For years, WhatsApp was free to use while Meta cost hundreds of millions of dollars to operate and support.

Now, making more money has become paramount. By Meta advertising business has been harmed due to Apple’s changes to the iPhone operating system, and the company lost tens of millions of users in Russia after being banned in the country. The war in Ukraine has also upset some of Meta’s advertising activities.

Additionally, Meta is navigating a complex transition to becoming a “supermarket” company that provides people with a rich digital experience. In February, a quarter of the company’s market value was wiped out – more than $230 billion – after a dismal earnings report.

Previously, WhatsApp was always hesitant to monetize its service. The company’s founders took an oath to ditch ads on the app, and after starting to think about charging each user $1 per year to use the service, Facebook executives gave that this idea is too lacking and difficult to extend.

By 2018, the founders of WhatsApp were out the door. Mr. Zuckerberg has announced plans to combine all messaging services across the apps he owns – WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram. The company has made changes that allow Facebook to collect more details about how people use WhatsApp. WhatsApp maintains no change was used for ad tracking purposes.

At the same time, WhatsApp’s reach continues to spread globally, being embraced by millions of users in Brazil and South America, as well as across the Middle East and much of the European Union.

Many of them include small and medium businesses that use WhatsApp for free to talk to customers. But the experience, WhatsApp has said, is complex and sometimes difficult to navigate and is not designed with business services in mind.

WhatsApp’s new product is supposed to solve such problems and could allow those businesses to communicate with their customers more easily using the app. The cloud storage service will be provided free of charge to businesses using the cloud API.

Mr. Zuckerberg said that more than a billion users connect with businesses on Meta’s messaging services every week and that the new product will make things easier for businesses and customers.

“Today, most of us use our feeds to discover interesting and up-to-date content,” Zuckerberg said at the event. “But for deeper levels of interaction, messaging has become central to our digital lives.”

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