Facebook, the biggest social media network in the world is planning to monetise WhatsApp which it bought for $22 billion in 2014.
WhatsApp with 1 billion daily users, will charge companies to use some future features in the two free business tools it is testing.
The tools, already available in some countries, help companies answer customers’ questions and send them updates. Users need to opt in to be contacted by companies.
A blog post from WhatsApp revealed that they discovered the need for the messaging platform to connect more companies to customers adding that “In the coming months, we’ll be testing new features that aim to solve some of these challenges, and make it easier for people to communicate with the businesses they want to reach on WhatsApp. Our approach is simple – we want to apply what we’ve learned helping people connect with each other to helping people connect with businesses that are important to them.”
The post further stated: “We know businesses have many different needs. For example, they want an official presence – a verified profile so people can identify a business from another person – and an easier way to respond to messages. We’re building and testing new tools via a free WhatsApp Business app for small companies and an enterprise solution for bigger companies operating at a large scale with a global base of customers, like airlines, e-commerce sites, and banks. These businesses will be able to use our solutions to provide customers with useful notifications like flight times, delivery confirmations, and other updates.”
The new features could help Facebook start building up WhatsApp as a stronger business. Also, if Facebook decides to charge businesses for services, it may help it avoid placing ads on WhatsApp.
It is noteworthy to add that Facebook makes most of its money off advertising and already expanded ads to Facebook Messenger and Instagram. Facebook didn’t rule out ads on WhatsApp but said it’s now focusing on the business features.
Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has said he expects WhatsApp and Messenger, two of the world’s most popular chat platforms.