After reporting sluggish earnings growth last week, Facebook has decided to monetize WhatsApp by display ads of businesses that link out to the messaging service, The Verge is reporting. At the same time, WhatsApp is rolling out three new tools for customers to connect quickly with businesses.
Facebook says that businesses can now purchase ads that lead people directly to an already loaded chat with the business on WhatsApp, and they can start talking from there. Businesses can respond to customers for free if they answer within 24 hours but Facebook will charge them for any response after 24 hours.
Here’s how people can connect with a business on WhatsApp:
- Request helpful information: When you need a shipping confirmation or boarding pass, you can give your mobile number to a business on their website, on their app, or in their store to send you information on WhatsApp.
- Start a conversation: You may see a click-to-chat button on a website or Facebook ad to quickly message a business.
- Get support: Some businesses may provide real-time support on WhatsApp to answer questions about their products or help you resolve an issue.
The message function on WhatsApp is exactly the same as the one found on Facebook, where you can go to a business’s page and send a message.
WhatsApp has been testing the new messaging tools since last year with about select businesses, including Uber, Wish, and Singapore Airlines.