As Facebook moves to capitalize on the growing popularity of messaging, Facebook-owned WhatsApp has this week announced the launch of WhatsApp business, their dedicated tool for brands.
As you can see from the screenshots, the new app adds a range of business-specific tools, including:
- Business Profiles - Help customers with useful information such as a business description, email or store addresses, and website.
- Messaging Tools - Save time with smart messaging tools — quick replies that provide fast answers to frequently asked questions, greeting messages that introduce customers to your business, and away messages that let them know you're busy.
- Messaging Statistics - Review simple metrics like the number of messages read to see what's working.
- WhatsApp Web - Send and receive messages with WhatsApp Business on your desktop.
- Account Type - People will know that they're talking to a business because you will be listed as a Business Account. Over time, some businesses will have Confirmed Accounts once it’s been confirmed that the account phone number matches the business phone number.
WhatsApp started rolling out their verified – or ‘confirmed’ – accounts last August, when they also announced their coming business tools.
At that time, WhatsApp noted that they would also be making it easier for users to understand when they were communicating with a business by changing the color of the text bubbles when engaging with brands. That doesn’t appear to be part of this first iteration of the tool - though they did also outline broader plans for a paid enterprise version, which is also set to come sometime in future.
As noted, given the rising popularity of messaging – and WhatsApp in particular – it makes sense for Facebook to launch business-specific tools for the platform. WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are the two most popular messaging apps in the world, and as such, the benefits of WhatsApp’s business tools will be relative to your audience and who you’re trying to reach.
At the same time, they may also open up more opportunities for businesses looking to expand into new regions. While Messenger may be the key messaging platform in your region, WhatsApp is the leader in many others. With WhatsÁpp's new tools, it may be worth investing in new opportunities to expand your reach.
WhatsApp Business is available from today via the Google Play store in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S. The app is rolling out to all other regions ‘in the coming weeks’.