Meta announced today that WhatsApp Business, its app designed specifically for small businesses, has crossed the mark of 200 million monthly active users — up from 50 million in 2020. As the company is pursuing its “year of efficiency,” it also launched features like easier ad creation and a personalized message service for WhatsApp Business users.
Mark Zuckerberg is pouring billions into developing a metaverse. In order to offset that, the company is ramping up revenue generation from other avenues such as WhatsApp.
The Meta-owned chat app said that, starting today, WhatsApp Business users will be able to create “click-to-WhatsApp” ads without a Facebook account. The company noted that sellers can create, purchase, and publish ads for Facebook and Instagram directly from within the app.
Last year, during Meta’s Q3 earnings call, Zuckerberg mentioned that “click-to-WhatsApp” ads surpassed the annual revenue run rate of $1.5 billion with 80% year-on-year growth.
WhatsApp Business is also adding another paid feature that lets merchants automate the process of sending personalized messages to their customers. The company didn’t share the pricing details as WhatsApp said it will start testing the feature “soon.”
The screengrabs shared by the company indicate that businesses will be able to send different messages to different customer lists. For instance, a seller can send a discount code to new customers with a purchase button.
Over the last few months, Meta has made concrete steps towards increasing revenue earned through paid messaging. In February, it announced changes in the pricing structure and messaging categories on WhatsApp. These categories included utility, authentication (to send one-time passcodes), marketing, and user-initiated service conversations.
“I shared last quarter that click-to-message ads reached a $10 billion revenue run rate. And since then, the number of businesses using our other business messaging service — paid messaging on WhatsApp — has grown by 40% quarter-over-quarter,” Zuckerberg said in the Q1 2023 earnings call.
Currently, the company doesn’t declare separate revenue for WhatsApp, but clubs it with the “other” category. In the quarter ending in March, Meta said that the WhatsApp Business platform had a strong growth in messaging revenue, but it was offset by “a decline in other line items” — resulting in a 5% dip for the category year-over-year.
WhatsApp has also taken steps to foster its payments business on the platform. In April, it introduced the ability to pay merchants for users in Brazil. A month later, the company introduced similar functionality in Singapore. Earlier this month, WhatsApp launched the channels feature to facilitate broadcast conversations from different organizations. At that time, the company also mentioned that it is exploring ways to integrate payments into channels.