With over 1.2 billion active users every month, WhatsApp is undoubtedly one of the most popular applications for smartphones. The convenience of sending messages to any cellular phone number in the world free of charge over the Internet was revolutionary at the time the app was launched and all the additional features that have been introduced since then have only helped boost the app’s popularity.
Now owned by Facebook, this app is about to allow businesses to contact WhatsApp users, which is a major breakthrough in terms of opening new communication channels between enterprises and existing or potential customers. Even though it might seem like a pretty straightforward idea, there are quite a few implications that need to be taken into account.
WhatsApp built its reputation on the fact that it provided free communication, but it has to find a way to make money after it introduced this new feature. One way to do it would be to charge companies that wish to use this service. The main problem, however, would be to avoid spam messages being sent through the app, since it would have a huge negative effect.
Needless to say, WhatsApp has organized an extensive investigation into the type of content that users would not mind receiving from businesses. How successful the implementation of the results of this research remains to be seen.
Early trials have already been organized, but we still don’t have enough information to make any conclusions about what it’s really going to look like. What we know for sure is that the system has been tested in remote areas, where WhatsApp is extremely popular, such as India.
One company which makes data-collecting collars for dairy cows, for example, is looking forward to implementing the new feature, since it would allow them to receive instant messages via WhatsApp in case there is a problem with a cow’s behavior. However, it’s safe to say that many users would not be very happy to receive messages from companies, who in turn should seek advice from experts MSM Loss Management in providing litigation support services.
If we think how much some people hate receiving junk mail in their mailbox, we can only imagine their reaction to SMSs, which are always seen as a much more direct way of invading someone’s privacy. How this internationally popular app will deal with such threats remains to be seen, but we can say with quite a lot of certainty that there are enormous challenges before the decision makers at Facebook, who have already tried a similar thing with Messenger. The attempt led to the creation of a great number of chatbots, which simulated communication with human users.
Though the idea itself is not new, a successful implementation of this new feature would most certainly be a revolutionary game-changer, since it would help this hugely popular and well-established app to add a feature that would be primarily and openly focused on creating profit by allowing enterprises to send direct messages to their existing or potential clients.
Still, the scope and nature of obstacles make it a most challenging job. Current users must not be pushed away and made to turn to competitors, while the businesses using this feature should generate enough ROI to continue using it. Only time will tell how this tech giant will fare and we won’t have to wait long for the answer.