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WhatsApp Scales Up Business Directory & Commerce Offerings

Meta has been searching for ways to monetise WhatsApp more effectively for years. One of the ways it has done so is by turning it into a commerce platform, which seems to be having some success. For example, click-to-WhatApp ads have grown by 80% and looks set to earn Meta $1.5 billion revenue.

Business discovery feature launched

To keep pushing the commerce side of WhatsApp, a new business directory has been launched in Brazil, Indonesia, Colombia, Mexico and the UK. The move also fits with Meta’s attempts to maximise business opportunities via messaging through features such as click-to-message ads.

According to Meta, it will let users browse businesses by category (such as travel) or search for companies directly within the directory. The search function includes a map so users can look for businesses close to them.

Businesses have to sign up for the directory, and will then appear in it across all five countries. In Brazil, small businesses will be eligible to sign up.

WhatsApp says its directory will save people from having to find phone numbers on websites or search for one from contacts.

WhatsApp

“As more businesses use WhatsApp, we want people to be in control of their conversations. Some of the businesses that have recently joined WhatsApp are helping people open a bank account, purchase a train ticket and order groceries.”

The ultimate goal is for customers to find, message and buy from a business, within the same WhatsApp chat. That could be hugely beneficial to brands as it will open up a new, hugely popular platform to reach customers on.

WhatsApp wants to be a self-contained ecosystem

As briefly touched on, WhatsApp is working on a way to let people pay for goods and services within the platform.

WhatsApp

We want people to be able to make a secure payment right from a chat with their credit or debit card, and we recently launched this experience in India. Now, we’re excited to be testing this in Brazil with multiple payment partners. This seamless checkout experience will be a game-changer for people and businesses looking to buy and sell on WhatsApp without having to go to a website, open another app or pay in-person.”

If WhatsApp can get this right, it’ll provide opportunities for brands and WhatsApp to increase revenue and sales. While not relevant to an Aussie or Kiwi audience just yet, if Brazil (a country with 120 million users) can be a successful test, it bodes well for the rest of the world.

That could be easier said than done. Brazilian authorities have told WhatsApp to go back to the lab as it wasn’t happy with how it conducted its financial offering.

A messaging revolution

Like we touched on, messaging is a huge part of Meta’s strategy moving forward. It’s already introduced AI to its business messaging and lead generation products to help marketers get more bang for their buck.

Click to Messenger ads have also been introduced.

Facebook for Business

“Typically, we show Click to Messenger ads to people who are most likely to initiate a conversation with a business on WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct. With this update, we’re introducing the ability for advertisers to run Click to Messenger ads which will reach the people who are most likely to make a purchase in a thread.”

A new ad format that takes customers to Messenger or a form, depending on which they are most likely to interact with, has also been introduced.

Meta is taking messaging very seriously and we can expect to see more research, and more features, announced in the future. And if WhatsApp can get things right over in Brazil, it could be a stepping-stone for small businesses to move a lot of how they talk and interact with customers to WhatsApp.

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