How WhatsApp’s privacy policy update will help businesses and marketers

According to WhatsApp, right now, they are focused on building new features to help businesses maximize the value of their service

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Updated: Jan 20, 2021 8:29 AM

The debate on whether WhatsApp’s privacy policy update impacts personal messaging is far from over but the platform insists the changes are related to optional business features. So, will the integration actually help marketers? According to experts, more than 175 million people message to a WhatsApp business account every day and the update will only enable better discovery and communication for the community.

“Covid has accelerated the existing momentum of a greater connect between businesses and consumers. This update is a step in that direction as businesses can use the chats to better their marketing inputs. Businesses will be able to better target their ads and personalize their ads on FB/IG based on the consumer’s conversations on WhatsApp. This should clearly increase the ROI of the platform’s ad investment,” said Rajiv Gopinath, CCO, Starcom.

According to WhatsApp, right now, they are focused on building new features to help businesses maximize the value of their service by ensuring that they can provide customer support, answer questions and even sell products via messaging.

"We believe the opportunity here to dramatically improve customer service is important and we’re excited about it. WhatsApp is fast becoming a store counter to discuss products and coordinate sales. Catalogs have allowed people to quickly see what’s available and helped businesses organize their chats around particular items. With more and more shopping happening through chats, we want to make buying and selling even easier,” said a WhatsApp spokesperson.

“We want to enable any business to operate on WhatsApp, which means giving them the ability to host their chats wherever they want to store them and giving them the ability to display their catalog and ultimately facilitate checkout right from a chat,” the spokesperson added.

Clearing doubts about the usage of data from such communications, the spokesperson said, “While Facebook will not automatically use messages to inform businesses the ads that a user sees, as is always the case, businesses will be able to use chats they receive for their own marketing purposes, which may include advertising on Facebook."

Experts emphasize on how the integration can help marketers in getting their brand/communication discovered. With the update, users would see an ad on Facebook with a button to message a business using WhatsApp. If the user has WhatsApp installed in their phone, they’ll have the option to message that business. Facebook in return may use the way you interact with these ads to personalize the ads you see on Facebook.

 “With internet access reaching out to the masses, the Indian market offers huge potential. Noting that WhatsApp is expected to share the user profile, contacts, and time spent, the data on groups joined by users is expected to benefit advertisers. It will help them target customers with relevant ads and intensify their reach in tier cities. WhatsApp's massive reach in India will benefit Facebook to strengthen its advertising game in the digital marketing ecosystem,” said Shradha Agarwal, COO and Strategy Head, Grapes Digital.

Experts also believe that with the update, brands will prefer to spend more money on Facebook as it will enhance their reach and provide higher conversion rates.

While the integrations only enhance communication options and there is no provision for advertising on the messenger platform, some experts believe that the new privacy policy is a step towards testing waters to bring advertising on WhatsApp, which currently has one of the biggest and highly engaged digital user base practically replacing SMS service.

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