Much to the dismay of some WhatsApp users, the once ad-free encrypted instant messaging platform will soon become a tool for businesses to better connect with potential consumers. On a positive note, a move by Facebook, which acquired it in 2014, will make those ads more relevant to WhatsApp users. The social media giant will provide access to Facebook user data to help businesses place less-intrusive ads – vital for successful online marketing.
Access to an Extensive Audience
It’s estimated that nearly 20 million people use the WhatsApp mobile app in the United States alone based on projections of current volume. What this means for businesses is that they now have the potential to tap into a diverse and extensive audience with targeted ads. It could also provide:
- Increased opportunities to reach mobile browsers
- Access to reliable user data when planning ad buys
- Ability to create more browser-friendly content
Addressing Privacy Concerns
There is an understandable reluctance among online browsers to share personal information, a fact that has been confirmed by multiple surveys in several countries around the world. Facebook has similarly dealt with privacy pushbacks with many users reluctant to share information they deem too personal due to rising concerns over identity theft, which affects approximately 15 million Americans annually.
Overcoming User Reluctance
The reluctance some users may have with added exposure to marketing efforts presents some challenges for businesses. Performing ad tests is one cost-effective way to determine how users of the popular platform will respond to various advertising attempts before launching a full-scale campaign.
Many WhatsApp users have already opted to provide their phone number in exchange for free text messaging via the app. This doesn’t necessarily mean those same users are thrilled about Facebook getting a hold of their data, but it does show some willingness to be flexible. For businesses, this means a need for well-researched ad buys while tapping into this newly available audience.
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