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WhatsApp extends options for marketers but insists consumers will retain ‘full control’

WhatsApp is increasing the ways marketers and consumers can communicate but stressed users will still have “full control” over the messages they receive.

The Facebook-owned messaging platform said the new features on its WhatsApp Business app have been driven by feedback from consumers.

“They have told us that it’s quicker and easier to chat with a business than making a call or sending an email,” WhatsApp wrote in a blog. “We are expanding our support for businesses that need more powerful tools to communicate with their customers.”

Three functions have been added.

The first will enable consumers to leave their mobile number on a firm’s website, app or in store, if they need, for example. “shipping confirmation or [a] boarding pass”.

In addition, a click-to-chat button will be added to a website or Facebook ads so consumers “can quickly message a business”, while marketers will also have the ability to provide “real time support on WhatsApp to answer questions about their product or help resolve an issue”.

WhatsApp stressed consumers will retain “full control”.

“Businesses will pay to send certain messages so they are selective and your chats don’t get cluttered,” it added. “In addition, messages will remain end-to-end encrypted and you can block any business with the tap of a button.”

The blog post added that WhatsApp “will bring more businesses onto WhatsApp over a period of time”.

“To do so, we will work directly with a few hundred businesses and a select number of companies that specialize in managing customer communications,” it said.

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