With its 2 billion users and trusted messaging status, the WhatsApp application has real advertising potential. A key tool for customer relations, it has been optimized over the years to provide functionalities adapted to its specificities. Between creating product sheets and creative campaigns, it’s time to consider WhatsApp as an essential platform for your marketing strategy.
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The evolution of Facebook and WhatsApp on advertising
WhatsApp joined the Facebook family, or Meta group, in 2014 in a $19 billion buyout. Acquiring this new platform was the opportunity for Mark Zuckerberg to offer new advertising space to its advertisers. The monetization of the application has however encountered several obstacles, starting with the opposition of the co-founders of WhatsApp to broadcast advertising on their social network.
These differences of opinion eventually led them to leave the structure in 2018, but if Facebook wanted to integrate targeted advertising in WhatsApp, it also needed to update the application’s terms of service, which did not succeeded in reconciling the expectations of advertisers and compliance with the rules of the GDPR.
Professionalizing the use of WhatsApp remains a hot topic. Mark Zuckerberg wants companies to use WhatsApp, already praised as the world’s first instant messaging app, as a real customer relationship tool. He is working to optimize the marketing functions of the application, recently offering new ways to “advertise” on Whatsapp.
What can be done as a WhatsApp ad?
Broadcasting a WhatsApp ad strictly speaking is impossible
Advertisers have quickly invested in the platform for their marketing strategies, ready to redefine advertising codes and reach the greatest number of prospects. Those who intend to use WhatsApp as a channel for distributing their advertisements, however, will be disappointed to discover that it is still impossible to display advertising content directly in message threads. The application indeed secures the data of its users with an iron fist and prevents the distribution of targeted WhatsApp ads as allowed by the Facebook and Instagram networks, among others.
However, the tool should not be put aside! WhatsApp has indeed developed other alternative features, closer to the needs of its advertisers. It is thus quite possible for a company to use this channel to promote its offers and nurture a relationship of trust with its consumers. Its first private messaging function is also very useful in this area.
Develop your business strategy with WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp Business API
WhatsApp has two processes in place that allow a business to have a business profile: WhatsApp Business, designed for the needs of small business owners, and WhatsApp Business API, suitable for larger volumes of requests.
These two tools facilitate exchanges with customers. They offer companies the possibility of automating, organizing and quickly responding to requests, while promoting their activity.
Once its profile is completed, the company can share information such as its opening hours and highlight its offers through a catalog. This latest feature allows a WhatsApp user to obtain information about a company’s product lines directly from the instant messaging application installed on their smartphone. Companies have their own WhatsApp promotional space similar to a showcase site. Products are added to the catalog in minutes, with photos, descriptions or other information such as price.
WhatsApp thus facilitates customers’ access to the details of their offer and allows them, in case of questions, to contact the company instantly.
Obtain opt-ins to broadcast commercial messages to its customers on WhatsApp
Broadcasting commercial communications on WhatsApp requires obtaining the explicit consent of its customers through what the law calls an “opt-in”. These legal rules are very structured to ensure respect for the privacy of application users, helping to make WhatsApp one of the most secure messaging services in the digital sphere.
As a general rule, the opt-in request can be transmitted digitally by e-mail or physically when signing a form: its form is free. It will eventually make it possible to broadcast transactional messages as well as newsletters.
Transactional messages: These automatic notifications are sent to a customer according to their user journey on the company’s website. These messages may relate to order updates, a reservation or subscription confirmation, but also extend to sending a reminder when a potential customer’s basket has not been validated. Using WhatsApp for the distribution of these messages means enjoying an opening rate of 70%, compared to 18% for e-mails.
Newsletters: This new feature allows advertisers to send commercial messages in the format of a WhatsApp newsletter. This type of medium is an opportunity for companies to share promotional offers outside of advertising content in the strict sense, while using new formats such as video or audio in their communications.
Although the WhatsApp newsletter is sent in bulk to a contact list, it appears as an individual message to the customer, who can reply to it directly in a private chat. It is therefore less perceived as spam than e-mails or SMS, making it a good alternative to traditional distribution channels.
Direct customers to the WhatsApp instant messaging of its structure
Creating a bridge between its digital platforms is essential to generate traffic to each of them. This applies all the more to WhatsApp instant messaging, whose entry point is primarily a customer-initiated chat.
The discussion tool must therefore be accessible, starting from the company’s commercial platform. Regardless of the CMS used, the latter has the possibility of integrating a WhatsApp chat button directly on its website, allowing its customers to easily contact it in the event of a question about a product or an after-sales service request.
On the social network side, Facebook and Instagram offer to integrate a WhatsApp button in their advertising content to redirect customers to the instant messaging application. The latter can start a conversation with the company, but also, by extension, have access to its profile and its catalog of WhatsApp products.
In addition, WhatsApp recently rolled out a feature to create Facebook ads directly from the WhatsApp Business Tools dashboard. Content is generated from the WhatsApp catalog, allowing the customer to be redirected to the associated WhatsApp product sheets.
Stand out with a creative campaign
Creativity is often the best Whatsapp advertisement: many brands have taken over the application to deploy original marketing campaigns, well before the professionalization of the tool.
One of the best-known examples is Sven, the virtual bouncer at the event launched by Absolut Vodka when its collection was released in 2013, who allowed two customers who convinced him via WhatsApp chat to attend the party.
Toyota, for its part, invited WhatsApp users to select the “hybrid” status during its “Hybrid yourself” campaign. Participants were then drawn at random to win an iPhone.
Another creative campaign worth mentioning is that of Agent Provocateur. The lingerie brand used WhatsApp to send couples tips for the holiday season. These private conversations were maintained by real personal shopper and generated 61% of visits to the website and 31% in store.
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