What's still possible with WhatsApp? What are the alternatives, especially for publishers and media companies?Status quo June 2019
WhatsApp is the most popular messenger service and and the best way to reach the younger target group. So what’s more obvious than using this service for commercial purposes? Some companies have tried this before. Espsecially media companies had great success in reaching their subscribers by using this very push method.
Facebook has tolerated WhatsApp newsletters if they were sent through certified partners and certain rules were followed. The Facebook group announced at the Google News Spirit Conference that this should now be over. Starting December 7, 2019, newsletter distribution will be officially excluded from WhatsApp use. This step was justified by the danger of spreading Fakenews, but also by the fact that WhatsApp focuses on personal communication.
What is Facebook going to do with WhatsApp?
Facebook probably also wants to strengthen its own business. On the one hand, it should be possible to place advertisements in WhatsApp Stories as of 2020. Since the stories have not been used much so far, Facebook might want to place advertisements between the chat messages in the future. This is already the case with Facebook Messenger. Especially when advertising is to be displayed in a personalized way, the encryption/data security will suffer.
On the other hand, WhatsApp has been offering a business version since 2018 that goes beyond the standard app in its functionality. In addition to the chat function, there is also the option of sending automated messages, storing premade messages and using them as a quick function, marking and organizing chats, as well as having statistics. The WhatsApp Business App is currently free of charge. Unfortunately, in many cases these possibilities do not replace the newsletter via WhatsApp.
One should not get the idea of simply letting it continuing. Facebook reserves the right to take legal actions in the event of violations of the new WhatsApp guidelines. The use of WhatsApp for the distribution of newsletters by media companies is thus history at the end of the year.
What can WhatsApp still be used for?
As of December, only service notifications via WhatsApp will remain as an option. But that’s also what customers want, as a recent survey shows. For example, 51 percent of WhatsApp’s users want to be informed about the shipping status. Also, 50 percent of survey participants would like to make appointments and 43 percent would like to be informed about deviations of their booked flights or trains via WhatsApp. However, respondents have been less open to purely promotional messages, with only 23 percent wanting information about offers and special prices.
Looking at this May 2019 survey (published by iBusiness – German Language), one might think that Facebook’s decision to ban the WhatsApp newsletter application is in the best interest of users. Service emails, on the other hand, are desired by every second user. This means in conclusion, there is a potential for companies to strengthen customer loyalty with the help of WhatsApp.
What are media companies and the likes supposed to do since they used to genereate a major profit via WhatsApp? Of course, it’s difficult to replace a channel like WhatsApp, but it should be possible to compensate for at least part of it with other measures. We at AGNITAS offer you the most interesting push marketing solutions. For example, applications such as our Content Hub, real-time content and various interfaces are available to you so that you can quickly and easily report on current events with the classic push communication tool – the newsletter. Another channel is also particularly suitable for breaking news: With Web Push Notifications, you can keep your readers up to date at all times with a short message. No separate application is required, all major browsers support this service.
Get to know your subscribers better with our Content Hub, for example, and guide them through the flood of information to the individually important content. Via so-called Preference Centers you can query the interests of your readers and serve them completely individually.
Bind your customers to your media company in the long term by addressing them in a targeted manner – preferably across several channels. Do not simply send a newsletter, but use e.g. Web Push Notifications to transmit important messages immediately. Create incentives for previous offline customers to get to know your online portfolio.
We will be happy to explain to you personally and tailored to your individual situation which options are still available.