With over 1.5 billion users and 70% of those using it daily, WhatsApp is the go-to instant messaging platform for many smartphone users. With such a vast base of users who trust the app, it offers considerable potential to any business able to harness this and engage effectively with its users.

About a year ago WhatsApp released its increasingly popular WhatsApp for Business App to monetise the business. This app was initially aimed at small businesses, giving them the opportunity to create business profiles and communicate directly with customers.

Currently, the app is predominately used to address customer concerns, handle new orders and pending payment. Consumers are no longer prepared to dial for assistance or wait days to receive a response to their email enquiries. With bigger businesses moving toward AI, NLP and chatbots, the WhatsApp for Business app offers a solution for businesses without the budget or ‘know-how’ for such techniques.

However, in 2018 after the service piloted with Indian companies, WhatsApp announced the launch and subsequent expansion of their WhatsApp Business API. This move allowed global businesses to get in on the fun too.  Several powerful features make it easier for big businesses to reach out and respond to customers. One thing worth mentioning is that it seems it will benefit the consumer as businesses pay no cost if they respond to a message within 24 hours. The API also has a chatbot feature which allows brands to respond to simple issues instantly. This means they can spend more time on complex queries. These are the low hanging fruit which businesses are already starting to pick with many more benefits and features to be explored.

The app and API already provide key insights to help brands better understand the effectiveness of their communications. Currently, you can access basic metrics such as open rates and the number of messages sent. The insights feature is likely to get more powerful as WhatsApp’s owner, Facebook, have plenty of experience in this area. For marketers, they can take advantage of private messages in a secure environment. They can build a 1-on-1 transactional relationship with customers and enhance their brand’s voice.

It’ll be interesting to see what effect WhatsApp for Business has on marketing and communications and how the app and API develops. But with such a large global reach, I imagine we will begin to see more and more businesses taking advanced of their power.