WhatsApp has reported it now has some 50 million users of its WhatsApp Business app.
Facebook has been working to monetize WhatsApp to help offset the $19 billion it paid to acquire the messaging platform. It originally looked at offering ads in the app, a plan that was bitterly opposed by the WhatsApp founders. Facebook eventually shifted gears and decided to focus on business and finance as an alternative way to monetize the platform.
WhatsApp Business is an example of these efforts, “providing tools to automate, sort and quickly respond to messages. It’s also intended to feel and work just like WhatsApp Messenger.”
It seems the service is a big hit with small business, as some 50 million users have adopted the platform. Compared to numbers Facebook released a year ago, that represent a ten-fold increase.
Rather than resting on its laurels, Facebook is adding additional features that will make WhatsApp Business even more appealing. One such feature is using QR codes to start a chat. By placing QR codes on products and packaging, it provides an easy way to encourage customers to reach out and start a chat for support, comments or sales.
The company is also introducing catalog sharing via links. This will make it easier to share a link to a favorite catalog or individual item via WhatsApp, email, Facebook, Instagram and more.
It looks like Facebook has discovered an excellent way to monetize WhatsApp, while keep the platform true to its original goals.