The undisputed messenger service, Whatsapp announced charges for users of its Whatsapp Business API. The Facebook-owned messenger service will now take between 0.5 cents to 9 cents per message, with prices varying as per location.
The effort to monetize the app is reportedly borne out of two reasons – one the declining share value of Facebook, and two, growth has slowed down. In the face of this, the messenger service plans to mop up revenue from business users, leaving private users untouched by this.
The rates have taken the industry by surprise considering that the average test based SMS service offered by telecom service providers is priced much lower than this. However, the platform is powerful and popular and the pricing has not dampened the spirit of businesses as Uber the ride-hailing app, and others including Booking.com have been the first off the block in taking the service.
With more 1.5 billion users, the service is one of the most popular and convenient, with its Business Applications having more than 3 million active users. This is certain to help the tech company mop up revenue and boost its bottom line.
The messages are encrypted, which means that the service provider will be unable to see whats being sent, though businesses can actually store the messages to analyze and retrieve exchanged messages. The service actually offers businesses the opportunity to reply to queries of recipients/customers on the platform at no extra charge, provided the replies are shot out before the end of 24 hours, beyond which the message will be treated as a fresh one. The charges will be for delivered messages and will come with the usual filters for recipients.
The service offers a platform for businesses to interact with customers directly, and this interaction will certainly be the new dimension in omnichannel interaction for businesses that find the need to engage users through notifications and updates.
This was in the offing for quite some time and Chief Operating Officer Matt Idema had hinted about charges in January when Whatsapp permitted businesses to use its Business Application to exchange messages.