Advertising on WhatsApp – Is quiet the new loud and why brands should be looking to reach people rather than advertise to them?

5th April 2019

Brace yourselves people because Facebook has announced that it will now be showing advertisements on WhatsApp after remaining ad free for the last four years. The ads will begin to appear in WhatsApp Status, the app’s version of Instagram stories, later this year.

Although WhatsApp Status has been used for the last two years, targeted ads have not been used until now. These ads are intended to give customers a chance to communicate with businesses across the platform through targeted advertising, which will provide potentially higher rates of consumer engagement. The change in WhatsApp will also allow businesses to send “marketing” messages which are targeted to the audience in a way that will be engaging, appealing and interesting. Facebook, WhatsApp’s parent company, has already been trying to bridge the gap between consumers and brands by adding a messaging icon in Facebook ads, as shown below.

With 1.5 billion users worldwide, and 450 million people using the Status icon daily, which is double the amount using Snapchat Stories, it’s not hard to see why they’re keen to monetise the app. However, with a format for success built on highly personal and private interaction, sponsored content is a tricky fit and moves it away from its USP.  There is a clear risk that people will just seek out alternative solutions like Wire, LINE, and Telegram.

So after discussing the pros and cons of advertisements on WhatsApp, do we think brands should invest in these new ads? Most probably – the audience isn’t going to disappear overnight, after all.

It is, however, important that the entry of adverts is as seamless as possible – impeccable targeting is required to ensure campaigns are offering a valuable experience to users. This shouldn’t be treated as an advertising convenience and rather a focus on the strong conversational opportunity to close the gap between brands and consumers. As such, PR and social agencies will be best placed to engage with users, ensuring relevant, timely content is delivered in the right way. What works on other platforms will not perform well on WhatsApp. After all, it’s a highly private environment.

As social media platforms are becoming crowded with advertisements, it has become more and more important for brands to cut through the clutter. Ultimately, WhatsApp ads offer a new platform for brands to reach customers and have a relationship with them. But in order for advertisements to be successful, brands will need to create a delicate balance for and with their consumers. Users will not want to feel like a brand is intruding into their private conversations, so it is important for these ads to be controlled and different from those displayed on other social media platforms. Of course time will tell but if WhatsApp ads are positioned correctly, they offer the potential for new, meaningful connections between brands and consumers.

Advertising on WhatsApp – Is quiet the new loud and why brands should be looking to reach people rather than advertise to them?

5th April 2019

Brace yourselves people because Facebook has announced that it will now be showing advertisements on WhatsApp after remaining ad free for the last four years. The ads will begin to appear in WhatsApp Status, the app’s version of Instagram stories, later this year.

Although WhatsApp Status has been used for the last two years, targeted ads have not been used until now. These ads are intended to give customers a chance to communicate with businesses across the platform through targeted advertising, which will provide potentially higher rates of consumer engagement. The change in WhatsApp will also allow businesses to send “marketing” messages which are targeted to the audience in a way that will be engaging, appealing and interesting. Facebook, WhatsApp’s parent company, has already been trying to bridge the gap between consumers and brands by adding a messaging icon in Facebook ads, as shown below.

With 1.5 billion users worldwide, and 450 million people using the Status icon daily, which is double the amount using Snapchat Stories, it’s not hard to see why they’re keen to monetise the app. However, with a format for success built on highly personal and private interaction, sponsored content is a tricky fit and moves it away from its USP.  There is a clear risk that people will just seek out alternative solutions like Wire, LINE, and Telegram.

So after discussing the pros and cons of advertisements on WhatsApp, do we think brands should invest in these new ads? Most probably – the audience isn’t going to disappear overnight, after all.

It is, however, important that the entry of adverts is as seamless as possible – impeccable targeting is required to ensure campaigns are offering a valuable experience to users. This shouldn’t be treated as an advertising convenience and rather a focus on the strong conversational opportunity to close the gap between brands and consumers. As such, PR and social agencies will be best placed to engage with users, ensuring relevant, timely content is delivered in the right way. What works on other platforms will not perform well on WhatsApp. After all, it’s a highly private environment.

As social media platforms are becoming crowded with advertisements, it has become more and more important for brands to cut through the clutter. Ultimately, WhatsApp ads offer a new platform for brands to reach customers and have a relationship with them. But in order for advertisements to be successful, brands will need to create a delicate balance for and with their consumers. Users will not want to feel like a brand is intruding into their private conversations, so it is important for these ads to be controlled and different from those displayed on other social media platforms. Of course time will tell but if WhatsApp ads are positioned correctly, they offer the potential for new, meaningful connections between brands and consumers.