It’s not a channel that is exploited by many brands, but businesses using WhatsApp may have noticed a range of new features as it aims to enhance its offering as both a messaging and marketing platform. Let’s take a look at the latest WhatsApp updates ranging from Channels, video messages, AI features and personalised messaging for WhatsApp business.
WhatsApp has now enabled users to record and share short video messages directly in chats. The launch comes as WhatsApp noticed that voice messages were changing the way in which people communicate. According to Tech Crunch, in a blog post WhatsApp explained that “video messages are a real-time way to respond to chats with whatever you want to say and show in 60 seconds.” It states that the feature will become an authentic way to share raw and emotional video messages with friends and family (and customers). According to The Verge, the 60-second video messages will start playing as soon as the recipient opens the chat, unlike voice messages making video messages a faster way to communicate.
The feature will work in the same way as sending a voice message but it will also capture video. WhatsApp also explained that video messages are protected with end-to-end encryption to keep messages secure.
WhatsApp Business now has over 200 million monthly active users and according to Tech Crunch Meta has now launched a personalised messaging service and easier ad generation for WhatsApp Business. The new feature will enable businesses to create, buy and publish advertisements for Facebook and Instagram directly from WhatsApp by creating “click-to-WhatsApp” ads. This comes as Mark Zuckerberg confirmed that “click-to-WhatsApp” ads reached their annual revenue run rate of $1.5 billion with 80% year-on-year growth.
Additional features that will be available for WhatsApp Business will allow businesses to send automated personalised messaging to their customers and segment their audiences allowing businesses to send different messages to different groups of customers. Another feature will allow payments to be incorporated into channels, allowing admins to create business from their channels. These are among the most interesting, bringing personalisation to a channel that is already very personal in nature. The opportunity for brands to show a more creative, and yet deeply personal approach here is significant – though we’ve yet to see any really great examples of businesses doing so.
WhatsApp has also launched a new broadcasting tool “Channels” allowing users to follow creators and local or global organisations. Users can also sign up to receive updates on personalised topics of interest such as their favourite hobbies and sports teams using the “Updates” tab. According to Media Post, users of channels can share “photos, text, videos, stickers and polls” with anyone who is part of that channel for a private broadcasting experience. Channels launched in Columbia and Singapore before expanding the feature to seven more countries to enable the feature to be available to everyone. It is now available to use in Peru, Ukraine, Kenya, Morocco, Malaysia, Chile and Egypt.
Users can also access channels through invites sent by emails, online and in-chat. Messages in channels will also not be available after 30 days. For added security, WhatsApp aims to make Channels the most “private broadcast service” by not disclosing any personal information. Admins also have the option to decide who can follow their channel and whether they want it to be discoverable.
With consumers increasingly tired of Facebook Pages, and weary of brands on Instagram selling too hard, or even influencers coming across as false – Channels may represent a fresh approach to brand interactions on social media.
Meta is developing generative AI tools for WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram along with internal AI tools. The company is developing AI chatbots for WhatsApp and Messenger which will also assist in photo editing for Instagram Stories.
Metas plan to launch productivity assistants which will be called “AI Agents” will enable users to interact with AI’s which have unique personas and skill sets to provide entertainment and assistance to users. Internal only products such as an AI productivity assistant and LLaMA (a large language model developed by Meta) will power a new experimental interface for engaging with AI agents. This launch comes as Mark Zuckerberg announced plans to integrate AI into products which are used by billions of users worldwide. This launch is sure to do well as the use of chatbots is becoming increasingly widespread and popular amongst many online platforms in recent months such as the launch of Chat GPT and Snapchat’s My AI. According to Tech Crunch Mark Zuckerberg stated that this launch of AI Chatbots is only the start of broader future plans to expand the technology across his other applications.
Meta are also trialling internal AI tools to allow Meta employees to have conversations with AI agents allowing them to benefit from gaining feedback to enable the company to improve their systems which would be powered by language model LLaMA.
Meta are also planning an additional feature allowing users to use text prompts to suggest how they would like to edit photos in Instagram stories. Introducing AI would also allow users to engage with text prompts to modify photos to be shared on Instagram Stories. This comes after the success of AI photo editors and AI avatars such as LensaAI. Meta also planning to launch AI stickers in messenger using text prompts. These AI tools would be free for businesses to use.
These features will be sure to provide many benefits for businesses especially the launch of Channels allowing companies to reach their customers to spark new relationships with customers.
If you haven’t used WhatsApp in your marketing yet, either unaware of the opportunity, or unsure about whether its right for your brand – get in touch with our social team who would love to discuss the opportunity that exists on the platform: