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Amid growing focus on business messaging, Meta announces new features

Meta's new feature will allow users of WhatsApp Business - the app focused on small merchants - to start advertising on the app by confirming their email address and form of payment

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Sourabh Lele New Delhi

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Meta-owned messaging app WhatsApp on Tuesday announced new options for its business users including the ability to create Facebook and Instagram ads without needing a Facebook account, as global WhatsApp Business App users grow fourfold to over 200 million.

Meta’s new feature will allow users of WhatsApp Business – the app focused on small merchants – to start advertising on the app by confirming their email address and form of payment. The ads will act as an interface that will take the audience to WhatsApp chat with the business, where they can ask questions, browse products and make a purchase.

Until now, ad managers using Facebook or Instagram needed to have a Facebook page or have an admin, editor or advertiser role on someone else's page and provide their personal ad account ID. In 2020, 15 million out of 50 million users of the business messaging app came from India.

“Soon the 200M+ users of the WhatsApp Business app will be able to create Facebook and Instagram ads to find and connect with new customers, without needing a Facebook account,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post.

WhatsApp Business is a free-to-download app available on Android and iPhone that helps small businesses with tools to automate, sort and quick response to customer conversations. Apart from messaging tools, the app offers a business profile and Labels to organize and easily find chats and messages.

The announcement comes amid Meta’s growing focus on business messaging and emphasis on small businesses amid an uncertain macroeconomic environment. According to a Reuters report, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta Platforms last year told employees that business messaging could be the next major pillar for the company. 

“Starting soon we’ll make it possible for the many small businesses across the world that run their entire operation on WhatsApp to create, purchase and publish a Facebook or Instagram ad directly within the WhatsApp Business app,” Meta said in a press release.

As per Meta, such ads would be the most powerful way to attract customers, opening new opportunities for WhatsApp-only small businesses that need a simpler way to get started with advertising.

Meta will also start testing the personalized message feature in WhatsApp Business app. This may include appointment reminders, birthday greetings or even updates on a holiday sale in a faster and more efficient way. Over 10 million advertisers currently use Meta's personalized ad tools — the majority are small and medium businesses.

The new paid service will allow sending personal messages with the customer’s name and customizable call-to-action buttons to specific customer lists instead of manually sending the same message to multiple customers.  

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First Published: Jun 27 2023 | 11:29 PM IST

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