It looks as if WhatsApp is on the verge of launching a brand-new app – WhatsApp for Business. A keen-eyed Twitter user spotted a new FAQ page on its site, revealing details on WhatsApp Business accounts. Included in the FAQs are tips on how to differentiate between verified Business accounts and non-verified Business accounts.
WhatsApp Business will be completely separate to WhatsApp, and is designed to be used by companies to make it easier to communicate with their users. A lot of small businesses (digital88 included) already use WhatsApp to communicate with their users.
The FAQs state “You can check your contact's profile to see which type of account they're using. A Business account with a green checkmark badge in its profile has been verified as “an authentic brand” by WhatsApp. A Business account with a grey checkmark badge in its profile, meanwhile, has been confirmed to be using a phone number that matches the phone number of the business it claims to be owned and operated by. A Business account with a grey question mark badge in its profile, however, indicates that the account hasn't been confirmed or verified by WhatsApp. You should, therefore, be wary if a Business account with a grey badge in its profile tries to contact you, even it appears to be associated with a company you know. Fake business accounts have the potential to be even more dangerous than regular spam accounts, as it may not seem particularly unusual for a company you appear to be familiar with to ask for your personal details, such as payment information or email address. Fortunately, you can block Business accounts that look suspicious.We also provide you with the tools you need to control your experience with businesses. You can block business accounts and report them as spam at any time, right within the chat (open the chat > tap the Menu Button > Report spam or Block),”
There is a huge potential here for scammers, as WhatsApp has always been committed to encryption, meaning details can be sent inside the platform securely. If users were tricked a “business” was legit, then they might feel more secure about sending payment details…
As well as this move for WhatsApp, Facebook (who own WhatsApp) are launching a new “Click-to-WhatsApp” ad placement, which is designed to make users chat to businesses. WhatsApp have traditionally always been very opposed to the idea of placing adverts inside its services, and this move represents a more palatable way for them to monetise the app.
The Click-to-WhatsApp ads will sit inside ads on Facebook and appear as a Send Message button. When this is tapped a WhatsApp conversation with the business behind the ad will instantly open. Facebook is reportedly rolling out the new feature in North and South America, Africa, Australia and “most of” Asia.
These moves could have huge repercussions for digital marketing as we know it. Digital marketing is an ever-changing beast, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down any in 2018!