WhatsApp also announced paid features in development as part of an upcoming optional premium service aimed at small businesses.
WhatsApp is making a new push to attract businesses to use its platform with the launch of a new cloud-based API service.
Speaking at Meta’s Conversations event yesterday (19 May), CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the new Whatsapp Cloud API service will let businesses build directly on top of WhatsApp to customise their experience and speed up their response time to customers “in just a few minutes”.
He claimed that, currently, more than 1bn users connect with a business account across Meta’s messaging service every week.
“This is an important step to help more businesses connect with people and help more people message the businesses that they want to support, big and small,” Zuckerberg said.
WhatsApp’s cloud-based API is another step by its parent company Meta to try improve the revenue-generating opportunities of the messaging platform.
The messaging platform already launched a business API in 2018. This followed the release of a free-to-use WhatsApp for Business app targeting SMEs.
WhatsApp was a $19bn acquisition for Meta in 2014, when it was still known as Facebook, and it has since been trying to turn its massive user base into a source of revenue.
At Conversations, WhatsApp VP of product and design Ami Vora also announced a number of paid features in development as part of an upcoming optional premium service for small businesses.
These features in development include the ability to manage chats across 10 devices and click-to-chat links that businesses can customise and post on their websites.
“We’re building features like these to help businesses scale their operations beyond just a few people,” Vora said.
While Meta works to boost its revenue from Whatsapp, the tech giant has been recording billions of dollars in losses from its augmented and virtual reality division. Meta’s total revenue for the first quarter of 2022 was $27.9bn, which was slightly below analyst expectations. It was also the tech giant’s slowest revenue growth in a decade.
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