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WhatsApp officially launches business app across select markets ahead of worldwide release

WhatsApp has officially launched its app for businesses in select markets, including the US, UK, Italy, Mexico and Indonesia.

The WhatsApp Business app includes features such as business profiles and new messaging tools aimed at business customers.

The Facebook-owned company hopes this new feature will generate large revenue streams among enterprise-level companies looking to reach a wider audience through the messaging app.

The app – currently only available on Android – will be rolled out worldwide in the coming weeks.

How can B2B marketers take advantage?

"This is a milestone step for this ‘dark social’ channel to be considered as a viable ‘go to market’ channel for businesses," Kelvin Lee, director of social media marketing at Thomson Reuters, told B2B Marketing. "In a way, WhatsApp is following in the footsteps of Asian-language messaging platforms such as WeChat."

Commenting on the opportunities this presents for B2B marketers, Lee observed there's potential for this move to impact social media marketing in both the long and short term.

"Provided the digital and social media teams in B2B firms have the right knowledge and resources internally, the short-term opportunities of this release will be fulfilling queries for customer service as well as community chats and discussions," he said.

"The longer-term opportunities, however, would be more meaningful when the platform potentially opens to more revenue-supporting features such as lead nurturing via ‘lead generation forms’ and even in areas such as payments and digital identifications."

As of August 2017, WhatsApp boasted 1.2 billion active global monthly users – side by side with Facebook Messenger – and only eclipsed by YouTube (1.5 billion) and Facebook (2 billion) in the social media world.

In a blog post, WhatsApp announced the new app's features would include:

  • Business profiles: Help customers with useful information such as a business description, email or store addresses, and website.
  • Messaging tools: Save time with smart messaging tools – quick replies that provide fast answers to frequently asked questions, greeting messages that introduce customers to your business, and away messages that let them know you're busy.
  • Messaging statistics: Review simple metrics like the number of messages read to see what's working.
  • WhatsApp web: Send and receive messages with WhatsApp Business on your desktop.
  • Account type: People will know that they're talking to a business because you will be listed as a Business Account. Over time, some businesses will have Confirmed Accounts once it’s been confirmed that the account phone number matches the business phone number.

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