What next for WhatsApp?
Irish adults are using WhatsApp more than ever with 49% of them now using it daily according to the Group M Quarterly Media Tracker. There were 10% more users daily in December 2016 than in March. Younger adults are even more likely to use with a huge 63% using daily. This usage is higher than those using Instagram (37%) or Facebook Messenger daily (56%). As a platform globally, the app has a billion users presenting a huge opportunity for brands.
As it currently stands, there is no commercial product available to the Facebook owned platform in the Irish market but it is likely to be only a matter of time before we see brands testing the water using WhatsApp as more than just a messaging platform between friends.
Some interesting uses of WhatsApp globally include.
In Brazil Hellmann’s encouraged consumers to share the contents of their fridges so that chefs could provide tips on potential meals. This gave the brand the opportunity to provide a highly personalised approach to consumers and answer a need – what am I going to make for dinner? 13,000 Hellmann’s lovers used the service and the success in Brazil saw it rolled out in other South American countries including Argentina and Chile.
UK gift retailer Buyagift encouraged fans to ‘not miss out on an amazing bargain’ and add the retailer to their contacts. Once added Buyagift were in a position to inform users directly of deals and promotions on the site. This was a way in which consumers were informed of deals first hand and was more personalised than an email.
In February 2017, WhatsApp launched a feature that is similar to SnapChat or Instagram Stories, It is called WhatsApp Status and allows WhatsApp users to share photos and videos with contacts that disappear within 24 hours. This as a product could offer brands the opportunity promote or market through influencers or blogger WhatsApp.
Brands need to be mindful of not being intrusive on a personal platform but it is clear that as WhatsApp develops, the opportunities for brands to become more engaging on the platform will develop too.