If you use WhatsApp you will no doubt be pleased to hear that the instant messaging service will soon be dropping subscription charges.
WhatsApp is one of the most popular instant messaging services, with almost a billion users. The Facebook-owned app enables you to easily keep in touch with family and friends and share content such as photos and videos.
Originally you received a year’s free subscription before charged 69p a year, but over the next few weeks WhatsApp will become a free service. But could this represent a new opportunity for marketers to deliver content to their audience?
In a post on the WhatsApp Blog, WhatsApp explained the reasons behind the decision to drop the subscription fee, writing that it had found that asking people to pay a fee after using WhatsApp for a year had not worked well.
That was because many people using WhatsApp do not have a debit card or credit card, which meant they would lose access to WhatsApp, and subsequently contact with friends and family, when their free subscription expired as they could not pay the fee.
But what is the catch? Like any business, WhatsApp needs to make money to keep running, and the natural assumption is that WhatApp will soon be littered with adverts.
However, WhatsApp has said it will not be introducing third-party ads. Instead, it is testing new tools that will enable you to communicate directly with businesses and organisations of your choice via WhatApp.
The new tools will enable you to do things like get in touch with your bank to check whether a recent transaction was fraudulent or an airline to check on a delayed flight.
It makes sense for WhatsApp to incorporate interaction with companies and brands given they already use telephone calls and text messages – both mediums WhatsApp replaces – to communicate with customers.
Whether businesses and other organisations will be able to use these new tools to deliver articles or video productions to people using WhatsApp to communicate with them remains to be seen, but if that proves to be the case it will be an exciting new channel through which marketers can deliver personalised content.