Whatsapp vs Facebook Messenger for Marketing

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Last updated on September 17th, 2017 at 11:42 am



WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger – two platforms that were traditionally used for personal conversations among family, friends, and peers; businesses were in no way involved. (We’ll go over what is WhatsApp briefly if you’ve never heard of it.) One must consider that times have changed, platforms have evolved, and consumers have become demanding. WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, both now part of Facebook, have enough functionality where they can be used as great tools for marketing. Read on to learn how brands are exploring the marketing possibilities of Whatsapp as well as Facebook Messenger, and which one is worth using.

What is WhatsApp?

Whatsapp is a free instant messaging application for smartphones that is used to send messages, images, video, voice recordings and more. It gained traction as the first mobile application that wasn’t OS specific; that is, it worked across all devices: iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, and later, Blackberry. Remember the days that, when you had a Blackberry, you could only instant message people that had Blackberries? Then iPhone came out with something similar that let you text anyone with an iPhone for free. Whatsapp eliminated these boundaries between devices. And what made it more attractive than texting is that it worked off wifi or your mobile data plan, making it significantly cheaper than texting. For comparison, to have unlimited texting in the US, you can expect to tack on an extra $20 per month on your cell phone bill – and that doesn’t include texting internationally.

Speaking of international, the ability to message anyone around the world for free without needing any sort of username, just their phone number, is what pushed this application to the top as the most popular instant messaging app on the market, clocking in 700 million users as of January 2015.

WhatsApp as a Marketing Tool

Have you ever used WhatsApp to contact a company? If you’re a user, you probably have – it’s super quick, you don’t have to pick up the phone to actually make a call if you don’t want to, and at times it’s easier than writing an email. Best of all, it’s free because it works off your data plan instead of your allotted minutes or text from your phone plan. Whatsapp is increasingly developing its features to be targeted towards businesses which is why, today, using WhatsApp as a marketing tool is a popular point of discussion among many marketing professionals.

Whatsapp still has a few hurdles to overcome. While their tagline is “to connect people around the world”, WhatsApp is not yet available all around the world nor used all over the world. Many Americans still prefer text messaging or using Skype for international calling, while in China it is not even possible to download the app. However, WhatsApp finally gained some well-deserved attention after Facebook bought the application for a staggering $19 billion dollars in 2014.

Small, to mid-sized, and large enterprises began investigating and experimenting with the platform. The following advantages make it a valuable marketing platform:

  • It is free – well, almost. You need a sim card and data plan to use the application.
  • It gives you the opportunity to get close to your customers: Absolut Vodka has proved that Whatsapp can be an amazing brand-building tool. Young adults were invited to an exclusive launch party for Absolut in Argentina but they could only enter if they convinced “Sven”, the doorman for the party, through WhatsApp to let them in. Thousands of funny messages, voice recordings, videos, proposals and more were the result of this successful marketing campaign. Sven, or rather, Absolut Vodka, received 100% of attention from consumers.
  • It allows customers to contact you 24/7. Maybe not ideal for companies who don’t provide service around the clock but still an outlet for customers and some comfort that you’ll see their message as soon as you’re available. Customers may get frustrated if they encounter a problem and can’t get you on the phone at 2 AM. WhatsApp gives them the opportunity to communicate their concern instantly and lets them know when you’ve seen their message. For example, a health insurance company in the Netherlands provides generic customer support through WhatsApp. This is a great way to show your customers that you care and are willing to listen to each and every one of them.

Recently added features make it evident that Whatsapp is not going to take a seat in this race for digital communication. They’ve implemented colorful status updates that were recently rolled out on Facebook. And just the other day, Whatsapp launched verified accounts to select small businesses for testing. If you see a green badge with a white checkmark next to a contact’s name, it means that contact number is a business. It’s interesting to note that verified business accounts do not have the ability to delete Whatsapp messages. This is supposedly done to build trust and leave a paper trail between consumers and businesses.

Related: 23 Business Tasks You Can Outsource to a Virtual Assistant

WhatsApp can thus be a great platform to connect in a very personal way with your audience and an interesting choice for secondary marketing activities and support – you just need a bit of creativity and courage to take the leap. With talk about Whatsapp being able to accept payments in the near future, this is one platform that

Facebook Messenger as a Marketing Tool

Though WhatsApp is a free and quick communication method, it’s not quite at the level of Facebook Messenger, taking into consideration all the recent developments of the latter.

  1. In February 2017, we were all in for a surprise when TranfersWise announced that they integrated with Facebook Messenger, allowing users to process payments internationally through the messenger app. With this bold move, Facebook seems determined to take on Paypal, the current leader in the industry of instant payment methods and money transfers. Imagine the possibilities to come.
  2. In 2016, Facebook launched a “unified” inbox for businesses which consisted of your Facebook profile inbox, Facebook business page inbox, and Instagram. This provided everyone with a clearer and less time-consuming way to view your messages across the different categories of profiles and pages you managed.
  3. In 2016, Facebook announced that companies can now utilize chatbots for automated marketing and support services. KLM was one of the first companies to quickly implement this handy tool, providing customers with a better user experience, such as getting flight updates, and being able to get through security and on board the plane with just the Facebook Messenger app. This also conveniently allowed KLM to use its existing customer database to recognize when a customer contacted them via any medium such as Twitter or WeChat.what is whatsapp
  4. You can now create sponsored ads within Facebook Messenger, as opposed to showing sponsored ad posts on peoples’ newsfeeds. These types of ads will work best for those customers that are already connected with your brand since instant messenger is a more personal way to get in touch with your customers. There are two different types of messenger ads and in our next article, we’ll go into more detail about each:
    • Facebook Messenger as a destination: destination ads
    • Facebook Messenger as a placement: sponsored messages.

Related: 5 Customer Segments to Target in Facebook Ads

WhatsApp vs Messenger

Facebook is testing the limits of traditional instant messaging tremendously, announcing one disruptive development after another, and implementing them successfully, thus proving to be a very strong marketing platform. Additionally, having over one billion people who are able to communicate actively with brands gives it a strong advantage over Whatsapp. For us, Facebook Messenger is the clear winner in this comparison with WhatsApp but we’re not sure for how long. Whatsapp is in the development stages for several exciting features that businesses and customers may both find interesting and convenient making it hot on the tail of Facebook Messenger. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Have you ever created an ad through Facebook Messenger, or spoken with a Facebook chatbot? We’d love to hear your experience.

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32 Comments

  1. Huh. That’s really interesting info about Whatsapp. My fiance is from England and will be going over for about a week and suggested we download that app and I didn’t understand why but now it makes sense. 🙂

  2. I never thought about using either of these messaging apps as a marketing tool! Marketing and reaching your audience changes all the time, so it is so helpful to know that we can utilize these platforms to reach a general audience. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Wow interesting. Never thought of using these two for marketing purposes. I guess it depends on the client and it’s audience. Some people might get turned off by getting these messages and others would actually prefer them. You need to study your audience first.

  4. I use both services but not for business. I like the idea of setting up a bot in Messenger to help with the customer service but it has to be done smart, otherwise it can end up getting the customers annoyed.

  5. Whatsapp is such an amazing tool! I use it mostly to keep in touch with my friends and family since I am living abroad and some of them are not on facebook.

  6. Actually, I use both of these apps almost everyday but hardly ever thought of them as marketing tools. I really appreciate the idea of getting in touch with consumers more personally through these tools. Thanks for this interesting post!

  7. I have never tried WhatsApp before but it sounds like a great resource! I have family that don’t use facebook so they might be interested in this.

  8. This is really an interesting piece of article. I haven’t used Facebook messenger for ads yet. But, I could use it now.
    I have used whats app for promoting my blogs though.

  9. I did not know that Facebook messenger had ad capabilities. I should consider this for my business. What a great way to send without using email. I find people use messenger almost as quickly as texting. I haven’t used WhatsApp but will lookout for it soon.

  10. This is really interesting… I don’t think marketersin india have explored fb messenger for marketing.
    I definitely I’m gonna throw some light bout this to my clients … thanks fr sharing

  11. Wow an eye opener for sure. I’m still trying to lock down my social media platforms but 100% taking this into consideration. Thanks for sharing a great post xxx

  12. Whatsapp is a utility app for me and folks around here. They have even improved the call quality aspect and the constant updates to the app are more than useful.The accessibility of it and wide usage globally has made it an easy to connect with people app.

  13. Muhammad Ameen Sheikh on

    Did not know the features of Facebook Messenger, thanks for sharing. I will be doing some more research on this in-depth….hopefully 🙂

  14. I never thought of using Whats App as a marketing tool! I get texts from that and LIne (a Thai app) all the time and never realized I could use this to my advantage as well. Thanks for the helpful post 🙂

  15. wow never thought of WhatsApp as a marketing tool. I used it for meeting and keeping in touch with friends overseas it so great for that.

  16. I use Whatsapp to connect with my friends and family.It is really convenient and free of course considering the IDD call charges.(Only data charges need to consider). This post is really informative and an eye opener regarding business marketing with Whatsapp.I also use Whatsapp calls/text with my clients.

  17. I have never heard of the Whatsapp, I have only ever used Facebook messenger in these circumstances. I have been hearing a lot about it though, I’ll have to check it out! Thanks for sharing!

  18. Interesting post! I much prefer whatsapp for personal usage. I do get a lot of messages through my Facebook messenger and I do find it a bit of a ballache to use!

  19. I’m still learning to create sponsored facebook messenger apps but they did this to me on a store I was on and then my cart popped up! I want to do this with my store too!

  20. Thank you so much for sharing this info! I have heard of WhatsApp, but have not used it. Feel like this post explains the aspects about it well!

  21. I have and use both for completely different objectives. Whatsapp has features like the international calls that I love and you don’t need a Facebook account to use it. Facebook messenger works best for the social media groups I manage so I like that aboit it. Different strokes for different folks

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