Connect with us

Headlines of the Day

Promotional brands resort to Whatsapp, where can send 250 messages daily

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) recently asked all telecom operators to follow a digital consent acquisition (DCA) process to seek user consent for receiving promotional texts and calls. While this is a welcome move, several brands have now jumped onto WhatsApp for promotional messages. Currently there is no regulation for calling apps.

The Department of Telecommunications had last year sent Trai a reference on whether calling apps should be regulated. Trai is yet to come out with a consultation paper on it.

The draft telecom Bill has also talked about the intent of regulating calling apps, but the Bill is yet to be tabled in Parliament.

While some users have taken to social media to complain about brands swooping in at a place meant to be a personal messaging experience, the arrangement has proved to be lucrative for both brands and WhatsApp Business, which was launched in India in 2018 to allow businesses to directly connect with consumers over WhatsApp.

At a recent media summit held in Mumbai, Sandeep Varaganti, CEO of JioMart, the e-commerce arm of Reliance Retail, said the company is seeing a month-on-month growth of 30-40% in its business via WhatsApp. Notably, JioMart had, in August last year, announced integration with WhatsApp to offer users an end-to-end experience where they could shop and pay for JioMart products on WhatsApp itself. It shows the innovation in this space, and there is no reason yet for it to stop.

Similarly, in its report last year, Mumbai-based AI firm Haptik, which tied up with CEAT to build a WhatsApp chatbot for the tyre manufacturing company for generating sales leads, said it saw a six-fold rise in lead generation since the implementation of the chatbot.

A lucrative avenue for brands, WhatsApp has 500 million users in India alone, offering an open rate of 90% within the first hour of receiving the message, according to Verloop. “Messaging is the new way to get business done, better than e-mail or phone call,” a Meta spokesperson said.

Interestingly, while some users have vented their exasperation online over getting incessant brand communication, some surveys showcase the opposite. The Haptik report last year said as customers are seeking more personalised engagement with brands, WhatsApp is rising as a direct marketing channel facilitating brands to connect with customers. In the report titled ‘The State of WhatsApp Marketing 2023’, the Reliance-backed AI platform said 72% of users surveyed said they only interact with brands through personalised messaging. Also, 85% of them were interested in getting notifications such as product recommendations, updates on pricing, etc. Notably, while Haptik is a Reliance-backed platform, WhatsApp parent Meta has 9.99% stakes in Jio Platforms, Reliance’s telecom subsidiary.

As per another report by London-based brand consulting and data analytics firm Kantar last year, India tops among countries with regards to users engaging with businesses online through messages. The report titled ‘Business Messaging Usage’ found that Indian adults message a business at least once per week, and that they prefer WhatsApp over other platforms for such communication. Interestingly, the report was commissioned by Meta.

Amid advertising revenue reportedly drying up and Meta’s rocky ride on its grand Metaverse ambition, WhatsApp Business has remained a focus area. “We talk a lot about the very long-term opportunities like the Metaverse, but the reality is that business messaging is probably going to be the next major pillar of our business as we work to monetise WhatsApp and Messenger more,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly told his employees in November last year, as he assuaged concerns over finances amid the company’s first layoffs.

And it seems the company is pushing monetising on WhatsApp Business. Starting June 1, Meta has started charging businesses per 24-hour conversation, with different rates by conversation category. It includes Rs 0.3082 for for every utility message, Rs 0.7265 for marketing message, and it is yet to announce rates for authentication messages. The prices are more than the flat Rs 0.48 per conversation it used to charge previously.

Although the increased pricing can be a concern, especially for smaller businesses, WhatsApp remains an effective marketing platform. At the same time, the company seems to have taken heed to some users’ complaints on messages from brands spamming their inboxes.

“We believe that the choice and control to message a business should always be with our users. Our rule is that people always need to request to receive updates before a business can message them, and we empower people with easy ways to block a business or report a problem at any time,” a Meta spokesperson told FE. “We constantly work with businesses to ensure messages are helpful and expected, and we only allow them to send a certain number of messages per day. Getting this right is important for us, as well as the businesses,” the spokesperson added.

As per WhatsApp policy, at onboarding, businesses are allowed to send messages to 250 customers per day. The platform has also developed systems to aid WhatsApp to suspend businesses in case of poor feedback over low-quality experiences. For example, in case of excessive negative feedback, WhatsApp may limit or remove a business’ access to its platform. Financial Express

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Copyright © 2024 Communications Today

error: Content is protected !!