Meta looks to diversify revenue model with new WhatsApp and business messaging features

The news: Meta made a flurry of announcements last week at its inaugural Conversations business messaging event.

WhatsApp courts business: Any global business can now use a new, cloud-based version of the WhatsApp Business Platform, hosted by Meta. With this API, Meta says it is providing free, secure cloud hosting services so companies and developers can quickly build directly on top of WhatsApp to tailor their experience and improve customer response times. Business users can now work with 100+ partners to build on WhatsApp or develop their own experiences on the service.

Recurring Notifications: The company announced a feature to allow businesses to re-engage customers and prospects directly within a chat thread and send targeted messaging at the most convenient moment for consumers, whether it's for special discounts, product releases, or tips and techniques.

Businesses will be able to decide which topics users may opt in to, how often notifications are sent, and how recurring messages are structured. Recurring notifications are available on Messenger now, with Instagram support coming this fall.

What it means: With its advertising business having seen better days, Meta is looking to diversify its profit streams. By making it easier for businesses to get started and build robust experiences on WhatsApp, Meta is all but certain to increase business engagement with the platform.

  • And while recurring notifications might not exactly be an email killer, the feature does appear promising if Meta can change the way users think about chatbots. Simply put, most users aren’t familiar with the idea of an intrusive chatbot—even if its engagement is based on topics they have opted into.