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WhatsApp’s potential Communities feature could boost engagement—and give it a possible revenue stream

The news: WhatsApp is looking to build a Communities feature, according to investigations of its code from XDA Developers and WABetaInfo.

  • The feature would expand on the instant messaging service’s Groups tool to let admins create groups within Groups—for example, a pet lovers group could get one channel dedicated to cats and one for dogs.
  • There will also reportedly be a Community Invite Link, making it easy to bring others to a group.

What this means: For one, the feature could help increase engagement. Meta has already seen the benefits of this kind of hyper-segmentation firsthand: Facebook's redesign to focus on Groups is widely credited with boosting engagement on the social platform.

But it could also provide a stream of revenue to the notoriously difficult-to-monetize messaging app.

  • Another popular messaging app, Discord, has seen massive growth in the past year, as its total user base skyrocketed past 150 million monthly active users.
  • That’s brought it interest from brands like Chipotle and Jack in the Box, which have used the combo of hyper-segmented audiences and the intimate nature of a chat platform in experimental marketing campaigns.