The use of WhatsApp as a marketing channel can be worthwhile. The inexpensive and fast app is especially suitable to get in personal contact with younger generations.
Despite the legal situation is still difficult, some companies have already shown examples that not just caused results for the companies but also enthusiasm in the user reactions.

Founded in 2009, WhatsApp (what’s up?) was purchased by Facebook in 2014 for $ 19 billion and is the messenger the largest market share in Germany without serious competition. WhatsApp has more than 800 million users worldwide, of which 72 percent use the app daily. For companies a new world opens up, in which service experiences can be adapted to the changed customer expectations. The customer service is available for the user immediately. Also for marketing, there are many new possibilities to convince customers about your business.

Applications for marketing and examples

Probably the easiest way to use WhatsApp for marketing is to send news, newsletters or e-commerce offers. News services and online shops can quickly make offers to their subscribers, inform them about the latest news and be sure that their message is read very soon. Information services of all kinds can use the messenger and, if the connection to a geo-location function is turned on, provide small practical messages for everyday life to the subscriber: “On your way to work, a traffic jam has been reported, which costs you 15 minutes more time “,” The weather will be very rainy today, so better take an umbrella with you”. The degree of personality lies in the scope of the respective company and the type of message. Another good possibility is the use of advice to help your customer in everyday life. For example with a style consultation during online shopping.
The customer service gets a whole new meaning for the user, if he knows that he only needs to write a message and immediately receives an answer or can exchange with an employee about his problem in the live chat, instead of being stacked in a waiting loop. A propos waiting loop – the waiting can be improved by a call with WhatsApp so the call is at least free of charge. The service experience is faster and more personal with the Instant-Messenger. WhatsApp can also be an internal aid in human resources marketing, for example, if the company is able to provide a live insight into the day-to-day work to interested persons. Using a WhatsApp SWYN button on the website makes sense only in the mobile version, it is a good eye catcher because it is not that classic. The ability to send pictures or videos leaves a lot of space for creativity. Thus, a visual explanation is sometimes much more helpful than just a written one.
Everyone likes to listen to stories, but hardly anyone takes their time for them. On mobile devices everyone looks even more frequently. The connection is: Storytelling with WhatsApp. Small abstracts with pictures or text spread over the day or over a week tell a story that arrives and no one has to sacrifice much time for it. As said before, whether creative content ideas from the marketing of a company or the Easter story told by the bishopric Essen: Everyone likes to listen to stories.

WhatsApp: Suitability as marketing channel

WhatsApp suits this well for these application scenarios because it offers a simple realization that is practical and cost-effective for the user. In the current age, reaching someone with commercial messages is not easy, with WhatsApp, however, the opening rate is almost 100% (atms) and the reading rate is also significantly higher than on other channels. Via instant messenger everything goes faster and more direct which is extremely important for the customer service. Another benefit is that the customer himself will make more contact with the company because he does not have to fear long waiting times and can expect more personal contact.

Legal situation

In order to meet data protection commitments messages should be sent to the user only with an explicit double-opt-in, as well as letting the user know how his data is processed or to whom it is passed on.
At present, the use of the service is limited to non-advertising purposes. Recently, however, the app may be used for commercial purposes according to the change of terms.
Because of this situation of legal uncertainty (if a commercial message is advertising or not often depends on the point of view) , an advertiser always carries the risk that WhatsApp will block his number and all contacts have to go through the subscription process again. Another major disadvantage is that the success of WhatsApp as a marketing channel is difficult to measure.
You can find further exciting information and advice about the topic of digital marketing in the Marketing Engineering Blog.