It’s clear that big tech companies are having an awkward time. We can talk about the Twitter situation, of which Phil Shiller has already closed his account or the large number of layoffs that have had to carry out both Twitter and Facebook (something Steve Jobs also had to deal with), but let’s focus on Facebook. Specifically in his plans to monetize WhatsApp after the debacle of his metaverse.
Let’s remember that “Metaverse” is a word that will never be used at Apple, and it seems that Zuckerberg’s investors would not want to hear it anymore either, since it has become a bottomless pit for Facebook money. The company that bears its new name, Meta, to the Metaverse, has had to lay off 11,000 workers to clean up its accounts and is already looking for income outside of it. His plans? Monetize WhatsApp.
Changes for business customers first, and then…
As reported in Reuters, Zuckerberg affirms that “the next big pillar of our business” is messaging apps. We’re talking about WhatsApp, but also about Facebook Messenger, which right now hardly provide benefits, but could do so soon with some changes to the platform.
Zuckerberg has not given exact details of the specific strategy to monetize the platform, but he has already given several movements in the past that, together with the available betas of the iPhone app, give us clues of what could come. Currently, business customers, that is, those who use WhatsApp Business, already have to pay when they exceed a limit of messages sent, but this could go further.
As we know from the betas of the application, WhatsApp is working on a paid subscription with advanced features for businesses. They are functions aimed at business profiles, which is why they are only reaching WhatsApp Business, but nothing prevents them from making the leap to other users.
For now, a business subscription.
As far as we know, these are not restrictions on the use of the service, nor a subscription to be able to use WhatsApp, but small, very along the lines of what Telegram is proposing or what Twitter Blue represents for Twitter. A path that could well reach WhatsApp and that would tempt us to pay a certain amount in exchange for those functions that we see that some users use.
Here the network effect is quite important and, although the changes are minor compared to those who do not pay the subscription, Facebook can benefit a lot from the movement. More now than WhatsApp is working on turning the application into a kind of WeChat, the Chinese super app. In some countries, WhatsApp already allows you to make online purchases, buy metro tickets and even pay in stores through WhatsApp Pay.
For now we are facing only explanations and intentions, but with how fast this industry moves, sooner rather than later we might consider paying a subscription to do more with WhatsApp. The idea is that it reaches business customers sooner, but with the Facebook disaster with the metaverse, who knows.