Have you ever wondered how a messaging app can make money whilst giving free texting and calling? WhatsApp users at India could be surprised to learn that there is far more to messaging apps than communicating. Here’s how: by offering App Alternatives like digital payments, online shopping and content.
China’s WeChat is probably the ultimate example of the vast opportunity which messaging apps hold. With well over 900 million monthly active users, WeChat helps them do everything from messaging, purchasing grocery, hailing cabs, purchasing online food as well as offline payments at restaurants - this all without needing to go to another app. These services not merely provide the company extraordinary customer stickiness, they also create a remarkable revenue model.
For now, WeChat’s competitors outside China such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Viber and also Line are behind the curve on this front, although some have started on the path to becoming greater platforms. “The actual reason chat apps are widening beyond communications is to create a sustainable monetisation strategy,” said Neha Dharia, a senior analyst with a focus on messaging at London-based research firm Ovum. “Chat apps are moving away from being merely a provider of communication tools chat, voice and also video) to being a platform for the exchange of services, payment mechanisms and also content consumption.”
WhatsApp, the largest messaging app on the planet with 1.3 billion every month active users, introduced a business version in India early this week. “Based on research, we all know that people are using WhatsApp to speak to businesses.
make business messaging more convenient for folks and much more effective for businesses,” a WhatsApp representative said in response to ET’s questions. Whatsapp Business is a separate app from Whatsapp Messenger, aimed mostly at giving a direct communication platform to small enterprises, many of who may be using WhatsApp already.
Even while Whatsapp has maintained the service free, it could extend it to larger businesses with added features for example analytics, from which it could demand a usage fee at a later stage, therefore creating a revenue model, segment watchers said. This actually also is geared at improving subscriber connect that it can leverage for future monetization of their other services. The larger agenda - and a more important one - for these companies is to get active users to spend much more time on the app or services as well as make it viable for income generation, based on specialists.
“Each technology company is competing for consumer stickiness, interaction as well as time spent on the app, and in order to keep them around the app’s ecosystem they’re widening themselves to turn into platforms. Just being messaging apps that offer free services won’t be a strong revenuegeneration model,” said Jayanth Kolla, founding father of Bengaluru-based research firm Convergence Catalyst.