WhatsApp‘s new business messaging pricing policy is set to significantly hike marketing expenses for the millions of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that rely on the platform.
What Happened? According to an ET report, under the new rates, businesses will pay varying prices depending on the message type. Utility messages will cost ₹0.3082 each, and marketing messages will run ₹0.7265 each, a significant increase from the previous flat rate of ₹0.48 per conversation. The company’s website stated that they will announce the pricing for authentication messages later.
Pallavi Utagi, the founder and CEO of SuperBottoms, a company selling eco-friendly and reusable cloth diapers, voiced concerns over the price increase and its effect on their business communication strategies. “We will have to see how we deal with a lot of these conversations that are not related to sales but are more around relationship-building. I see them becoming more transactional,” she said.
Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s CEO, has identified business messaging as a significant monetization opportunity and a major investment area for 2023. With around 500 million users, India is WhatsApp’s largest market.
The new pricing model, announced in February, splits business-initiated conversations into utility, authentication, and marketing, while user-initiated ones focusing on customer service are termed service conversations.
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Business owners are concerned about the increased costs of customer acquisition and retention due to the new pricing model. Despite this, many believe the effectiveness of WhatsApp as a marketing tool due to its interface and features may outweigh the additional expense.
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