Facebook has announced the integration of WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram direct messaging. What does this mean for brands looking to scale their social strategy?

Facebook has announced the integration of WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram direct messaging. They will all remain as standalone apps, so is anything changing, and what does this mean for brands looking to scale their paid social strategy?

Short answer, it’s a big win. WhatsApp is hotly tipped to be at the heart of every major social strategy across most sectors this year, so this integration is just another step towards Facebook’s central social media buying engine. Whilst all businesses can currently use Facebook Messenger as a placement to buy ads, Facebook is currently rolling out a ‘Click to WhatsApp’ placement that is available to a select few in the early stages.

The merge will bring strong data opportunities

Some brands are struggling to cut through the noise across social. This can be due to a lack of content resource or simply being unfamiliar with the landscape. Brands now have the opportunity to gather customer data within a WhatsApp business profile, which is priceless. This isn’t an opportunity to serve an ad that may potentially reach the right customer. This is something far better: a database of customers who have already chosen to interact with your brand, through an ad, and who will receive a direct notification (exactly like a text/WhatsApp message) to their phone, telling them what your brand has to offer. That's what we like to call Generation Z email marketing.

For sectors such as retail, hospitality, sport and travel, the ability to essentially text your customers could prove incredibly lucrative. Of course you will lose customers from your database if your content quality is poor and too frequent, but that's true of all communication with customers. It’s important to ensure that all messaging is relevant and provides value to your customers. Remember, it’s as easy as the click of a button to stop contact with a brand on WhatsApp.

Content will be the unifier of a brand's success

There are many ways this can be implemented into a 360 social approach. For example, a hotel chain may use this to offer last minute room deals for their customers, or a clothing label can notify its database of a flash sale. WhatsApp has over 1 billion active daily users, so harnessing this new channel to your customers in 2019 in a must.

WhatsApp placements to merge with Facebook’s ad platform

This eventual channel integration is a sign that more WhatsApp placements are due to arrive in Facebook’s media buying engine within the year. Facebook sees an obvious demographic split between Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, so centralising the data being shared and the ads being placed can only be a positive for brands planning a social first strategy.

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By Chris Jevons

Senior Paid Social Executive

Social Media Pay Per Click Engagement

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