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During Facebook’s Q1 2018 earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed that “over 3 million people are actively using WhatsApp Business.” Despite a series of scandals in recent weeks that culminated with testimony by Zuckerberg before Congressional committees, Facebook reported $11.97 billion in revenue and $4.98 billion in profit today, with 91 percent of ad revenue coming from mobile devices.
VentureBeat has contacted Facebook to clarify whether WhatsApp Business is used by more than 3 million active users on a daily or monthly basis.
WhatsApp Business, a standalone app separate from the other version of WhatsApp used by 1.5 billion people, was launched in January for Android users in five countries. WhatsApp began to verify business accounts last August, following plans originally announced to bring more businesses to its platform in August 2016.
In each of the past few calls to discuss quarterly earnings with analysts, Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg have emphasized that investment in the company’s chat apps are critical to the years ahead. This quarter was no different.
“Over the next five years we’re focused on building out the business ecosystems around our apps like Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger,” Zuckerberg said today.
WhatsApp Business is still being rolled out, but conversational commerce through things like payments on Messenger will also be important to the social media giant.
“I think what you’re going to start to see are people interacting with Pages that you follow, Pages on Facebook or Instagram,” Zuckerberg said. “You see content from that Page, and you can click through to a message thread, and then you can either get customer support or complete a transaction or do a follow-on transaction, and that will be very valuable for businesses so we view the payment in that context, not as the goal but as something that’s helping the business and the person succeed at having a transaction or doing what they’re trying to do.”
WhatsApp Business competes with services like Apple’s Business Chat and RCS messaging for Android and Facebook’s own Messenger Platform, chat apps all built around connecting businesses with customers.
Facebook will likely share more next week at F8, its annual developer conference. Much of the agenda for the annual developer conference focuses on chat, messaging, and the Messenger Platform for the deployment of automated bots.
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