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The United States has become one of the fastest-growing markets for WhatsApp (WA), as the Hispanic community and young adults cherish the free cross-platform messaging service. Its potential in advertising could capture North American businesses, according to Auri Korva, Strategic Partnership WhatsApp – Meta manager.

“In the last 3 years, we were among the top downloaded apps on both Android and iOS,” Korva told a panel audience during the MEF Leadership Forum Americas in Miami, Florida. “We are growing really fast. We are not at the same level as other countries in the world, where WhatsApp is the primary way people communicate through messaging, but we are getting there.”

With a 9% daily active user growth in 2023, WhatsApp’s customers in the US reached 98 million, as indicated by Apptopia. Four years ago, many Americans had never heard, let alone used WhatsApp. As Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in the company’s latest quarterly report, 2024 will be the year of WhatsApp in the US.

As stated by Korva, privacy and trust, the two-way conversational experience, engagement, and openness are paramount for people shifting to WA, in the US as well as elsewhere.”

 

The app has a high affinity with the Hispanic community, representing 20% of the US population. “Most Hispanics are on WA, and that’s a great starting point,” Korva said.

Diffusion among young people is also promising: “Fifty per cent of mobile phone users between 18 and 35 years of age are on WhatsApp,” the manager noted.

In business—beyond customer care—where WA started as a channel, the most common use cases in the US are marketing and conversational commerce: “In the last year, we have launched pilots for different use cases,” Korva revealed. “Our goal was to see if the US market would embrace our business platform as successfully as other markets have. We involved big names, and we already had successful examples. So it all looks full of promise.”

Among the companies involved are DoorDash, Wendy’s, Dominos, and Volvo. Some of the pilots are still in place, and Meta doesn’t have final results yet. But “campaigns went better than they did with business as usual,” the Meta executive stressed. “The shift doesn’t happen by itself though: we need to push it.”

As stated by Korva, privacy and trust, the two-way conversational experience, engagement, and openness are paramount for people shifting to WA, in the US as well as elsewhere.

Amid WhatsApp’s key features, businesses love the open/read rate report and the “click to WA” button, an advertising tool to start WhatsApp with a click: “It’s really powerful,” the manager explained. “It connects customers directly to the website of the advertiser, who can use all the same features in terms of targeting and optimization, but through WhatsApp,” the manager explained. The pilots are showing that WA does it better than business as usual, according to Auri Korva.

MEF Leadership Forum Americas – Business Messaging and AI

Navigating the Future of Business Messaging – Trust, Transparency and Transformation – Prepare to be engaged in a series of thought-provoking keynotes, panels, and fireside chats led by renowned experts in the field. These sessions are designed to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the latest trends and innovative use cases in business messaging, AI and the state of RCS. We’ll also take deep dives into the challenges and opportunities that 2024 holds.

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