How Apps Like WhatsApp, WeChat Could Make Money Whilst Providing Free Texting And Calling1015361

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Ever thought the way a messaging app could make money whilst offering free texting and calling? WhatsApp users at India could be surprised to learn that there's much more to messaging apps than communicating. Here's how: by offering services like digital payments, online shopping as well as content.

China's WeChat is probably the perfect example of the huge opportunity that messaging apps hold. With over Nine hundred million monthly active users, WeChat enables them to do every thing from messaging, purchasing grocery, hailing cabs, buying online food as well as offline payments at restaurants - all this without having to go to another app. These kinds of services not merely provide the company outstanding customer stickiness, in addition they create a remarkable revenue model.

Right now, WeChat's competition outside China including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Viber and also Line are behind the curve on this front, although some have started on the road to becoming greater platforms. "The reason chat apps are growing 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 shifting from being just a provider of communication tools chat, voice as well as video) to becoming 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 monthly active users, introduced a business version in India early on this week. "Based on research, we know that people are utilizing WhatsApp to talk to businesses. make business messaging less difficult for individuals and much more efficient for businesses," a WhatsApp spokesperson said in respond to ET's questions. Whatsapp Business is a different app from Whatsapp Messenger, aimed mostly at giving a direct communicating platform to small enterprises, a lot of who might be using WhatsApp already.

Whilst Whatsapp has maintained the service free, it could expand it to larger businesses with added features such as analytics, in which it could charge a usage fee at a later stage, therefore developing a revenue model, segment watchers said. This also is aimed at raising subscriber connect which it can leverage for future monetization of their other services. The bigger agenda - and a more critical one - for these businesses is to get active users to invest a lot more time on the app or services and also make it viable for profit generation, according to experts.

"Every single technology company is competing for consumer stickiness, interaction as well as time spent on the app, and in order to keep them within the app's ecosystem they are broadening themselves to become platforms. Merely being messaging apps that provide free services won't be a solid revenuegeneration model," said Jayanth Kolla, founder of Bengaluru-based research firm Convergence Catalyst.

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