Popular messaging app WhatsApp announced today that it will start sharing a limited amount of user data, including individuals’ phone numbers, with its parent company Facebook. This will allow Facebook to offer better friend suggestions by mapping users’ social connections and deliver more relevant ads on the social network. The company is also planning to allow businesses to use its service to connect with users by the end of the year, allowing them to send targeted promotional messages.
Why Brands Should Care
WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps in the world, amassing over one billion global users so far. Previously very cautious towards ads, WhatsApp is now laying the groundwork for monetizing its service by easing its privacy rules. By opening up part of its user data to Facebook, it is giving the social network a boost in reaching mobile consumers, especially those in international markets where Whatsapp is most popular in, with more targeted messages via its ad network. For brands with an international presence, this should come as a welcomed change that heralds future opportunities in reaching customers on the messaging app.