Not, and despite what some providers may claim, it never has been. Instead, broadcasting was merely 'tolerated' by WhatsApp — but not anymore. Here's why that's great news.
Broadcasting and Sending Newsletters to WhatsApp Users: Legit or Not?
Earlier this year, the world's number one messaging channel announced it would no longer tolerate any form of broadcasting. WhatsApp stated if it finds any business broadcasting newsletters, daily updates or any other form of bulk messaging after December 7, it will take legal action against them.
To underline its commitment, WhatsApp says it will pursue abusers both online and offline through the courts as it seeks to crack down on "automated or bulk messaging, or non-personal use," on its platform.
Wasted opportunity: Potential to Erode Customer Trust
No one should be surprised by the move. WhatsApp's recent decision to address the issue head-on has always been a case of 'when,' not 'if,' because of broadcasting's potential for abuse and the damage it could inflict on the brand.
It's why tyntec, an official WhatsApp Business Solution provider, educates its business customers about the perils of using the 'feature'. Bulk messaging can be exploited by bad actors and in turn, risks eroding customer trust in the messaging platform while endangering WhatsApp for business.
WhatsApp Spam Endangers Customer Engagement
If bad actors are allowed to continue 'gaming' the system, it could see WhatsApp follow the same dismal trajectory as email. And don't go thinking this is a vague threat to WhatsApp's future—abusers are already selling $14 software tools that enable marketers to bypass anti-spam filters and automate the bulk delivery of messages.
If the use of such tools becomes the rule, not the exception, then WhatsApp will slowly but surely be turned into an automated spam collator. And critically for enterprise, this would mean the loss of a powerful opportunity to engage with customers on a channel they trust.
Why one-to-one Communication is Important
Crucially, WhatsApp states its platform is not and has never been about messaging huge swathes of consumers. Instead, its core business mission is to help develop meaningful one-to-one personalized communications between enterprise and customers.
“Our service is not a broadcast platform," explains WhatsApp in its Stopping Abuse white paper. “Instead of encouraging users to build an audience and share widely, WhatsApp is designed to help people share with others they know or get helpful information from a business".
How WhatsApp is Cracking Down on Broadcasting
The company already removes over two million accounts per month because of bulk or automated behavior—75% of those cases without being initially flagged by users. This clampdown is backed by WhatsApp's existing commitment to take legal action against those who it links to on-platform evidence of abuse.
But WhatsApp has now doubled down, stating that it will pursue companies that publicly claim or advertise off-platform they can bulk deliver messages. An official WhatsApp statement confirms it “will take legal action against companies for which we only have off-platform evidence of abuse if that abuse continues beyond December 7, 2019."
A Unique Customer Experience Opportunity
But what does this all mean for enterprise operating on WhatsApp? In the short term, the eradication of the broadcast 'feature' will be seen as a loss by some businesses. tyntec though disagrees—it's actually a positive move.
After all, there's a huge amount at stake here for both WhatsApp and the businesses that use the platform. Remember, WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app on the planet—it has 1 billion active accounts with 65 billion messages sent every day—and its potential for enterprise and 'conversational commerce' is vast.
It is essential then that WhatsApp's core values remain protected, and trusted by consumers. This will enable enterprise to continue developing deeper, more meaningful customer experiences—instead of relying on the empty promise of bulk messaging.
Adjusting CX Strategies
To realize WhatsApp's true potential, brands should reassess their existing CX strategies:
- Accept the days of spamming customers must come to an end.
- Analyze all engagement points from the customer's POV to optimize user experience.
- Decide which touchpoint is appropriate for which interaction to help develop a more cohesive and personalized omnichannel experience.
- Deliver personalized experiences to customers by leveraging WhatsApp's user-centric features and adhering to its rules.