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Meta Platforms Launches AI-Driven Ad Targeting on WhatsApp



Meta Platforms has unveiled its first AI-powered ad targeting programme for businesses on WhatsApp, marking a significant shift in the way the popular chat service is monetized. The announcement was made on Thursday at a conference in Brazil, where CEO Mark Zuckerberg presented the new tools via video.

This move represents a departure from WhatsApp’s long-standing commitment to privacy, as it introduces targeted advertising tools similar to those found on Meta’s other platforms, Facebook and Instagram.

Enhancing WhatsApp’s Commercial Capabilities

Meta has been gradually integrating commerce and payment features into WhatsApp, its largest app by daily users. The introduction of AI-driven ad targeting aims to optimize the delivery of business messages, making them more relevant to users. This new feature will leverage users’ activity on Facebook and Instagram to personalize ad targeting on WhatsApp, provided they use the same phone number across these platforms.

Guilherme Horn, WhatsApp’s head of strategic markets, highlighted the benefits of these AI tools for businesses. “This is very important for businesses because they are paying for those messages,” Horn stated, emphasizing the cost-efficiency of targeted ads.

Expanding Revenue Streams

Despite its massive user base and the hefty $22 billion acquisition price in 2014, WhatsApp has contributed minimally to Meta’s overall revenue. However, Meta has been ramping up efforts to monetize the app. In addition to the AI-driven ad targeting, Meta introduced a new AI chatbot designed to handle business inquiries directly within chat. This chatbot will assist users with common requests, such as finding catalogues or business hours, similar to existing AI customer service platforms.


Integration with Pix in Brazil

Meta also announced the integration of Brazil’s instantaneous digital payment method, Pix, into its WhatsApp payment tool. Pix, developed by Brazil’s central bank, accounted for about 39% of transactions in Brazil last year. By incorporating Pix, Meta aims to enhance the utility of WhatsApp’s payment services, allowing for seamless money transfers and purchases within the app. This follows a similar strategy in India, where WhatsApp started offering payment services from rival providers last year.

A Strategic Shift

The introduction of these tools marks a strategic shift for WhatsApp, aligning it more closely with Meta’s broader revenue-generating strategies. By integrating AI-driven ad targeting and expanding payment functionalities, Meta is positioning WhatsApp not just as a messaging service but as a comprehensive platform for business and commerce.

As Meta continues to innovate and expand WhatsApp’s capabilities, businesses can expect more sophisticated tools to engage with customers, optimize ad spending, and streamline communication processes. This move underscores Meta’s commitment to leveraging its technological prowess to enhance the commercial potential of its platforms.

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