Meta is doubling down on business messages for revenue generation, as Mark Zuckerberg indicated during the company’s earnings call for Q3 2023. Zuckerberg said that the company is looking to tap into generative AI-based bots for businesses for use cases like customer support.
The Meta CEO said that users and businesses are interacting more than 600 million times per day across its platforms. This is the first time Meta is sharing this metric during an earnings call. He didn’t specify how many of these are marketing or informational messages to users such as a company sending ticket info or an order update.
However, Zuckerberg noted that more than 60% of WhatsApp users in India — which is the largest market for the chat app with more than 500 million users — message a business app account. Notably, a lot of individual business owners also use a WhatsApp Business account that enables them to use features like business pages, product catalogs and message broadcasting.
Meta earned $293 million in Q3 2023 — with a 53% year-on-year growth — driven largely due to the WhatsApp Business platform. In June, the company announced that WhatsApp Business crossed 200 million monthly active users.
The social networking giant has a few ways to earn money from business messaging. On WhatsApp, it defines different types of messages and charges businesses based on conversation sessions. It also offers click-to-message and click-to-WhatsApp ads. Earlier this year, Zuckerberg said that these kinds of ads have hit a $10 billion annual run rate and are growing.
In the last few months, WhatsApp has announced business products such as custom personalized messages sent to customers and WhatsApp Flows to enable a richer in-app shopping experience. In September, the company also announced plans for a verification system for WhatsApp with features such as custom web pages and support for 10 devices linked to one account for easier handling of customer queries.
Meta also wants to leverage generative AI to have business accounts respond to customers for purchase and support queries.
“Now I think that this is going to be a really big opportunity for new business AIs that I talked about earlier that we hope will enable any business to easily set up an AI that people can message to help with commerce and support,” Zuckerberg said during the call.
Zuckerberg’s argument is that in some markets, such as Thailand or Vietnam, businesses can afford to have people respond to customers manually because of the low cost of labor. However, other markets can use Meta’s Business AI bots.