Facebook targets small business to monetize further in India 

Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp, plans to launch Whatsapp Business app in India in the next few weeks specifically for small business.

Apurva Venkat Jan 19th 2018
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After building a huge user base and features for individual consumers, the social media giant Facebook is now targeting small business in India to monetize its services further. Facebook which owns Whatsapp and Instagram has in the last one year started various initiatives that offer small business a host of services from targeted advertising, to marketplace, as well as communication services. Considering that India has more than 51 million small-scale business they are a client base for Facebook and the sheer number indicates at increased revenues.

Here is a list of what Facebook, Whatsapp, and Instagram have been doing in the business-to-business sector.

Whatsapp to start a business app 

The messaging app, WhatsApp on Wednesday announced the launch of its business app for small businesses.  This is a part of the WhatsApp-for-Business initiative that was launched in September last year. The app was tested with MakeMyTrip and BookMyShow in India since September. Currently, the app for Small-scale enterprises is available in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, UK, and US. It will be rolled out in India in the coming weeks and will be available on Android operating systems.
The app aims to make it easier for small companies to connect with their customers and for individual WhatsApp users to connect to business. The app will give users information such as a description of the business, the business email address and also the store addresses and website.
It will also have a smart messaging tool that will allow business to give quick answers to frequently asked questions. It can also be used by businesses to send messages that introduce customers to the business.

Facebook starts marketplace

In November, Facebook started testing its marketplace in India. Facebook in December had said that 250 million users from across the world are connected to business pages in India. To access the marketplace, users need to click on the Marketplace tab. The feature is expected to make it easier for people to discover, buy, and sell products within their community or locality. On the marketplace, one will be able to see buy/sell listings within a predefined radius.
To buy on the marketplace,  a user has to tap on the shop icon and start exploring. On finding something they wish to buy, the user can tap on the image to view product description,  details of the seller and the locality.   Finally, to buy the user can send a direct message to the user along with the offer.

To sell, the business can take a photo of the item give it a product name, description and price and post it. However, the final transaction happens offline. This might change with Whatsapp wanting to start payments option and Facebook also looking to venture into the digital payments space in India.

Facebook targeted advertising
 

Last year Facebook also started a whole range of new services for small-scale business that will help them targeted audiences and advertise to them on the platform. The features included dynamic language optimization, multi-country lookalike audiences, multi-city targeting and  Facebook IQ cross-border insights finder.

The dynamic language optimization helps businesses have multiple languages in one single campaign. Facebook will match the right language to the right person, at the right time and inform the company. With the multi-country lookalike audiences, companies will be able to find customers that match or interest in their business in any combination of countries or regions.

With the multi-city targeting, businesses can choose to target cities above a certain population size without having to do research or add the cities individually.  Facebook IQ cross-border insights finder helps businesses discover untapped markets for their business. This is done by providing comparative country data based on past campaign performance across Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network.

Instagram for Business

There are over two million advertisers on Instagram along with more than 800 million active users each month. For a business, a quick advertisement using images or videos can be quite effective on a platform like Instagram. Instagram Business Tools to help companies better understand their followers and grow their businesses. A business profile on Instagram can get insights about its followers and posts and also promote posts to drive business objectives.Customers can see information such as business address or contact details. A business can get actionable information about which posts are performing better than the other, which are the best days of the week and the best time to post and the demographic breakdown of followers. Business can also have a ‘Learn More’ tab to reach new customers. 

Payment mechanism 

With advertising, audience targeting, and buying/selling taken care of, the last leg would be to complete the entire loop with a payments mechanism. There have been talks that Whatsapp started testing a UPI based payments app in India in June last year. While not in India, there is also Facebook payments through which users can link their Messenger account to a debit card, and pay friends with a quick message, or make an e-commerce purchase via Messenger and Marketplace on Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg in his statement for the mission of 2018 also indicated studying cryptocurrency.