Facebook Doubles Business Tools With Updates To WhatsApp API, Login Connect For Messenger And More – TechCrunch
WhatsApp now has more than 2 billion users worldwide and, by comparison, its efforts to increase commercial use have been quite modest: just over 175 million people send messages daily with WhatsApp Business accounts for questions such as customer support or to discuss products. Today, as part of its F8 event, Facebook is unveiling some updates to the WhatsApp API to extend this experience.
The news comes just after Facebook unveiled the general availability of the Messenger API for Instagram earlier today, and is part of a larger series of announcements aimed at making business easier on the platform.
More generally, Facebook and its many applications are at the heart of very mainstream services – they are used by billions of people to stay in touch, to have fun and to stay informed about everything that concerns them.
But Facebook, the company has gradually built a very extensive and lucrative business infrastructure around this engaged audience, an infrastructure that started with advertising but spread more deeply into marketing, customer service, on-premises productivity. work and shopping.
The F8 conference, originally designed as a hackathon, had grown into a very big event. This year’s episode is a much more toned-down affair than in recent years – no big crowds (everything is virtual), no big product and hardware announcements (it doesn’t look like there are any … until now), and it’s more like a Zoom conference – and today’s news on enterprise-oriented developer tools not only resets the event around its original developer focus, but also reinforces that business strategy.
With WhatsApp for Business, it seems like one of the sticking points has been time – from setting up WhatsApp for Business in the first place to responding to different types of messages. This is what Facebook is tackling now.
First, it speeds up the time it takes to set up a WhatsApp business account to five minutes (compared to what he described as weeks in the past).
Then, Facebook facilitates the use of the Business account once it has been created. For starters, businesses will be able to respond faster to inbound messages (which were previously “difficult to follow with customers outside of a 24-hour window”), and they can now send messages to those who have signed up, for example. example. around stock availability.
Businesses using the tool for customer service, meanwhile, will have the ability to create up to 10 pre-written messages to speed up their responses, and they can also configure response buttons to provide pre-filled responses and popular customers.
In addition to WhatsApp news, Facebook is also adding another tool to Messenger to expand it: Facebook Login Connect.
Essentially, if a business has Facebook Login integrated, it will allow users to log into their app or website using their Facebook credentials and then continue a conversation with the business through Messenger.
This is useful not only because it also means that a user can keep track of all conversations from one place, but it gives the business access to the tools it has built to conduct already. conversations in Messenger, whether they are chatbots or links via to other CRM databases. Facebook said tests of the service show that 70% of users choose to use the Login Connect tool, indicating that they are willing to use their Facebook credentials in this way.
It’s now a closed beta, but it will be more widely available in the coming months, Facebook said.
Finally, Facebook is launching a new feature in its Business Suite – a platform that can be used by businesses to manage activity on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger – that will allow developers to create “business applications”.
These are not applications within the meaning of the App Store, but tools designed by third parties (developers) to work with the Business Suite created by Facebook, further integrating Facebook tools into the websites and applications of companies, and also bringing more corporate content – for example, articles from a catalog – to their Facebook page, or Instagram account, and so on. The platform already has some 90 developers working on it and integrates with e-commerce platforms such as Bigcommerce, Facebook said.