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Meta Launches AI-Driven Ad Targeting Program for WhatsApp

Sao Paulo, June 06, 2024, The Europe Today: On Thursday, Meta unveiled its first AI-driven ad targeting program for businesses on WhatsApp, aiming to generate revenue from the widely used chat service. The announcement was made during a conference in Brazil, where CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced the new tools via a video presentation.

This development marks a significant shift for WhatsApp, a messaging service known for its strong privacy features. Unlike Meta’s other platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, WhatsApp has traditionally avoided targeted advertising.

For several years, Meta has been integrating commerce and payment features into WhatsApp, including “business messaging” tools that allow companies to conduct customer service chats and send marketing materials to users who have shared their phone numbers. Previously, these tools were used to send messages to all opted-in users. The new AI tools will leverage user behavior on Facebook and Instagram to target messages to customers who are most likely to engage, provided they use the same phone number across accounts.

Guilherme Horn, WhatsApp’s head of strategic markets, told Reuters that these AI tools would enable businesses to optimize ad delivery. “This is very important for business because they are paying for those messages,” Horn said.

Despite WhatsApp’s vast user base and the substantial $22 billion acquisition price in 2014, it has only contributed minimally to Meta’s total revenue. Meta has been intensifying efforts to monetize the app, which boasts the highest daily user numbers among Meta’s platforms.

In addition to the ad targeting program, Meta introduced a new AI chatbot designed to handle business inquiries directly in chat, reflecting Zuckerberg’s vision of automating business communications. The chatbot will assist with common requests, such as locating catalogs or consulting business hours, akin to existing AI-powered customer service tools.

Meta also announced the integration of Brazil’s instantaneous digital payment method PIX into WhatsApp’s payment tool. PIX, which accounted for about 39% of transactions in Brazil last year, offers similar services to WhatsApp’s payment tool, including money transfers between individuals and purchases from companies.

This strategic move underscores Meta’s commitment to enhancing WhatsApp’s functionality and profitability, while continuing to innovate within the digital payment landscape.