After previewing the option back in 2020, today, at its first-ever ‘Conversations’ messaging conference, Meta has announced that it’s launching the WhatsApp Cloud API, which will provide free, secure cloud hosting services for businesses.
As it sounds, the WhatsApp Cloud API will essentially host your conversation data on Meta’s servers, which will improve connection and speed, but will come with a degree of privacy trade-off.
The main benefits will be improved speed in messaging response, while it’ll also help to eliminate server expenses, which could be a big benefit to smaller businesses, in particular. It’ll also facilitate faster access to new WhatsApp business features as they become available.
The downside is that it will mean more reliance on Meta, while you’ll also need to dilute WhatsApp’s messaging security measures:
As Meta described in its original announcement:
“If a business chooses to use a third-party vendor to operate the WhatsApp Business API on their behalf, we do not consider that to be end-to-end encrypted since the business you are messaging has chosen to give a third-party vendor access to those messages. This will also be the case if that third-party vendor is Facebook.”
As such, WhatsApp will include new notifications on consumer-to-business exchanges conducted through Meta hosting.
How you feel about such trade-offs will come down to your personal perspective, but the offering could be highly valuable for smaller businesses looking to build out their tech stack, without having to sign on to a third-party hosting vendor, or buy their own hardware.
But again, that does also mean increasing your reliance on Meta, which has notoriously changed the rules on businesses in the past, leaving many in the lurch.
The real benefit, however, will likely be in developing regions, where WhatsApp is the dominant messaging platform, and many small businesses are looking for ways to maximize their reach and transactions in-app. If Meta can assist them in building their business, that could be a big step in making WhatsApp a more critical utility, for many more users, while also, eventually, providing a direct revenue pathway for the messaging platform.
Though it does feel like a bit of a honey trap. Meta has already flagged that it will eventually introduce charges for these additional elements, without specifically outlining what those costs will be. Once businesses are reliant on such, it’ll be too late to back out, and Meta could ensnare them via incremental increases, that may eventually become a big earner for the company.
On another front, Meta also announced Recurring Notifications on Messenger, which will enable businesses to re-engage people within a messaging thread. The feature is only available to premium users at present, which doesn’t cost more to be part of right now, but will in future as Meta looks to incorporate new charges for its messaging and hosting tools.
You can check out replays of the Conversations conference presentations here.
Pinterest Ends its Creator Rewards Program for Idea Pins
Pinterest has announced that it’s ending its Creator Rewards program, with the incentive offering set to shutter later this week.
Pinterest’s Creator Rewards scheme provided a means for creators to make money by creating themed Idea Pins, based on monthly prompts provided by Pinterest.
That enabled Pinterest to both encourage Idea Pin activity, and guide those Pins towards more engaging elements – but now, it’s moving on from the project.
As reported by The Information:
“After the program’s conclusion on Wednesday, [Pinterest] will pay a one-time bonus to creators in the program who participated in at least one reward goal in August, September or October, a Pinterest spokesperson said. The company declined to share how much it was giving away in bonuses or how many people were part of the creator rewards program.”
Various social platforms have offered similar incentive schemes, with varying levels of success, but for the most part, they’ve eventually become unsustainable. Which, in some ways, is expected. Direct payments from the platforms are ideally designed help to guide creators into other monetization avenues, and are not geared towards building reliance on those payments themselves.
Snapchat has experienced similar issues with its Spotlight program, which is also now more aligned to specific thematic targets, while TikTok’s still working on the best way to ensure its top stars continue to get paid.
It is worth noting that this is separate from Pinterest’s $500k Creator Fund, which is another program designed to encourage creators to keep posting to the app.
The Creator Fund is specifically aimed at supporting Creators and communities ‘that have been disproportionately underrepresented’, and that program will continue on at this stage.
Cracking the code of creator funding is complex, especially in content formats that don’t support insertion of ads, where you can directly attribute revenue based on views. No platform has got this 100% right as yet, but more options are evolving, which could provide more avenues for sustainable creator funding in future.
But evidently, Pinterest found that this one wasn’t it. The program will shutter on Wednesday this week.