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WhatsApp Partners with Indian Government to Provide Digital Identity Documents In-App

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This could be a significant advance in Meta’s push to make WhatsApp an essential utility in India.

Today, India’s Ministry of Electronic and Information Technology has announced that Indian citizens will now be able to access various official documents via WhatsApp.

Integrating with its Digilocker digital documentation initiative, the program will make WhatsApp a more important connector, in even more ways, which could help to reinforce the value of the app for Indian users.

WhatsApp is currently the most popular messaging platform in India, with over 487 million users. And as India’s digital transformation continues to take shape, more and more people are becoming increasingly reliant on WhatsApp to stay connected, with Meta also looking to build in more options for bill paying, money exchange, shopping and more.

In many ways, Meta’s looking to replicate the way messaging apps are used in China, where WeChat has become an essential tool for many day-to-day interactions.

Indeed, amid the COVID outbreak, the significance of WeChat was underlined once again, with Chinese citizens required to show their health status via barcodes in both WeChat and/or Alipay in order to catch public transport, or travel to certain areas.

Chinese users regularly use their digital identity, via messaging apps, to conduct virtually all of their day-to-day transactions, including shopping, transport, utilities payments, banking, etc.

As per The South China Morning Post:

Many people outside China either still haven’t heard of WeChat or they think it’s the country’s equivalent of popular messaging service WhatsApp or social media giant Facebook. For many people in China, WeChat is much more – it is not an overstatement to say it’s an indispensable part of their everyday lives.

Meta has tried, at various stages, to replicate the utility of WeChat with western users, starting with its push to integrate messenger bots in 2016, to the addition of games to expand usage, to rolling out Facebook Pay (soon to be Meta Pay) in various markets.

Those efforts haven’t seen Messenger expand beyond a messaging platform, which has stunted Meta’s efforts to monetize its messaging apps. But in India, where social media adoption is still evolving, it sees significant opportunity to make messaging a more essential element for the nation’s 1.4 billion citizens.

For comparison, the US, Meta’s biggest market in terms of revenue, has a population of 332 million people.

You can see, then, why Meta is so keen to build on WhatsApp’s presence in the Indian market, which this integration will certainly help with, while Meta’s also rolling out new business tools, like recurring notifications and WhatsApp Cloud hosting, which are available for free for now, but will eventually become paid tools.

India is where Meta wants to see the biggest take up of these functions, with each step further cementing the app as a key utility for the region.

Again, up till now, Meta hasn’t been able to effectively monetize WhatsApp, despite paying $19 billion for the app in 2014. This is the strongest pathway to building it into a necessary layer for business interactions, which will help Meta dominate in another new market, while also driving significant future revenue opportunities.

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Meta Could be Exploring Paid Blue Checkmarks on Facebook and Instagram

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Meta Could be Exploring Paid Blue Checkmarks on Facebook and Instagram

It seems like Elon Musk’s chaotic management approach at Twitter is having some broader impacts, with more companies reportedly considering lay-offs in the wake of Musk culling 70% of Twitter staff (and keeping the app running), and Meta now apparently also considering charging for blue checkmarks in its apps.

Yes, the Twitter Blue approach to making people pay for verification, which hasn’t proven overly popular on Twitter itself, is now also seemingly in consideration at Meta as well.

According to a new finding by reverse engineering pro Alessandro Paluzzi, there’s a new mention in the codebase of both Facebook and Instagram of a ‘paid blue badge’.

Paluzzi also shared a screenshot of the code with TechCrunch:

That does appear to refer to a subscription service for both apps, which could well give you a blue verification badge as a result.

Mets has neither confirmed nor denied the project, but it does seem, at least on the surface, that it’s considering offering checkmarks as another paid option – which still seems strange, considering the original purpose of verification, which is to signify noteworthy people or profiles in the app.

If people can just buy that, then it’s no longer of any value, right?

Evidently, that’s not the case, and with Twitter already bringing in around $7 million per quarter from Twitter Blue subscriptions, maybe Meta’s looking for a means to supplement its own intake, and make up for lost ad dollars and/or rising costs of its metaverse development.

It seems counter-intuitive, but I guess, if people will pay, and the platforms aren’t concerned about there being confusion as to what the blue ticks actually mean.

I guess, more money is good?

Meta has, in the past, said that it won’t charge a subscription fee to access its apps. But this, of course, would be supplemental – users wouldn’t have to pay, but they could buy a blue checkmark if they wanted, and use the implied value of recognition for their own purposes.

Which seems wrong, but tough times, higher costs – maybe every app needs to start digging deeper.

Meta hasn’t provided any info or confirmation at this stage, but we’ll keep you updated on any progress.



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YouTube Shorts Exceed 50B Daily Views, Meta’s Reels Doubles Plays 02/03/2023

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YouTube Shorts Exceed 50B Daily Views, Meta's Reels Doubles Plays 02/03/2023

YouTube Shorts and Meta’s Reels are both making
headway in the intensely competitive video shorts sector.  

During Alphabet’s Q4 earnings call on Thursday, CEO Sundar Pichai reported that YouTube Shorts has surpassed 50 billion
daily views. That’s up from the 30 billion reported in Q1 2022.

However, it still …



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Podcast Marketing Statistics for Businesses [Infographic]

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Podcast Marketing Statistics for Businesses [Infographic]

Podcasts have become an increasingly popular content format, providing on-demand, topical material covering virtually any subject that you can think of.

Indeed, according to estimates, over 130 million people will listen to podcasts monthly in the US this year, which could also provide significant opportunities for marketers to tap into this captive audience, and reach them with relevant ads and offers.

If you’re considering getting into podcasting or podcast advertising, this will help. The team from Spiralytics have put together a collection of podcast consumption stats and notes, which could help guide your thinking around the format.

Check out the full infographic below.

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