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WhatsApp Pay Gains Approval for Expansion in India, Boosting Facebook’s eCommerce Push

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In another important step in Facebook’s ongoing efforts to become the critical tech infrastructure element in the emerging Indian market, the Indian Government has this week approved an expansion of payments within WhatsApp, opening the door for the next stage of Facebook’s eCommerce push.

As reported by TechCrunch:

“National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the body that operates the widely popular UPI payments infrastructure, said on Thursday evening that it has granted approval to WhatsApp to roll out UPI-powered payments in India.

That could provide new opportunities for Facebook to greatly expand its WhatsApp marketplace, which is already a significant element in the developing region. 

Indeed, WhatsApp, the most used messaging app in the nation, has become a central platform for its evolving eCommerce tools, and with payments now becoming more readily available, that will enable Facebook to fuel more business activity within the app.

Shortly after securing the new agreement, WhatsApp also announced the capacity to send payments within the app.

That’s also a key step – more money is sent into India via remittance, or transfers back to family and friends, than any other nation, according to the The World Bank. If Facebook can get more people transferring funds within the app, that will likely lead to more commerce activity, as the funds are already there, and transfers will become more commonplace, even habitual.

Facebook has already invested big in the Indian market, buying a $US5.7 billion stake in local internet provider Reliance Jio back in April, as well as acquiring online shopping platforms like Meesho, which facilitates commerce in WhatsApp.

Meesho

If WhatsApp can also host more in-stream payments, it could become the critical connective app for the market, following the lead of Chinese messaging apps, like WeChat, which is now an essential companion for over a billion Chinese citizens as they go about their everyday lives.

Over the past few years, India has emerged as a key element in Facebook’s empire-expansion plans, with The Social Network working to gain approval from Indian regulators to expand its presence in the region, particularly in relation to in-stream payments and facilitating eCommerce.

Thus far, however, the company has come up against various roadblocks. Indian authorities blocked Facebook’s original ‘Free Basics’ program back in 2015 due to concerns around how Facebook was looking to dominate web access, while the Indian Government has also clashed with Facebook management at various points over the content it allows (and doesn’t) within the app. 

Given the dominance of Facebook in the social media market, Indian authorities are skeptical of ceding too much control over web access to the company. Yet, with WhatsApp, India seems more open. Which is why Facebook is now making a bigger push to increase its presence through its messaging app, which has already become a key communications and connection platform in the region.

Facebook had hoped to be able to boost its payments service by facilitating fee-free exchanges within its apps via its Libra cryptocurrency offering, but that program has faced its own difficulties, delaying its launch. Facilitating more payments within WhatsApp is essentially the next best thing, and while Facebook will still be beholden to local banking regulation, it will have increased capacity to introduce WhatsApp Pay to more users, which could quickly make it a key offering.

This may not have much impact in Western markets, but it’s a major development, and could be a major step in taking Facebook’s payments programs to the next level. If Facebook can become the digital connective element that links Indian citizens to payments, data collection, communications, Facebook essentially becomes the wallet of the next generation, a critical companion in all elements of daily life.

And with 1.3 billion citizens, and growing, that could give the company a major advantage.    

It’s still early days, but this will be a key area of focus for The Social Network moving forward.

Socialmediatoday.com

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17 Content Options for Each Stage of the Sales Journey [Infographic]

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17 Content Options for Each Stage of the Sales Journey [Infographic]

Looking to formulate a better content strategy for 2023?

This will help – the team from Orbit Media has put together a listing of 17 content formats, and where they fit within the sales funnel which could provide some inspiration for your planning.

There are some good pointers here, with specific approaches that you can take at each stage of the journey.

Check out the full listing below – while you can read more on the Orbit Media website.

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Meta Soars by Most in Decade, Adding $100 Billion in Value

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Meta Soars by Most in Decade, Adding $100 Billion in Value

Correction: February 2, 2023 This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: An earlier version of this article misstated how much Meta expected to spend on its deal with the virtual reality start-up Within. It is $400 million, not $400 billion. Meta’s stock surged on Thursday …

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Twitter’s Cancelling Free Access to its API, Which Will Shut Down Hundreds of Apps

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Twitter’s Cancelling Free Access to its API, Which Will Shut Down Hundreds of Apps

Well, this is certainly problematic.

Twitter has announced that, as of February 9th, it’s cutting off free access to its API, which is the access point that many, many apps, bot accounts, and other tools use to function.

That means that a heap of Twitter analytics apps, management tools, schedulers, automated updates – a range of key info and insight options will soon cease to function. Which seems like the sort of thing that, if you were Twitter, you’d want to keep on your app.

But that’s not really how Twitter 2.0 is looking to operate – in a bid to rake in as much revenue as absolutely possible, in any way that it can, Twitter will now look to charge all of these apps and tools. But most, I’d hazard a guess, will simply cease to function.

The bigger business apps already pay for full API access – your Hootsuite’s and your Sprout Social’s – so they’ll likely be unaffected. But it could stop them from offering free plans, which would have a big impact on their business models.

The announcement follows Twitter’s recent API change which cut off a heap of Twitter posting tools, in order, seemingly, to stop users accessing the platform through a third-party UI. 

Now, even more Twitter tools will go extinct, a broad spread of apps and functions that contribute to the real-time ecosystem that Twitter has become. Their loss, if that’s what happens, will have big impacts on overall Twitter activity.

On the other hand, some will see this as another element in Twitter’s crackdown on bots, which Twitter chief Elon Musk has made a personal mission to eradicate. Musk has taken some drastic measures to kill off bots, some of which are having an impact, but Musk himself has also admitted that such efforts are reducing overall platform engagement

This, too, could be a killer in this respect

It’ll also open the door to Twitter competitors, as many automated update apps will switch to other platforms. This relates to things like updates on downtime from video games, weather apps, and more. There are also tools like GIF generators and auto responders – there’s a range of tools that could now look for a new home on Mastodon, or some other Twitter replicant. 

In this respect, it seems like a flawed move, which is also largely ignorant of how the developer community has facilitated Twitter’s growth. 

But Elon and Co. are going to do things their own way, whether outside commentators agree or not – and maybe this is actually a path to gaining new Twitter data customers, and boosting the company’s income. 

But I doubt it.

If there are any third-party Twitter apps that you use, it’ll be worth checking in to see if they’re impacted before next week.



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