Facebook’s (FB) WhatsApp will give away $0.25 million worth of Facebook ad credit to 500 small businesses in India. Each business will receive $500 worth of Facebook ad credit. The credit will help Indian startups leverage both Facebook and WhatsApp to reach more potential customers online. Hopefully, the ad credit will help Indian businesses increase sales.
India is WhatsApp’s largest market. The service boasts over 400 million users in India. It’s also popular with Indian businesses. Of the 5.0 million businesses that use the app globally, 1.0 million of them are in India.
WhatsApp’s ad credit giveaway to Indian small businesses comes as Facebook prepares to begin monetizing the service.
Facebook to launch WhatsApp payment service in India
In India, Facebook is expected to launch a WhatsApp-based mobile payment service at any time. The exact nature of the upcoming payment service is currently unknown. Companies such as PayPal (PYPL) make money by charging a fee to process payments for businesses. Facebook could employ a similar strategy to make money from the upcoming payment platform.
With its WhatsApp payment service, Facebook would join PayPal, Google, and Amazon among the US companies currently in India’s digital payment market. Walmart, another US company, entered India’s digital payment market through its acquisition of Flipkart, which operates the PhonePe mobile payment service.
Facebook bringing ads in monetization push
Facebook plans to open the WhatsApp platform to advertisers next year. WhatsApp boasts over 1.5 billion monthly users and 500 million daily users globally. These numbers indicate it could be a strong contender in the digital advertising market. Twitter (TWTR), which has a much smaller user base, pulled in $2.6 billion in ad sales last year. Twitter finished the third quarter with 145 million daily users worldwide.
India has one of the fastest-growing digital advertising markets. WhatsApp’s Facebook ad credit giveaway in India could go a long way toward showcasing it as a marketing platform.
Providing pay-to-use business communication tools is another monetization path Facebook wants to pursue with WhatsApp. Therefore, investing in Indian startups could be part of WhatsApp’s efforts to groom future users of its premium business tools.
Right now, Facebook derives almost all of its revenue from advertising. Therefore, selling premium business chat tools through WhatsApp could help the company diversify its revenue sources. Facebook has ventured into making hardware products under the Oculus and Portal brands in search of non-advertising revenue.