Meta unveils AI-driven advert, targets programme for businesses on WhatsApp to boost revenue


Meta has launched its first Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven ad targeting program for businesses on WhatsApp, marking a significant shift for the encrypted messaging service known for its privacy credentials.

The announcement represents a new direction for WhatsApp, which had long avoided the types of targeted advertising tools common on Meta’s other platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

Company Chief Executive Officer, Mark Zuckerberg, announced the initiative on Thursday at a conference in Brazil, via a video presentation reported by Reuters News Agency.

Zuckerberg noted that Meta had been introducing commerce and payment features on WhatsApp for several years, including “business messaging” tools.

“These are tools companies can use to conduct customer service chats and send marketing materials to people who have shared their phone numbers with the companies,” he explained.

Previously, these tools were blunt instruments, used to send messages to all users who had opted in to receiving the company’s outreach. The new AI tools, however, will leverage behavior on Facebook and Instagram to target messages to users most likely to be receptive, provided they use the same opted-in phone number across accounts.

Read More: Microsoft unveils AI-powered innovation for Windows at annual build conference

Zuckerberg emphasized that Meta had been intensifying efforts to monetise WhatsApp, which was its largest app in terms of daily users.

Despite its popularity and the US$22 billion acquisition price tag in 2014, WhatsApp had contributed only a small portion to Meta’s total revenue.

At the conference, Meta also introduced a new AI chatbot designed to answer business inquiries directly within the chat.

This is an early test of Zuckerberg’s goal to encourage businesses to use automated tools for their communications. The chatbot will assist users with common requests such as finding catalogs or consulting business hours, similar to existing AI-powered customer service platforms.

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