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8 min read

An introduction to WhatsApp advertising

This article was updated on: 25.04.2023

WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps in the world, with over 2 billion active users. As a result, it has become a popular platform for businesses to connect with their customers.

WhatsApp advertising involves using the messaging app to reach potential customers and promote products or services through various means, such as text messages, images, videos, and even voice messages. The app also offers business-specific features, such as the ability to create a business profile, set up automated messages, and engage in direct customer communication. When done correctly with the right targeting strategies, WhatsApp advertising can be an effective way to engage your audience and increase awareness of your brand.


To unlock WhatsApp as a marketing tool, you must first create a WhatsApp business account and then link it to your Meta advertising account. Luckily, this is an incredibly simple process with WhatsApp being owned by Meta. 

Once a WhatsApp Business account is set up, you can link it to your Facebook Business Manager account and create ads with a “Send Message” call-to-action button that directs users to a chat with the business on WhatsApp. This enables potential customers to start a conversation with you directly through WhatsApp, allowing for a more personalised approach. 

This is what the setup process looks like: 

  • Create a WhatsApp Business account and verify it.
  • Link this account to your Facebook Business Manager account.
  • Create an ad campaign and select the “Send Message” call-to-action button.
  • Choose the linked WhatsApp Business account as the destination for the call-to-action.
  • Set up ad targeting and budget as desired.

WhatsApp Advertising Opportunities

Using WhatsApp ads can help strengthen your relationships with potential customers by engaging in one-to-one conversations. This personalised and direct approach can help to increase positive experiences with your brand and as a result, drive higher conversion rates. Some of the key features available via Whatsapp advertising include:

Targeted advertising

It offers the ability to target specific audiences based on factors such as location, demographics, and interests, allowing you to reach the right people with your ads.

Automated messaging

Your business can set up automated messages, which can be used to greet new customers, provide information about products or services, and even share personalised offers.

Group messaging

WhatsApp offers group messaging, which can be used to engage with existing customers and create communities around your brand.

Rich media formats

It supports a range of rich media formats, including images, videos, and voice messages, which can help you create more engaging and interactive ads.

Business-specific features

There is a range of features offering specifically designed for businesses, such as the ability to create a business profile, set up quick replies, and use WhatsApp Web for desktop access, which can help you better manage your marketing efforts.

These features will enable your business to provide a better offering to users and will open up the following possibilities;

Receive orders on WhatsApp

By using the WhatsApp Business API, you may have set up a catalogue on your business profile to showcase your products or services. You can advertise this catalogue through Facebook and Instagram ads, offering exclusive deals that can only be accessed by messaging your business on WhatsApp. This way, you can take orders and bookings directly through the messaging app.

Customer Assistance

It’s possible to utilise click-to-WhatsApp ads to assist consumers who may require additional information before making a purchase, this can be particularly handy for new or complex products that customers might require technical support with. As a result, it’s possible to direct users to the chat app where you can offer guidance on details such as available variants or sizing etc…rather than sending them through to a website page. Whilst this does require a degree of customer support, it is possible to streamline responses by creating template responses and auto-response messages for when the business is outside of operating hours.

Target users who abandoned their cart

It’s common practice to retarget those who have previously abandoned their shopping basket. However, rather than simply redirecting the visitor to the page they left, WhatsApp ads allow your business to initiate a conversation with the user instead. Utilising click-to-WhatsApp ads enables you to connect with cart abandoners, provide assistance, and even suggest product recommendations, ultimately increasing the likelihood of securing the sale.

WhatsApp Advertising Limitations

While WhatsApp advertising can be an effective marketing tactic, it also has some limitations to be aware of:

  • Limited advertising options: Currently, WhatsApp only offers limited advertising options, such as sponsored messages and WhatsApp Business API, which may not be suitable for all types of businesses or advertising goals.
  • Privacy concerns: WhatsApp places a strong emphasis on user privacy, which means that businesses must be careful not to violate user privacy rights when using the platform for advertising.
  • Opt-in requirements: WhatsApp requires users to opt-in to receive messages from businesses, which means that businesses must provide value and obtain user consent before sending messages.
  • Restricted audience targeting: Unlike other social media platforms, WhatsApp’s targeting options are limited to basic demographics and interests, which may not be sufficient for businesses with specific targeting needs.
  • Limited metrics and reporting: WhatsApp currently provides limited metrics and reporting capabilities, which may make it difficult for businesses to measure the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns and optimise them for better results.

How WhatsApp advertising can feed into your current marketing mix

WhatsApp advertising can be effective at various stages of the customer journey, but it is particularly well-suited for the consideration and conversion stage. 

During the consideration stage, your business can leverage WhatsApp ads to nurture leads and build relationships. For example, you can use WhatsApp to send personalised messages, answer questions, provide more information about your products or services, and offer special promotions or discounts to help prospects to move closer to making a purchase.

At the conversion stage, you can use WhatsApp advertising to close the deal and convert leads into customers. For example, you could send personalised purchase confirmation messages, provide order updates and tracking information, and offer customer support and post-sale assistance. These tactics will also help with retention and advocacy. 

Overall, WhatsApp advertising can be an effective tool for building relationships, engaging with potential customers, and driving conversions at various stages of the advertising funnel, but it is particularly effective for nurturing leads and closing deals.

Integrating WhatsApp with other marketing channels 

WhatsApp can be integrated with your wider marketing mix in several ways:

  • Social media advertising: Businesses can use WhatsApp as a complement to their social media advertising efforts by using WhatsApp to engage with customers and provide more personalised support.
  • Email marketing: WhatsApp can be used as a follow-up to email marketing campaigns to provide more personalised and immediate customer support and answer any questions or concerns that customers may have.
  • Mobile marketing: WhatsApp is a mobile app, making it well-suited for mobile marketing strategies such as SMS marketing, push notifications, and in-app messaging.
  • Content marketing: Businesses can use WhatsApp to share valuable content such as blog posts, videos, and infographics with their customers, which can help build trust and establish the business as an authority in their industry.
  • Event marketing: WhatsApp can be used as a communication tool for event marketing, such as sending reminders and updates to attendees and providing customer support during the event.
  • Influencer marketing: Businesses can use WhatsApp to communicate directly with influencers and build relationships with them, which can help drive brand awareness and sales through influencer marketing.

How to measure the success of your WhatsApp campaign

Success in a WhatsApp campaign can be measured by several key performance indicators (KPIs) that are specific to the campaign’s objectives and goals. Some of the common KPIs for WhatsApp campaigns include:

  • Message delivery rate: This measures the percentage of messages that were successfully delivered to the intended recipients. A high message delivery rate indicates that the campaign is reaching the intended audience.
  • Message open rate: This measures the percentage of messages that were opened and read by the recipients. A high message open rate indicates that the campaign is engaging and interesting to the audience.
  • Conversion rate: This measures the percentage of recipients who took the desired action after receiving the message, such as clicking on a link, making a purchase, or completing a form. A high conversion rate indicates that the campaign is effective at driving the desired action.
  • Customer engagement: This measures the level of customer engagement with the campaign, such as the number of replies or inquiries received, the frequency of interaction, and the level of customer satisfaction. High customer engagement indicates that the campaign is resonating with the audience and building relationships.
  • Return on investment (ROI): This measures the financial return on the campaign investment, such as the revenue generated from the campaign compared to the cost of the campaign. A positive ROI indicates that the campaign is profitable and worth investing in.

Overall, success in a WhatsApp campaign depends on a combination of these KPIs, as well as the specific objectives and goals of the campaign. By tracking and optimising these metrics, you can ensure that your WhatsApp campaigns are effective and driving the desired results.

If you want to learn more about WhatsApp advertising and how it could integrate with your current marketing mix, get in touch with our team today.