WhatsApp broadcast: 6 inspiring examples from India
How can you reach thousands of users with just one message on one of the world's most popular social media platforms? By sending out WhatsApp broadcast messages! Officially known as WhatsApp marketing notifications, these notifications allow you to grow your customer base, increase engagement, and even drive sales. Get inspired by six examples from India!
WhatsApp broadcast, WhatsApp newsletter, WhatsApp push notifications, WhatsApp bulk messages, or WhatsApp marketing notifications: the notification tool on Meta's green messaging app has many names. But no matter what you call it, the feature enables businesses to communicate directly with thousands of users.
What makes the WhatsApp newsletter even more attractive is that it has incredibly high open and click-through rates, and is a real business driver. Luckily, after banning the feature in 2019, WhatsApp decided to bring the newsletter back in 2021 — with some modifications (less spam for users) and upgrades (more options for companies). We'll take a look at the broadcasting options that are available for companies, and show you inspiring examples of companies from India that are successfully growing their business with the feature.
What's a WhatsApp broadcast?
WhatsApp broadcasts are bulk messages that companies send out to subscribers via WhatsApp. The broadcast can be a traditional newsletter, important business updates, but also information about events, or even special deals and offers, which is why WhatsApp notifications can also open the door for conversational commerce.
Now, why would you need WhatsApp to send messages to users, if you can already send e-mails, social media ads, and SMS? Because no other channel offers you what WhatsApp does: incredible open and click-through rates! The open rate of a WhatsApp message is 90% (!!!), while open rates for the most successful e-mail campaigns only reach 27%.
And a WhatsApp broadcast will also get more attention than e-mails or social media campaigns! Compared to e-mails, the open rates for messaging apps is more than ten times as high.
Why are WhatsApp and other messaging apps so much more successful in getting your message to customers? First, users are experiencing social media and e-mail fatigue. On social media, busy timelines and algorithms make it very hard for users to find the information they want. And e-mail inboxes are so crowded that even the best e-mail campaigns might get overlooked.
With messaging newsletters, however, your company's message ends up front and center on the users' locked screen. And by using channels like WhatsApp, iMessage, or Telegram, you are already communicating in the same environment as the customers' friends and family. This makes messaging newsletters a much more personable and direct way to reach customers.
After conducting extensive research, we discovered that WhatsApp is more than just a personal messaging application for our consumers – it’s a tool that is fully integrated into their daily life. We thought that WhatsApp would work perfectly as a content distribution platform, reaching out directly to our readers.
Ankit Dikshit, Bloomberg Quint, India
And with WhatsApp being the most used messaging app in the world, it makes it the perfect channel for businesses to reach and engage users throughout the entire customer journey!
How can I set up a WhatsApp broadcast?
Companies have two ways to set up a WhatsApp broadcast: you can use the WhatsApp Business app or the WhatsApp Business Platform (formerly known as WhatsApp Business API).
❗ Important: According to WhatsApp's policies, you're not allowed to use the private WhatsApp app for commercial purposes. Violating this policy can get your account blocked.
The WhatsApp Business app was specifically designed for small businesses with up to five employees. While it's free of charge, you can't integrate chatbots, it doesn't guarantee data protection, and you can only contact a maximum of 256 users per broadcasting list, so it won't allow you to scale campaigns. If you send out more than the allowed limit, WhatsApp will block your account.
The WhatsApp Business Platform, on the other hand, gives you access to the WhatsApp interface, and depending on the size of your business and success of your campaigns, you can send out anywhere from 1,000 to 100,000 to an unlimited number of messages to users.
💡 From message limits to templates: read how to set up a WhatsApp newsletter campaign, step-by-step
You can set up your own IT infrastructure to access the interface (requires IT knowledge and resources!), or get easy access through professional Business Solution Providers (BSP) like MessengerPeople by Sinch.
Using a professional solution for sending out WhatsApp broadcasts has several advantages:
- You can get started right away, no complicated IT infrastructure needed.
- It's a ready-to-go solution that doesn't require any special IT skills.
- It's possible to integrate AI-based chatbots with an easy chatbot builder.
- You don't have to worry about data protection laws (data privacy compliance is 100% guaranteed).
- You can not only send out broadcasting messages on WhatsApp, but also on other messaging apps like Telegram, Instagram Direct, the Messenger from Meta, iMessage, and many more — and manage it all from one dashboard.
With the new WhatsApp newsletter, there are certain requirements that businesses have to fulfill in order to be allowed to send out bulk messages. After all, WhatsApp wants to make sure that users are not being spammed with notifications they don't want to receive.
There is certain content that businesses are not allowed to promote with WhatsApp notifications, such as:
- adult content
- alcohol, tobacco, drugs, or similar products
- defense weapons, ammunition, explosives, or similar items
- animal sales
- health products or medication (although there are some exceptions)
Businesses also have to use the WhatsApp templates for their messages. Until now, WhatsApp had to pre-approve these templates manually before companies were allowed to send out messages. However, since October 2022, there is an automated checking process, and businesses can start their campaigns right away.
Of course, if a campaign is in violation of WhatsApp's policies or if users file complaints, WhatsApp reserves the right to stop campaigns.
Costs of WhatsApp notifications
WhatsApp differentiates between four types of notification categories.
- Utility conversations: Business-initiated conversations relating to a transaction, including post-purchase notifications and recurring billing statements to customers who have opted in.
- Authentication: Business-initiated conversations that enable businesses to authenticate users with one-time passcodes at multiple steps during the login process, such as account registration, account recovery, and integrity challenges.
- Marketing conversation: Business-initiated conversations to market a product or service to customers, such as relevant offers to customers who have opted in. Any business-initiated conversation that does not qualify as an authentication or utility conversation would also fall under this category.
- Service conversations: Any user-initiated conversation, such as to resolve a customer inquiry.
Depending on the message category, there are different costs. The price also depends on the location and phone number of the receiver.
For example, for users with a UK code, the price is 0.0705 US dollars. In India, the current rate for business-initiated messages is 0.0099 US dollars, and in Canada and the US you pay 0.0250 US dollars.
You can see the full pricing list on the Facebook developer site.
Successful with the WhatsApp newsletter: Six inspiring examples
1. Bloomberg Quint: Reaching 200,000+ readers
When the financial news outlet Bloomberg Quint launched its WhatsApp channel in India, it was one of the country’s first business news messaging services for decision makers and executives on the go.
As Bloomberg Quint was looking to reach more readers, the publication partnered with MessengerPeople by Sinch, and started using the WhatsApp broadcast feature to send out important stock market and financial news to its subscribers.
With the newsletter, Bloomberg didn't only meet its target of reaching 100,000 users, but was able to more than double that number to grow its community to more than 225,000 active users.
2. Newschecker: Fighting misinformation
While digitalization in India is growing, digital literacy is still very low in the country. This makes the spread of misinformation online easy and fast.
In order to educate Indians on different topics, the fact checking organization Newschecker worked with MessengerPeople by Sinch to launch a WhatsApp broadcast where subscribers can send in stories they want to be checked, or simply read fact-checked news.
Ask users what content they want to receive.
The WhatsApp newsletter makes it easy for Newschecker to reach many readers, and thus, stop the spread of misinformation faster.
3. Netflix: Increasing viewership
In the very early days of the WhatsApp broadcast messages, Netflix already recognized the potential the tool held. In 2017, the streaming service launched a WhatsApp newsletter campaign in India that has since also been rolled out in the UK.
The idea: Netflix would send subscribers notifications whenever they came out with a new movie or TV show that could be streamed on WhatsApp. Users could choose to enable the update, and select what type of content they would be interested in. Subscribers would then receive regular messages on new content.
This example shows how useful WhatsApp newsletters can be to re-activate users, keep them engaged, and of course, it also helped Netflix increase viewership for their new shows.
4. Adidas: Getting more members
In December 2021, Adidas India updated their website. With the relaunch, they also introduced a new membership initiative. In order to spread the word, and get more members, Adidas used the WhatsApp broadcasting function.
Adidas India promoted their membership program through a WhatsApp broadcast.
5. Flipkart: Increase buzz around sales campaign
India's large e-commerce marketplace Flipkart offers pretty much anything, from lifestyle products to electronics to groceries. For their sales campaign "Big Billion Days", they were looking for a way to increase attention around the event.
Instead of betting on online ads or social media promotions where it's very hard to stand out, they decided to reach their customers in a conversational way: through WhatsApp.
In a campaign that involved conversational flows, multimedia, and elements from India's famous TV show, Kaun Banega Crorepati (including host Amitabh Bachchan as a chatbot!), they were able to get users' attention, and increase the buzz around their campaign considerably.
With the WhatsApp campaign, they were able to:
- get 3.5 times more conversions
- seven times more high-quality visitors
- generate 2.5 million US dollars in revenue
6. Big Bazaar: Growing the customer base
The retail chain Big Bazaar launched their two-hour delivery service back in April 2021. It already included the option to order through WhatsApp.
After launching the new service, Big Bazaar reached about 50,000 orders per day. In order to grow even faster, the retailer started sending out special deals on WhatsApp to newsletter subscribers.
Big Bazaar used a WhatsApp broadcast to grow their customer base.
Through their WhatsApp broadcast, customers were able to get discounts on certain groceries, which added an extra incentive to shop at Big Bazaar, and was a clever way for the company to increase its customer base.
Telegram, iMessage, and more: Are there good alternatives to WhatsApp broadcast?
WhatsApp isn't the only messaging app companies can use to send out newsletters. Telegram, iMessage, and now even the Facebook Messenger offer options for bulk messaging. Are these viable alternatives to WhatsApp? They definitely can be!
Telegram is the rising star among the messaging apps. It has far fewer users than its competitors (700 million vs. WhatsApp's two billion), but it's the fastest growing messenger service right now. In India, Telegram is more popular than the Facebook Messenger!
There are also some newsletter features that are unique to Telegram. For one, the newsletters are free of charge, you don't need to get your newsletter templates pre-approved, and you don't have to worry as much about Telegram pausing campaigns. So, especially for promoting fast-selling deals, this might be a better-suited channel.
Meta re-opened the recurring notifications on the Facebook Messenger for all businesses this year. Before, only companies that were registered on Facebook's news index were allowed to use the feature.
The Messenger can be an interesting option if your customers are primarily on Facebook, but also if you want to expand your user base. Keep in mind, that in some markets, like the US, the Messenger is still more popular than WhatsApp!
Apple Messages for Business
With Apple Messages for Business, you're able to reach a different target audience than with WhatsApp. Yes, there are fewer Apple users than Android users, but they tend to spend more! In addition, Apple doesn't charge businesses additionally for sending out newsletters on Apple Messages for Business, so there's also a cost advantage over WhatsApp.
If you're running an international business, you can reach Apple customers without needing a SIM card for each country (like you do for WhatsApp).
And you also don't have to worry about open rates!
On iMessage, we have message open rates of over 90 percent. When we send out iMessage links through our newsletter, we have a click-through rate of more than 60 percent.
Kara Dilling, Business Development Manager at influencer affiliate platform stylink
So, depending on your product and audience, this might be a good alternative for you.
💡 What about Threema, WeChat, or Notify? Check out our complete guide with all WhatsApp newsletter alternatives!
Send out newsletters on multiple messaging apps
What if you don't just want to stick to one messaging app, but use several to send out your newsletters, and reach even more users? That's possible with a professional messaging solution like Sinch Engage from MessengerPeople by Sinch.
With Sinch Engage, you can send out newsletters on practically every messaging app, from Telegram to WhatsApp to Apple Messages for Business. It all works on a centralized platform, so you don't have to switch back and forth between applications, and you can even integrate chatbots and automated opt-in and opt-out messages.
Ready to boost your WhatsApp broadcasts?
Get in touch with our local team in India, and we'll be happy to guide you through our solution!