Remember when Facebook spent a whopping $19 billion on messaging platform WhatsApp? It turns out, that investment might just pay off. Not only does WhatsApp have 1.5 billion monthly users (and counting), but it's also the second largest story-sharing product Facebook has after Instagram (sorry,  Snapchat).

Marketers are getting the message, too, and are using WhatsApp to connect with millennials and Gen Z. The great news? Mobile messaging app users are really open to it: according to a recent Nielsen Facebook Messaging Survey, 67 percent said they expect to use chat more for communicating with businesses over the next two years, and 53 percent are more likely to shop with a business they can message directly. Even more great news? It's affordable. Whether managing high-volume messaging via a chatbot, or going the old fashioned way with a community manager, the low overhead is very appealing for this marketing tool.

Thinking about adding WhatsApp or other messaging sites to your marketing toolkit? Get some inspiration from these five brands that did it right.

Absolut

Absolut has the first branded social campaign on WhatsApp, which played a key role in the marketing campaign behind the brand's limited edition Absolut Unique vodka. Over the course of the three-day campaign, consumers interacted with a fictional bouncer named Sven, sending text messages, voice messages, photos, and videos convincing him they should receive one of the two passes available to Absolut's exclusive party.

Clarks

Shoe company told a story via WhatsApp in a campaign to promote its Desert Boot. WhatsApp users who added the phone number in the "From Rats to Rudeboys" campaign interacted and received images and videos with chats scripted as Clarks founder Nathan Clark retelling how his travels in Burma inspired the boot, from 1960s writer Steve Barrow explaining the shoe's role in mod fashion, and from reggae icon Stitch placing the boots in Jamaica in the 1970s.

Hellman's

Take a photo of the contents of your fridge and Hellman's told you what you could make with it via   WhatsCook. The campaign had chef's send WhatsApp messages to consumers who signed up on a website, and guided them on what to cook--using Hellman's mayonnaise, of course. Simple and practical, this campaign impacted over 5 million people.

Agent Provocateur

Agent Provocateur had long used WhatsApp for customer service messaging, but the brand took it a step further--an on brand risque step further--with their 2016 Ménage à Trois holiday campaign. This interactive campaign used video and brand reps messaging to help women flag items on the site for their Christmas wish lists.

Netflix

Not sure what to watch? Netflix has been testing WhatsApp customer communications for recommendations, along with customer support. While the program is only live in India--WhatsApp's largest market--users in other markets may see the Netflix WhatsApp collab roll out in the months to come.

Published on: May 23, 2018