One of the benefits of using Facebook Ads is the ability to have ads shown on other websites and apps besides Facebook itself. This includes serving ads to users on WhatsApp. Marketers who are looking for new ways to connect to their target audience in 2019 should consider using Facebook's new WhatsApp ad targeting options.

WhatsApp is one of the most popular mobile apps on the planet. According to the company, more than 1 billion people in over 180 countries use WhatsApp. It's estimated that there are more than 450 million messages are sent each day on the platform. With such a diverse range of people using the platform often, WhatsApp is an ideal place to target specific audiences.

Back in August of 2018, Facebook announced that it would roll out new WhatsApp ads in 2019, but no specific launch date was given. Recent reports have suggested that "Facebook has added traffic, conversions and page post engagement objectives for its Click-to-WhatsApp ads, ads that launch a WhatsApp chat, via the Facebook News Feed."

At first, marketers could only use WhatsApp in Facebook ads where users can click the ad to send a message on WhatsApp to the advertiser. This is great for lead generation, but it left WhatsApp unable to be used in some of the more common Facebook ads. By including traffic, website conversions, and post engagement ads, marketers can use WhatsApp for the same kinds of campaigns they run on Facebook and Instagram.

Adding these new ad options for WhatsApp can help Facebook and Facebook advertisers in other ways. As the number of people who use Facebook Ads increases, so does the amount of competition for limited advertising space. Facebook can only serve so many ads via News Feeds before users complain about ad saturation. Greater competition for ad space increases the price of ads, which could make business owners less likely to use Facebook Ads.

One of the biggest benefits to using ads on Facebook is that they are less expensive than Google Ads. If that ceases to be the case, some marketers are going to move their budgets to other advertising platform. By using WhatsApp to serve the same kinds of ads it would show on Facebook News Feeds, Facebook has tremendously increase the amount of advertising space it has to work with. This will keep the prices lower for everyone using Facebook Ads.

Advertisers running Click-to-WhatsApp ads receive metric reports through the Facebook Ads Manager dashboard that track how many conversations were started by the ads. This data can be used to determine how well WhatsApp ad placement is performing compared to the traditional Facebook Ad placements.

In order to use the newest WhatsApp ad options on Facebook, advertisers must have WhatsApp Business app downloaded and attached to their Facebook Page, similar to the way that an Instagram account can be linked to a Facebook Ads account. With an official business profile, brands using WhatsApp "can interact with customers easily by using tools to automate, sort, and quickly respond to messages".

By using WhatsApp, businesses can communicate with customers on a platform that some people prefer to use the most. There are millions of messages and billions of phone calls made on WhatsApp each day. By making it easier for people on WhatsApp to communicate with brands, business owners can have an advantage over companies that aren't engaging with customers on their platform of choice. Being an early adopter of WhatsApp marketing can help a business reach customers the competition isn't really targeting yet.

For more recent news about social media marketing, read this article on the Instagram test that may showcase the future of the platform.

Published on: Jan 7, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.