Facebook adds SMB hosting to WhatsApp for businesses

The WhatsApp Business app shown on an Android device on a desk surrounded by other items
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Facebook has increased its investment in its tools and services for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), outlining plans to let customers manage WhatsApp messages via new hosting services.

The social media giant will expand its partnerships with vendors to give customers a broader range of platforms and hosting services on which to manage their WhatsApp messages. This is in addition to new functionality allowing transactions to be made directly through a chat, as well as new charges for some of the services being offered.

Customers have previously been able to manage their WhatsApp chats with customers through both the WhatsApp Business app and WhatsApp Business API. Facebook Hosting Services will give businesses with varying technology needs more choice over which companies they work with, and which companies manage their communications.

“Many of the old ways in which people and businesses communicate are not working,” the company announced in a statement. “While businesses spend billions of dollars annually managing phone calls, e-mails, and SMS, people do not want to wait on hold, get passed from person to person, or wonder if their messages were received.

“The global pandemic has made clear that businesses need fast and efficient ways to service their customers and make sales. WhatsApp has become a simple and convenient resource in this time.”

WhatsApp is touted as one of the most high-profile communications platforms with secure, end-to-end encryption safeguarding the content of messages. Although the consumer-based platform has enjoyed massive success over the last decade, its enterprise business is still fairly young.

The company only developed a means of monetising the platform in 2018, for example, with functionality in its API to coincide with the release of a host of new tools.

Facebook claims that more than 175 million people message a WhatsApp Business account every day, and that they’re more likely to make a purchase after doing so than they were going to otherwise.

Although little detail is available on the nature of the new hosting services, or the partnerships Facebook will strike, the company says that it’ll gradually roll out its services over the coming months. Businesses will be able to use Facebook’s infrastructure to host its communications for free, with additional charges for services on top of the initial package.

Keumars Afifi-Sabet

Keumars Afifi-Sabet is a writer and editor that specialises in public sector, cyber security, and cloud computing. He first joined ITPro as a staff writer in April 2018 and eventually became its Features Editor. Although a regular contributor to other tech sites in the past, these days you will find Keumars on LiveScience, where he runs its Technology section.