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[Report] The State of WhatsApp Business Messaging

Marketers today need to become more efficient, finding new ways to do more with less. New channels like WhatsApp are one solution.

With 2 billion users, WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app.

WhatsApp Business offers a big opportunity to directly reach your audience, convert customers and grow lifetime value.

That’s why we ran a survey of 2700 people around the world to find out how messaging with a brand through WhatsApp impacts brand affinity, purchase choices, and customer experience.

Get the insights for free below on:

  • Customer experiences messaging with brands via WhatsApp 
  • Top reasons why customers message brands via WhatsApp 
  • Customer thoughts on purchasing more from brands that offer the option of messaging via WhatsApp
  • Breakdowns of regional trends in APAC, EMEA, MENA, SA, and NA
  • Tips for marketers looking for new customers on WhatsApp 

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Read the full ungated report below or save the PDF for later.

A Word From Our CEO

max koziolek pofile photo
Max Koziolek
Spectrm | CEO

How do customers like to connect with their favorite brands?

Marketers are finding it increasingly challenging to engage customers these days through traditional channels. News feeds are too cluttered, inboxes are too packed, and too much competition makes trying to get a customer’s attention difficult.

But what if a customer could message you like they’re messaging their friends and family? WhatsApp is an end to end encrypted messaging app used by 2 billion users worldwide, and allows users to send messages, photos, and videos as they connect with one another around the globe. Nothing grabs people’s attention more than their WhatsApp messages. So why can’t a brand connect in the same way with its customers?

In order to better understand how individuals are messaging with the brands they love on WhatsApp, we surveyed 2700 users from around the world. Do they enjoy messaging with a brand through WhatsApp? Does it improve their perception of the brand and drive them to purchase more from that brand? What do they feel brands could do to improve the messaging experience?

As marketing teams are challenged to become more and more efficient in an economic downturn, finding new channels to acquire customers and grow customer lifetime value is becoming a top priority. For those marketers looking for new customers in new channels, this report should provide you with everything you need to know about engaging customers through WhatsApp Business.

Key Findings

Here are seven insights we uncovered about customer conversations on WhatsApp:

57% regularly communicate with a brand on WhatsApp. Additionally, half of respondents have messaged with a brand between one and ten times. And these numbers go up in regions like Latin America and Asia-Pacific.

70% say messaging has positively impacted their perception of the company. Not only do customers feel more favorable after messaging with a brand, 66% have gone on to make a purchase after communicating with a brand on WhatsApp. 

They primarily message with product and service questions. Customers reach out to brands via WhatsApp to ask questions about a brand’s products and services. They also message for brand related questions, customer service complaints, and shipping or delivery questions.

“It’s fast” and “It’s convenient” are the top reasons why they message. Customers can get answers when they want by messaging on WhatsApp. Ways brands can improve the messaging experience include faster response time and better answers. 

69% of respondents are more likely to buy from a brand if there’s a WhatsApp option available. Brands can increase their customer loyalty and differentiate themselves from their competition by giving their customers the option to message them on WhatsApp.

64% are likely to spend more if they can communicate on WhatsApp. Brands can also increase their revenue and customer lifetime value by giving the option of messaging on WhatsApp.

Slow response rate was the number one reason for a negative experience. Additionally, 73% said their negative experience led them to not buy from the company, and 56% have abandoned a purchase because the company was too slow to respond to their inquiry.

Experiences Messaging with Brands via WhatsApp

2 billion users worldwide use WhatsApp to message one another, sending text messages, images, and audio around the world through a free app. WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app globally and enables users to message each other directly and within groups. Individuals can also message and have a conversation with their favorite brands on WhatsApp as well. But do customers like communicating with brands this way, and are they having a positive experience?

Half of respondents have messaged with a brand between one and ten times

How many times have our respondents messaged with a brand on WhatsApp? 49% have messaged with a brand between one to ten times. 18% have messaged with a brand between eleven to twenty times, 12% have messaged with a brand between twenty-one to thirty times, 6% have messaged with a brand between thirty-one to forty times, and 15% have messaged with a brand over forty times.

Is this consistent across global regions? Respondents from the US and Europe are messaging with brands via WhatsApp much less frequently than respondents in Asia-Pacific, North Africa and the Middle East, or Latin America.

whatsapp brand messaging report usage numbers

57% have regular communication with a brand on WhatsApp

Over half of respondents (57%) say that they’re regularly communicating with or receiving ongoing content and offers from a brand through WhatsApp.

Regionally, 75% of respondents from Latin America and 71% from Asia-Pacific are regularly communicating with brands and receiving ongoing content and offers from them. 63% of respondents from North Africa and the Middle East regularly communicate with brands. However, only 44% of European respondents and 42% of US respondents are regularly communicating with brands on WhatsApp.

whatsapp business messaging report regular whatsapp user chart

70% say messaging has positively impacted their perception of a company

70% say that their experience messaging with a company has positively impacted their perception of the brand. Only 5% say their perception was negatively impacted. 25%, however, said that messaging didn’t impact their perception of the brand.

Respondents from Latin America say messaging has positively impacted their perception the most (86%), followed by respondents from Asia-Pacific (82%) and North Africa and the Middle East (76%). Messaging on WhatsApp has positively impacted European respondents (67%) and US respondents (47%) the least, and these regions are most likely to say that messaging has no impact on their thoughts about the brand (29% for Europe, 46% for the US).

whatsapp report experiences using whatsapp

Product and service questions are the primary reason to message with a brand

Our respondents are primarily messaging with a company for product and service related questions (39%). They also message for brand related questions (11%), customer service complaints (11%), and shipping or delivery questions (11%). They use messaging less for asking about technical issues (9%), responding to discounts or promotional offers (9%), messaging for concierge support to buy a product (4%), or other (6%).

While respondents from the US and EU ask about products and services (34% and 37% respectively), they’re also messaging with technical issues (14% and 12% respectively). Respondents from North Africa and the Middle East and Latin America ask about products and services (38% and 49% respectively), but are also messaging about shipping and delivery questions (15% and 10% respectively).

whatsapp business statistics brand messaging report purpose of messaging

66% have made a purchase after communicating with a brand on WhatsApp

66% have made a purchase with a brand after communicating via WhatsApp within the past year. 34% have not.

Respondents from Latin America (89%), Asia-Pacific (78%), and North Africa and the Middle East (76%) said they have made a purchase after messaging with a brand. Respondents from the EU (54%) and the US (44%) were less likely to have made a purchase.

whatsapp report whatsapp purchase

For the 34% who did not end up purchasing, 40% didn’t feel comfortable purchasing after communicating with a brand

For those who have not made a purchase, 61% said they would still feel comfortable making a purchase after communicating with a brand on WhatsApp. 39% said they would not.

Globally, 76% respondents from Latin America said they’d still be comfortable making a purchase, while 56% of respondents from the US said they would.

whatsapp brand messaging report whatsapp purchase 2

Top Three Ways Customers Start WhatsApp Business Conversations

For those who started a conversation with a brand on WhatsApp, how did it begin? 

whatsapp report whatsapp business conversations

They also started a conversation through a link in an email (7%), Instagram story (6%), Google search ad (5%), other (4%), or QR code (3%).

Across regions, respondents aligned with how they start conversations on WhatsApp: through the website or through Facebook and Instagram.

whatsapp report start a whatsapp conversation

Summary

This section shows us that messaging on WhatsApp is a popular way customers like to connect with a brand. 57% have regular communication with a brand on WhatsApp, and that number rises to 75% in Latin America. Once the conversation has started, half of respondents have messaged with a brand between one and ten times.

When they do message with a brand — typically by hitting the “Contact us on WhatsApp” button on the company website — they’re mostly asking about product and service questions. Once they do connect, 66% have gone on to make a purchase with that brand.

When looking at global engagement, respondents from Latin America, Asia-Pacific, and North Africa and the Middle East have much more frequent interactions with brands on WhatsApp, are more likely to make purchases with a brand, and are more comfortable overall using it as a method through which to connect with brands. However, respondents in the US and Europe are using WhatsApp less to connect with brands.

Expectations When Using WhatsApp Business with a Brand

We know that respondents like interacting with brands through WhatsApp, and find that communicating with a brand in this way makes them more likely to purchase from the brand. However, do customers have expectations for how and when they want to communicate with a brand? And have negative experiences on WhatsApp impacted their experience of that brand?

Respondents are willing to wait for a response, or expect it within two minutes

When asked how long they’re willing to wait to receive a response from a brand, the largest segment (20%) replied that the length of time doesn’t matter as long as they get a reply eventually. This was followed by a preference for a one to two minute response time (19%), a three to four minute response time (15%), and a five to six minute response time (14%).

whatsapp report response wait time

69% of respondents are more likely to buy from a brand if they have a WhatsApp option available

69% of respondents say that they are more likely to buy from a company that offers the option to speak to them on WhatsApp over a company that doesn’t have that option. 31% said no, they wouldn’t be more likely.

Across regions, respondents from Latin America were much more likely (86%) to purchase from a company that offers messaging through WhatsApp, as were respondents from North Africa and the Middle East (76%) and Asia-Pacific (74%). Respondents from the EU (62%) and the US (56%) were less likely.

whatsapp report option to chat on whatsapp chart

64% are likely to spend more if there is a WhatsApp communication option

64% of respondents also said that they’re likely to spend more money with a company that offers the option to speak to them on WhatsApp over a company that doesn’t have that option. 36% said no, they wouldn’t be likely to spend more.

Across regions, respondents from Asia-Pacific were much more likely (79%) to spend more from a company that offers messaging through WhatsApp, as were respondents from Latin America (77%) and North Africa and the Middle East (69%). Respondents from the EU (52%) and the US (50%) were less likely.

whatsapp report spend more via whatsapp chart

28% have had a negative experience when communicating with a brand via WhatsApp

72% said they have not had a negative experience with a brand while communicating on WhatsApp. However, 28% say they have.

Respondents from North Africa and the Middle East (34%), Latin America (33%), and Asia-Pacific (32%) were more likely to have had a negative experience with a brand on WhatsApp Business — likely because of their high frequency of use. Respondents from the US (25%) and EU (17%) were less likely to have had a negative experience.

whatsapp brand messaging report negative experience

Slow response rate was the number one reason for a negative experience

For those who have had a negative experience, why?

whatsapp report reason for negative experience chart

Respondents from all regions had the same top complaints: the response rate was too slow, followed by the fact that they weren’t able to get their question answered.

whatsapp brand messaging report reason for negative experience chart 2

73% said their negative experience led them to not buy from the company

For those who had a negative experience with a brand via messaging, 73% didn’t make a purchase from that company. 

Respondents across all regions agreed that a negative experience would cause them not to purchase from that company (UA 75%, Asia-Pacific 73%, EU 72%, North Africa and the Middle East 72%, and Latin America 71%).

whatsapp report consequences of negative experience chart

56% have abandoned a purchase because the company was too slow to respond to their inquiry

56% of respondents say they have abandoned a purchase from a company because the company was taking too long to reply to a question. 44% said they haven’t abandoned a purchase because of wait time.

Respondents from Latin America (66%), Asia-Pacific (60%), and North Africa and the Middle East (57%) were more likely to abandon a purchase than respondents from the US (56%) and the EU (48%).

whatsapp report abandon purchase because slow response chart

Faster response and better answers are the top improvements respondents would make

How would respondents improve their messaging experience?

whatsapp report improve messaging experience chart

Across regions, all respondents had “faster responses” and “more helpful answers” as their top two, though sometimes in a different order.

What about the respondents above who answered “wait time doesn’t matter, as long as I get a response”? For this question, the majority of that segment believed more helpful answers would improve the experience — they’re willing to wait, but they better get the answers they need.

whatsapp report improve messaging experience chart 2

Summary

In Part 1, we learned that our respondents like to message brands through WhatsApp, and generally have a positive experience when doing so. 66% have gone on to make a purchase after their interaction. However, customers have expectations when they’re messaging with a brand, as our respondents talked about here. 

Brands should offer a WhatsApp option to their customers, as 69% of respondents said they are more likely to buy from a brand if they have a WhatsApp option available. Additionally, 64% said they are likely to spend more if there is a WhatsApp option as well.

But brands need to have an efficient process in place for responding when customers message them. Of the 28% of respondents who had a negative experience when communicating with a brand via WhatsApp, a slow response rate was the top reason the experience was negative, followed by the fact that they couldn’t get their questions answered.

And that experience will have an impact on the brand, as 73% said their negative experience led them to not buy from the company, and 56% have abandoned a purchase because the company was too slow to respond to their inquiry. Ultimately, brands need to make sure that they are quick to respond and have the answers customers are looking for.

Plans for the Future

Using WhatsApp is a favorite way to interact with a brand, have a conversation about products and services, learn more about the brand, and create a personal connection overall. Do our respondents plan to continue interacting with brands on WhatsApp? If so, do they plan to do so in a different way than they have been?

Speed and convenience are top drivers for why they like to communicate with a brand via WhatsApp

If respondents are going to communicate with a brand through WhatsApp, why would they?

whatsapp report reason for communicating via whatsapp chart

Respondents around the globe all said it was faster, followed by it’s more convenient, except for respondents in the US, who preferred convenience over speed.

whatsapp report reasons for communicating via whatsapp chart

They prefer to connect with a brand via a WhatsApp Business button on the website

For those who want to start a conversation with a brand, what would be their preferred method?

whatsapp report preferred method for communicating via whatsapp chart

Across regions, respondents aligned with how they start conversations on WhatsApp: through the website, by having the phone number, or through Facebook and Instagram ads.

whatsapp brand messaging report preferred way for communicating via whatsapp chart

Top Five Miscellaneous Reasons to Use Messaging

Other than customer support, how do respondents want to use messaging on WhatsApp?

whatsapp report reasons to use messaging chart

Respondents around the globe all wanted help finding products based on their unique preferences and needs first, except for respondents in the US, who preferred getting personalized offers and coupons.

whatsapp report reasons to use messaging chart

Summary

Why do customers like to message with a brand through WhatsApp? It’s fast and it’s convenient. They can start a conversation and get a response almost immediately, and can message when and how they want. As we saw above, they like messaging brands with questions about products and services. But they also want to use messaging to find products that will fit their unique needs, to receive personalized offers, and to learn more about what a brand stands for.

While respondents say they’ll still connect with a brand through a button on their website, they also want to connect with a brand by knowing its phone number — like having a friend or family member’s information stored in their contacts.

Marketing Takeaways for Customer Interactions on WhatsApp Business

It’s clear that customers are interested in messaging brands on WhatsApp, and those conversations can lead to higher customer engagement and more sales for the brand. Why should marketing teams leverage WhatsApp Business?

To build brand affinity. Engaging customers on WhatsApp Business creates a strong positive impact on brand perception. 70% say messaging with a company has positively impacted their perception. When it’s fast and convenient, and they can get their questions answered, people want to communicate with brands on WhatsApp Business.

To influence purchase decisions. WhatsApp Business has a big influence on purchase decisions. People will choose your brand over competitors, as 69% of respondents said they’re more likely to buy from a brand if they can interact on WhatsApp. Additionally, 64% are likely to spend more if you offer WhatsApp Business communication. You can gain a competitive advantage by positively differentiating your brand from competitors with a better WhatsApp Business experience.

To open a new marketing channel. WhatsApp Business offers a new channel to engage and convert customers by building a directly reachable audience you can continuously monetize. It also allows you to reach out with personalized offers and coupons — one of the top things respondents want a brand to message them with. You can drive sales by segmenting customers based on their preferences and sending personalized follow-up offers. First movers will gain a competitive advantage and brands are currently missing out on many opportunities to grow their audience.

Five Takeaways for Marketers

If you want to begin using WhatsApp Business, or improve your interactions with your customers on WhatsApp, here are five steps to take today.

  1. Be where your customers are on WhatsApp Business.

WhatsApp Business builds brand affinity and differentiates you from competitors. It also has a significant positive impact on brand perception and purchase decisions. Customers are more likely to buy from you versus a competitor, and more likely to spend more if you offer WhatsApp Business communication.

  1. Automate your WhatsApp Business conversations to ensure a positive experience and enable you to optimize.

As we saw above, slow response rates will negatively impact perception of your brand and the messaging experience. However, automation enables you to structure and act on the zero party data you capture in chat. By automating your WhatsApp Business communication, you can use structured data to quickly test and learn in order to improve your customer experience and conversion rates.

  1. Offer assistive conversational commerce experiences.

Guide customers to help them find products and services suited to their personal needs and preferences. Automate answers to frequently asked pre-purchase questions in order to convert your audience faster. Customers are also willing to share personal data with you when they are directly communicating with your brand in an encrypted messaging channel. Use that data to personalize their experience and recommend relevant products.

  1. Use WhatsApp Business to grow a directly reachable messaging audience you can segment, re-engage, and continuously convert.

Using one-to-one messaging allows you to provide ongoing value to grow your customers’ lifetime value — like sending push notifications from WhatsApp Business to opted-in users. Use zero-party data shared in chat to segment your audience and nurture them with personalized offers and updates on topics they care about. These notifications will show on phone lock screens for the majority of users, since they use WhatsApp Business every day to communicate with friends, family, and increasingly businesses. WhatsApp Business can quickly become your best performing remarketing channel.

  1. Grow your audience faster with multiple entry points.

Most brands are currently reactive. They only use their “Contact us” website page to trigger conversations with customers and are not taking advantage of all the ways they can proactively connect with customers on WhatsApp Business. However, marketers can and should use multiple entry points to quickly grow their reachable messaging audience via WhatsApp. Entry points trigger a conversation between your brand and a customer on WhatsApp Business. Some examples of entry points are using a WhatsApp Business “Message us” button on Facebook pages and Instagram stories and profiles, running “Click to WhatsApp” ads on Facebook and Instagram, adding site extensions to organic and paid search results, inserting WhatsApp links on your website or in your emails, and even putting QR codes on product packaging and out of home advertising.

Conclusion

The future of marketing is conversational. As we’ve seen above, WhatsApp is a fast growing channel through which customers want to engage with the brands they love. And brands who leverage one-to-one messaging through WhatsApp Business already know that their audience is there waiting for them — and ready to purchase from them as well.

As marketers are challenged to become more efficient, finding new ways to do more with less, WhatsApp Business offers a major opportunity. First movers in the space will reap outsized rewards as they differentiate themselves from competitors and win the race for better customer experience.

Who We Surveyed: Methodology and Participant Demographics

In order to provide greater context around these findings, here are more details on who we surveyed and the methodology used. Starting on August 30, 2022, we surveyed 2700 people from around the world who use WhatsApp. The survey was conducted online via Pollfish using organic sampling. Learn more about the Pollfish methodology here.

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