How To Create And Use Whatsapp Ads

Picture of WhatsApp logos linked together
Picture of WhatsApp logos linked together

For any business, advertising is a crucial element of its marketing strategy. And there are a number of search engines and social media platforms that businesses can leverage when executing advertising campaigns, but WhatsApp, in particular, is becoming an increasingly popular option for marketers looking to directly engage their audiences.

The Facebook-owned application has around two billion users across the globe, and those users send more than 60 billion messages via WhatsApp daily — a large portion of which are being sent by consumers to brands directly. The platform's active user base presents a great opportunity for businesses looking to run advertising campaigns that can reach a global audience.

But, before we go any further there is something you need to know about WhatsApp advertising, and that is that you can't actually advertise within WhatsApp directly. Nope, you can't place a banner display ad in a conversation or on the main screen that provides an overview of all of a user's conversations. Facebook wanted to launch ads directly into the interface of user conversations, but users weren't too excited about it and the project was disbanded before it was scheduled to launch in 2020.

However, that doesn't mean you can't carry out ad campaigns within the personal messaging app at all. Using Facebook, Inc.'s other social media platforms Facebook and Instagram, you can run click-to-message ads that direct people that click on the "Send Message" CTA from Facebook or Instagram to WhatsApp. Here's an example of how that transition works:

A click-to-message ad in Facebook that opens a conversation in WhatsApp

These WhatsApp adverts are a great way to engage your audience in a conversation around your brand. And, chances are that you are already running ads on either Facebook or Instagram, so changing the CTA on a few of those ads could be an interesting A/B test to run. We'll explain more about how you can begin incorporating WhatsApp into your Facebook marketing and social media advertising strategies below.

Table of Contents

How to Start a WhatsApp Advertising Account

As we mentioned above, you can advertise directly on WhatsApp yet. However, when building ads for either Facebook or Instagram, you have the option of sending people that click on those ads directly to WhatsApp. By including a "Send Message" button on your integrated ads on Facebook and Instagram, it will start a conversation within your WhatsApp Business app. By adding this button, WhatsApp users and customers can instantly chat with the business — and these types of conversational ads are becoming increasingly popular.

Let's walk through the process involved in building ads connected to WhatsApp.

1. Connect Your Ad account: First and foremost, you'll need a WhatsApp Business account if you want to begin running ads that drive people to WhatsApp. You can get access to one by either downloading the WhatsApp Business app or using the services of one of the company's partners that is connected to the platform via the WhatsApp Business API.

2. Link Your WhatsApp Account to Your Facebook Account: Now that you have a WhatsApp Business account, you'll want to connect it to your Facebook Page. Facebook will verify your details before linking the WhatsApp account to your business. Connecting the two accounts allows you to analyse your traffic and access other advertising metrics associated with the success of your WhatsApp adverts campaign. Without the verification process or connection, you cannot view the plethora of metrics and analytics to optimize your strategies or run click-to-message ads connected to WhatsApp.

3. Select Your Ad Objective: Through the Ads Manager function on Facebook, you can start building your ads under Ads Creation. The first thing you'll need to do is choose an objective for your WhatsApp adverts campaign.

A screenshot from Facebook Business Manager explaining how to build ads on WhatsApp

Facebook has sorted WhatsApp ad objectives into two categories because the process of building the actual ad varies slightly depending on the objective you choose.

  • Category 1: Ad campaigns with Traffic, Website Conversions, or Messages objectives
  • Category 2: Ad campaigns with Reach, Brand Awareness, Engagement, or Video Views objectives.

By having a clear objective for your WhatsApp adverts, you'll be able to more easily measure the success of your campaigns.

4. Build Your Ad: According to Facebook, here are the steps involved in creating an ad on WhatsApp based on the first category of ad objectives (Traffic, Website Conversions, or Messages):

  1. After your objective has been selected, set your campaign budget.
  2. Click Next.
  3. Then, select Click to Message under Ad Type.
  4. In the Messaging Apps section, select WhatsApp.
  5. Set the parameters around your Audience, Placements, Budget, and Schedule.
  6. Click Next.
  7. Select your ad format and complete your ad setup.
  8. Click + Create to create your flow.
  9. Click Save and Finish when you've completed.
  10. Click Publish to publish your ad.

If you chose any of the objectives in the second category (Reach, Brand Awareness, Engagement, or Video Views), then this is the process you'll want to follow:

  1. After your objective has been selected, set your campaign budget.
  2. Click Next.
  3. Set the parameters around Audience, Placements, Budget, and Schedule
  4. Click Next.
  5. Under Links, click Add Website URL.
  6. Add the URL of your business website.
  7. Under Call to Action, select Send WhatsApp Message.
  8. Select your Page with the WhatsApp number connected on the drop-down menu.
  9. Click Publish to publish your ad.
People texting on WhatsApp

Selecting the Audience for Your WhatsApp Adverts

Knowing your audience is an important factor in building a successful WhatsApp adverts campaign. There are three types of audiences you can choose between within your WhatsApp Business account to ensure the best results for your targeted campaigns.

The three types of audiences you can target are saved audiences, custom audiences, and lookalike audiences.

Where you place your ads will also influence who sees your advertisement, and there are several ways to place your ads within the Facebook ecosystem. Primarily, there are spaces dedicated to advertising on the Facebook News Feed, Instagram Feed, Facebook Marketplace, and Instagram Explore. The ads will directly link your WhatsApp Business account to these ads.

Tip: Keep an eye out for new ways to integrate ads on other formats such as Instagram Stories with WhatsApp in the future.

Another option is to place the ad in the Facebook Search field. This way it reaches anyone searching for a particular product and redirects them to a conversation in WhatsApp that you can manage via your WhatsApp Business account. Despite the limited options for placement, all of the Facebook-owned products are becoming more integrated and there will certainly be more advertising opportunities that arise in the future.

Colourful light bulbs side by side

Multimedia on WhatsApp Ads

There are so many multimedia options for you to choose between when launching an ad campaign that is connected to WhatsApp. Within the messaging platform, you can share various formats of media such as video, GIFs, audio, PDFs, and even Microsoft Office documents (even though the probability of your business sharing an Excel file with a customer is highly unlikely!).

But if you want to create campaigns that leverage all of Facebook's suite of products (Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp), well then there are three formats that work across all platforms:

Carousel:

This is the best option for your business when you have a catalogue of products. Scrolling through your products will give customers the ease of selection and an array of choices.

Images:

Great for a campaign poster or sharing important information on products and services.

Videos:

Videos can be an effective way of catching your audience's attention since they'll likely notice (and be drawn to) the movement on the screen.

Given the fact that organic reach has been in decline for several years across the major social media platforms, running social media advertising campaigns is an effective way of getting your brand's message in front of your ideal customers. And if you want those people that see your ads on Facebook or Instagram to actually message you, the running ads that click through to WhatsApp in Ads Manager is something you may want to consider when building your social media advertising strategy.