WhatsApp is reportedly working on bringing structured messages specifically for enterprise users. This will enable businesses to send direct messages to over one billion WhatsApp users. This new service could go live later this year.
Twitter tipster WABetaInfo has dug into WhatsApp's code to find many references to structured messages for business and 'enterprise'. According to the user's findings, these structured WhatsApp messages have several templates, the most notable one being the translation of these messages to the user's local language.
The tipster notes that WhatsApp could use the same JSON files concept that Facebook uses to manage its structured messages. These enterprise references were found in Windows Phone, Android, and iOS versions of existing WhatsApp app, cementing the fact it's being worked upon. Furthermore, the user says, same references were found on WhatsApp Web and the desktop version of WhatsApp also.
What this means is that WhatsApp Enterprise could launch soon, which means businesses could use this feature to send messages to their targeted audiences directly through WhatsApp. These messages could arrive via in-flight notifications or push notifications, and presumably, could be disabled if the user so prefers. Of course in the absence of any official announcement, this is all speculation at this point.
WhatsApp has said it wants to keep the service free of ads, so the expectation from such business integration would be to keep things relevant and useful. WhatsApp has even updated its Terms of Services to announce that this feature would be tested with a specific audience in the coming months:
The T&C page reads "We will explore ways for you and businesses to communicate with each other using WhatsApp, such as through order, transaction, and appointment information, delivery and shipping notifications, product and service updates, and marketing. For example, you may receive flight status information for upcoming travel, a receipt for something you purchased, or a notification when a delivery will be made. Messages you may receive containing marketing could include an offer for something that might interest you. We do not want you to have a spammy experience; as with all of your messages, you can manage these communications, and we will honour the choices you make".
While sending delivery status and shopping details all come in the realm of being useful, marketing messages are something that could be on the fence of being annoying ads. There'll be more clarity on how WhatsApp Enterprise will work once the testing phase begins.