Is WhatsApp Marketing Worth It?

Is WhatsApp Marketing Worth It?

Is WhatsApp Marketing Worth It?

Wonder no longer. In this article, will unpack the black box that is WhatsApp marketing performance and provide you with the tool to assess its potential.

What we'll cover today

Should I run campaigns on WhatsApp? Seems like a simple back-of-the-napkin CPA calculation. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been that straightforward so far.

Up until now, accurate data on open and engagement rates have not been accessible to the public.

And as you start putting things together, you’ll soon come to realize there are various factors that play a role  in forecasting what you can expect. Are you running inbound or outbound campaigns? What countries are your subscribers in? And what does “quality” content mean?

Wonder no longer. In this article, will unpack the black box that is WhatsApp marketing performance and provide you with the tool to assess its potential.

We’ll cover four ways conversational marketing can help increase the returns on marketing investments:

  • Through expanded reach

  • By improving data capture for better personalization

  • By increased conversion and engagement rates

  • By facilitating expedited experimentation speed

We’ll further dig into specific examples, establish benchmarks to work off of, and provide a template ROI calculation to see if conversational marketing is the right investment for your business at this moment.

Let’s dive right in.

Expand your reach

While it does not directly affect your cost per conversion, we have to highlight the reach WhatsApp offers.

As the primary communication channel in many countries across the world, WhatsApp’s scale is unrivalled. Over 2 billion people across 180 countries use WhatsApp every month, with 70% of them checking the app daily.

WhatsApp offers great adoption across demographics and countries making it a great channel for all sorts of businesses.

Capture better data

Conversational marketing also helps you prepare for the future.

With Google planning to phase out third-party cookies, the way we are used to market will stop working. 

By the end of 2024, most of the signals from third-party tracking will no longer exist. So businesses that rely solely on third-party cookies to personalize consumers’ experiences are at risk of losing their competitive edge.

So, how can companies continue their personalization efforts in a cookie-less era? 

The answer is customer-first data, information collected directly from customers. 

Through conversations, WhatsApp gives you a direct entry point to consumers’ mobile phones. 

Marketers can ask questions and collect data directly from their customers. These can, for example, be qualification questions to better understand your customer's preference, but also opt-ins to ensure you can keep re-engaging customers with proper consent. 

The details of the conversation can be further enriched with past consumer behavior like transactions and product usage to create a complete picture of the customer. With an accurate view of their customers at hand, businesses can develop better segmentation restulting in more relevant engagement and in turn higher conversions.

Aside from data collected in your conversations, WhatsApp provides all messages with read receipts. This means 100% accurate open rates directly from the source (unlike what you might be used to in other channels).

OVO Energy, one of the UK's leading utility companies, for example, increased their marketing opt-ins by 128% when prompting their customers after a good experience.

Increase conversions and engagement

Leverage higher open rates

WhatsApp is a channel that is generally used for communication with your closest friends and family. But now that it has opened up to marketers, it presents us with a wealth of untapped potential. 

There is not a lot of competition on the channel yet, and in order to comply with channel guidelines, businesses need to uphold a high level of quality. Together this results in very high open rates.

How high can these open rates get?

The baseline open rate we see on WhatsApp is 58%. In other words, if you do nothing and move your email campaigns to WhatsApp, you can expect about a 2x+ uplift in terms of opens.

You can improve this by working on your targeting and ensuring your messages are expected, timely, and relevant. After optimization, we often see open rates in the high 70s.

For Matahari, a leading eCommerce platform that sent tens of millions of promotional messages that materialized to around 2.5x the conversion rate they saw from emails. 

Increase engagement with media-rich and interactive content.

WhatsApp allows you to interact with customers uniquely through its rich set of interactive media formats.

Supplementing your basic text messages with interactive content formats like images, videos, carousels, stickers, and buttons allows you to create experiences that captivate consumers and stand out from a sea of advertisers. 

So what kind of engagement can you realistically expect? 

For interactive outbound campaigns, we generally see down-funnel conversion improvements anywhere in the range of 3x-10x compared to email. This largely depends on the level of personalization of the content and friction in the conversion funnel. 

For inbound messages, the numbers look slightly different.

Inbound messages already indicate a certain degree of quality which results in very high conversions. In one campaign example offering sticker packs and Burger King coupons, Amazon Prime Video realized a 97% click-through rate across 70k engaged users.

Speed up experimentation

More than half of CMOs invested in long-form digital efforts like SEO, influencer marketing, and content marketing. While these channels can lead to long-term positive results, they often take time to materialize. Shrinking budgets mean marketers will also have to run experiments that show impact in the short term.

A big plus of conversational marketing is that building an MVP is straightforward. When you’ve come up with your idea, you can build out your first campaign in a couple of minutes. 

And the results come in fast. 

In the case of a broadcast campaign (where you send out a bulk WhatsApp campaign to a list of numbers), you can expect results to reach significance in the next hour or so. In the case of an automated ongoing campaign, it can take a bit longer, depending on the volumes.

On top of that conversational channels like WhatsApp offer a very low barrier to entry which makes them very suited for low-risk experimentation. You pay as you go, and it does not require complex setups or budget commitments. 

How to calculate the ROI of conversational marketing

If you can estimate you target audience size WhatsApp onversation-based pricing makes the cost of your campaigns very predictable. There are just a couple of things to consider.

The first is whether your campaign starts inbound (through a user-generated message) or outbound (through a business-generated message). 

User-generated messages are initiated by the customer to kickstart a conversation with a business and don’t require the customer to opt-in. 

Think return or refund requests, general inquiries, product availability requests, delivery inquiries, and statement requests. You have a 24-hour window to answer this type of message without incurring a fee per message.

Business-generated messages are initiated by businesses and directed at the customer and require the end-user to opt-in.

Business-initiated messages can cost as low as $0.015 in North America and as high as $0.14 in Western Europe. We recommend establishing a country-specific Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) to use as a benchmark for your conversational marketing campaigns.

Here are some things to consider as you establish your own benchmarks:

  • How many people are you targeting?

  • What is your conversion rate?

  • What is the engagement rate?

  • What is your click-through rate? 

  • What is your conversion rate? 

These metrics will depend on your industry, who you’re selling to, and how good your content and offers are. It’s paramount that you gather this data yourself eventually But until then, to enable you back of the napkin calculation, here are some baseline outbound metrics to get you to a rough estimate:

  • 70% engagement rate 

  • 15% click-through rate

  • 5% conversion rate

Armed with these metrics, these are the calculations you can run to establish the ROI of your WhatsApp marketing efforts:

  • Total Messages (x) Message Cost = Total Cost

  • Total message count (x) Engagement Rate (x) Conversion Rate = Total Conversions

  • Total Cost / Total Conversions = Cost Per Conversion

  • Total Conversions (x) Value Per Conversion = Campaign Value

  • Campaign Value / Total Cost = ROI

Here are a couple of examples for running the numbers on your WhatsApp investment: 

Say ACME corp is sending 250k messages across two countries with varying open and click-through-rates calculating the cost per conversion allows them to compare against their LTV to understand if the channel is worth the investment.

Long story, short: WhatsApp is an untapped channel, promising new reach and cost-effective marketing campaigns for new players who get it right.

Just remember: quality and creativity in the campaign make all the difference in your ROI.

Get a custom ROI calculation and campaign advice

As you made it to the end of the article, you can see many things that influence the potential ROI of your WhatsApp campaigns.

If you are looking for some help navigating your ROI calculation or need inspiration on how to improve the quality of your campaigns, please don’t hesitate to reach out, and we’d be happy to plan a working session where we can answer all your questions.

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The right message -> to the right person -> at the right time.

By clicking "See Bird" you agree to Bird's Privacy Notice.