Is WhatsApp the Next Big Content Distribution Platform?

In Tech Digest by Ingrid Süßmann

A leading German magazine on digital business, t3n, will now deliver their newsletters via WhatsApp. Could this model work for book publishers as well?

whatsapp-logo-iconBy Ingrid Süßmann

As of last week, t3n is using WhatsApp as a new channel to provide their 43,000 newsletter subscribers with the latest information. The magazine covers topics related to the digital economy — including business, marketing and internet technology — and t3n is all about delivering news rapidly. WhatsApp may just prove to be the right method for that.

WhatsApp is a mobile messaging service that allows users to send messages without paying for SMS through their mobile carriers. Facebook bought WhatsApp in February 2014 for $19 billion, a price that shocked many in Silicon Valley. WhatsApp boasts 800 million active monthly users and 30 million daily messages. With numbers like this, it’s no wonder that brands want to use WhatsApp to reach their customers.

t3n whatsapp subscribe

Of course, this unique platform requires brands to adapt their content, and t3n will reshape their news specifically for WhatsApp: messages will be more concise and subscribers will receive 1–2 news updates per day. Committed to obeying mobile standards, t3n will make it easy for readers to subscribe, pause or unsubscribe. To subscribe, readers just need to enter their mobile number into an online subscription form and add the number that comes up on the screen to their contacts. To pause the subscription, they just need to text the word “stop” and to start it again respectively the word “start”. Unsubscribing just requires users to send the message “delete all data”.

It will be interesting to see opening and click-through rates for this new method of delivering news. Via email, t3n newsletters see a 37% open rate and a 13% click-through rate.

For publishers, WhatsApp could offer some interesting possibilities, particularly when it comes to providing teaser content, serials and digital short stories — all paired with “click to buy” features. Quickly received, quickly read, quickly bought being the motto.

Being where your target group is and delivering your content where they it be read is essential to online marketing — not just for news media but for any company that wants to establish closer ties with customers.

About the Author

Ingrid Süßmann

Ingrid Süßmann is an IT Project Manager at Droemer Knaur in Munich, Germany. She previously worked as Author Relations Manager for neobooks, and has held various positions at Random House Germany and Carlsen Verlag. In addition to her work in book publishing, Ingrid is also a certified beekeeper and fan of baby donkeys.