Akshit Pushkarna

Sharechat users to become "brand messengers" on WhatsApp

ShareChat enables brands to advertise on WhatsApp-shared content starting August 15. Gaurav Jain, head-emerging business, ShareChat, explains 'WhatsApp Branded Shares'.

Around 487 million Indians interface with Meta's messaging platform WhatsApp daily to stay or get in touch with others. The platform is not restricted to just conversations though as it allows users to dabble into other things that many social media platforms might offer. People routinely take to WhatsApp stories to share something they deem their contacts might find interesting.

Gauging an opportunity here, Indian social networking service platform ShareChat introduced a one-click WhatsApp share feature for the content it hosts some time ago. Gaurav Jain, head of emerging business, ShareChat and Moj, points out that the sharing content on WhatsApp became a core behavior for ShareChat users over the years.

He elaborates that this entails ShareChat users sharing a piece of content, which could be a video, a GIF, or just a quote, with their contacts on WhatsApp either directly or through their stories. 

A lot of new users recall app after seeing a message with the ShareChat logo on a WhatsApp status or in a group.

"We have been using this core behaviour to drive more downloads of ShareChat or Moj. Our users on a daily basis share about 35 million content pieces on WhatsApp. During the festive season, this number sometimes jumps to 100 million. Once the content lands in the WhatsApp universe, our estimates are it is then further shared about 25 times," he informs.

Pondering how this trend could be utilised further, the business team of ShareChat decided to offer this WhatsApp share service to marketers. Jain says that the key idea behind the move was "What if a brand could leverage the pieces of content that are being shared on WhatsApp daily."

This led the company to introduce "WhatsApp Branded Shares" in April 2023 in a limited way, which it called the 'Beta phase'. Since its introduction, the platform onboarded only a select few brand advertisers for this product. After testing the waters for about four months, the feature is scheduled for a wide release on August 15. 

The company decided on the Independence day for the product's full fledged release as it is a day when these shares are comparatively high. 

Branded Shares’ first campaign went live in April. Subsequently, ShareChat ran campaigns for brands in the media and entertainment industry, gaming, devotion, fintech companies, and some government agencies, among others.

Jain details that advertisers can reach out to their target audience across the country now. A brand integration can be placed before or after the content. It can either be in the form of a GIF banner, a video or it can be a static image. The pre-roll video ads can be up to five seconds long. Post-roll videos can be up to 20 seconds long. 

“I would call it a pivotal moment in the monetisation journey of not only ShareChat, but publishers across the globe. ShareChat users will now become brand messengers. Branded Shares is driving meaningful results for us,” he exclaims.

Branded as India's language first video platform, ShareChat is more popular with people from tier-II and tier-III cities. Jain says that about 65 per cent of the platform’s user base hails from non-metro areas.

The brand is looking to leverage this phenomenon with the feature and looks to execute hyperlocal campaigns on WhatsApp. Jain elaborates that the company is currently in talks with a popular agarbatti company. The company will be using WhatsApp branded shares for users only in Karnataka.

The brand is also working on utilising this feature to execute nation-wide campaigns as well.  “For the upcoming Asia Cup, they want to target users across the country. For this, people who are receiving ShareChat on WhatsApp would see a post-roll video of the gaming company, with a call to action offer app download,” he adds.

The WhatsApp Branded Share product outlay is scheduled to go live on the company’s website today. To get the word out, ShareChat will be executing campaigns about this and marketing outreaches.

The company is planning to make case studies about the campaigns that were executed by WhatsApp in its beta phase public.

“We will run some of our branding messaging on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn, among other digital platforms. The call to action will be to our landing page of ads.sharechat.com. The website will give a detailed description of the product to interested advertisers,” Jain says. 

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