Experimental 'Share-to-WhatsApp' button a huge hit withBuzzFeed readers

Before the sale went ahead with Facebook, WhatsApp seemed to have had a strong plan in place to become a power to reckon with. With 450 million users in tow, WhatsApp had decided to start becoming a platform, like Facebook and Twitter, a report has revealed.


Re/Code reports that WhatsApp was quietly experimenting with a different sort of platform last year that involved letting users share content from sites and apps privately on the messenger. Pretty much any website these days has a share tray placed strategically, urging users to connect their social networks to the website in order to share stories on them. Next to Facebook, Twitter and the other usual suspects, WhatsApp made and placed its own button.


The click-to-share on WhatsApp button may not be a common sight right now, but it does exist. Using the button on news articles or other website, you could share the page and information with your contacts or with a group chat privately, unlike the Facebook and Twitter options where it would be a public post. For now, the buttons are limited to services like BuzzFeed and Shazam, according to the report. The field gets narrower as the report says that the share-to-WhatsApp button is available on iOS only for now. Once you see something interesting on the services, you can hit on the WhatsApp icon and you will be shown a list of your contacts to share it with. Of course, this seems like a faster, cheaper and a more sensible option than sending the page over by SMS or email.


BuzzFeed’s President Jon Steinberg said that the click data accumulated by the website shows that the number of shares via WhatsApp have gone up. While there is no referral traffic to go by, it could be possible, like the report suggests, that the number of shares via WhatsApp have exceeded those via Twitter.


Post the integration of the WhatsApp share button on iOS in October, the shares have “doubled” in the last few months, BuzzFeed’s VP of Business Development, Ashley McCollum said. Next up for WhatsApp will be to come up with integration for mobile web and for Android. Of course, this tool will not be available for desktop websites, at least not any time soon.


Not just BuzzFeed and Shazam, photo-editor Aviary too has seen shares on WhatsApp equal those from Instagram. WhatsApp is now walking a tight rope of wanting to encourage sharing via the private messenger and avoiding spammy posts that could be a turn off. “We’re not interested in bombarding our users with ‘Hey, play this game, play this game, play this game.’ It gets annoying, it gets in the way of messaging, and it gets in the way of staying in touch with people who are important to you,” Jan Koum, WhatsApp CEO had said last year.


Now to see how Facebook’s purchase of WhatsApp will speed the process of turning the messenger into a platform.

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