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WhatsApp’s one billion users welcomed the news last week that the messenger service has finally launched video calling on the platform.

The company statement announced on Tuesday 15 November: “Today we’re excited to announce the next step in our efforts to connect people – WhatsApp video calling.

“We’re introducing this feature because we know that sometimes voice and text just aren’t enough. There’s no substitute for watching your grandchild take her first steps, or seeing your daughter’s face while she’s studying abroad. And we want to make these features available to everyone, not just those who can afford the most expensive new phones or live in countries with the best cellular networks.”

It might seem a bit behind the times considering that other apps have been running similar features for some time. However, as the go-to app for messaging and group chat it could spell bad news for the likes of competitors Skype and Apple’s Facetime. It’s clear that the Facebook-owned app is gradually becoming a platform that provides its users with every feature that other social apps are offering. So, why would you use multiple apps for different features when WhatsApp covers everything you need?

This latest update follows the introduction of a feature that allows users to draw on images, similar to options on Snapchat, Instagram and iMessage, in October.

As social media apps go, WhatsApp is definitely one to watch. On the surface, it might not appear as progressive or as innovative as the likes of Snapchat, Facebook or Instagram, seemingly following in the footsteps of others. New features, like Facebook’s Live and Instagram’s stories, are popping up across messaging and social media platforms, so there’s a huge competition to stay ahead of the game.

However, it’s important to remember that the app is number one in emerging markets, which was one of the main factors for Facebook’s acquisition of the company in 2014. Facebook’s own Messenger service is a popular choice in developed countries, while WhatsApp’s is more popular and prominent in emerging markets. In fact, India is now WhatsApp’s largest market, with over 160 million monthly active users in the country.

So, what does this mean for marketing? With the company’s plan to integrate business services into its app before the end of the year, it’s only a matter of time before companies start using its latest features to market to the masses. Businesses are already using the app to communicate with customers and it’s been identified as a great tool to connect with existing and loyal customers. The scope for personalisation that WhatsApp offers makes it an ever-appealing tool to engage with customers in a creative and fun way.

Find out how Peppermint can shake up your social media channels, contact [email protected].