Chat app Telegram challenges Meta with the launch of new ‘Business’ features and revenue-sharing

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Messaging app Telegram is preparing to return connected Meta’s WhatsApp and Messenger pinch a caller group of features aimed astatine businesses arsenic good arsenic support for ad-revenue sharing. Officially launched this play aft an earlier announcement, Telegram Business introduces options for illustration a customized commencement page, positive nan expertise to group business hours, usage preset replies, greeting and distant messages, chatbots, tags for chats, and more.

Meanwhile, Telegram’s nationalist channels pinch astatine slightest 1,000 subscribers tin now make 50% of nan gross from ads shown successful their channels.

The features arrived conscionable a mates of weeks aft Telegram laminitis Pavel Durov told nan Financial Times successful an question and reply that he expected nan app, which now has complete 900 cardinal users, to go profitable by 2025.

Telegram Business is intelligibly portion of that push, starring up to a early IPO, arsenic it’s an offering that requires users to subscribe to nan paid Premium type to access.

Telegram Premium is simply a bundle of upgraded features that costs $4.99 per period connected iOS and Android and is besides disposable arsenic a three-month, six-month aliases one-year plan. (Premium tin beryllium purchased in-app, too, via nan @PremiumBot connected Android, Desktop and Mac. This comes astatine a discounted rate, arsenic Telegram doesn’t person to stock a committee pinch nan app stores.)

As of December 2022, Telegram Premium topped its first cardinal subscribers. In January 2024, Durov announced Premium had grown to 5 cardinal subscribers, aft reaching 4 cardinal conscionable nan period prior, indicating that subscriber maturation is accelerating.

Telegram Business will apt springiness Premium different bump arsenic it offers devices and features that tin beryllium utilized by business customers without needing to cognize really to code.

For instance, businesses tin take to show their hours of cognition and location connected a map, and shake hands customers pinch a customized commencement page for quiet chats wherever they tin take nan matter and sticker users spot earlier opening a conversation. Similar to features disposable connected WhatsApp, Telegram Business will connection “quick replies,” which are shortcuts to preset messages that support formatting, links, media, stickers and files.

Businesses tin besides group their ain civilization greeting messages for customers who prosecute pinch nan institution for nan first time, and they tin specify a play aft which nan greeting would beryllium shown again. They tin negociate their readiness utilizing distant messages while nan business is closed aliases nan proprietor is connected vacation.

Plus, nan businesses tin categorize their chats utilizing colored labels based connected what chat folders they’re in, for illustration delivery, claim, orders, VIP, feedback, aliases immoderate others that make consciousness for them.

In addition, businesses tin create links to chat that will instantly unfastened a Telegram chat pinch a petition to return an action for illustration search an bid aliases reserving a table, among different things. Business customers tin besides adhd Telegram bots, including those from different devices aliases AI assistants, to reply messages connected their behalf.

The institution said much features will rotation retired to Telegram Business successful early updates.

Durov already hinted astatine what these whitethorn include, having told nan FT earlier this period that Telegram intends to motorboat AI-powered chatbots for business users.

As a whole, nan features could present title into a marketplace wherever Meta’s apps for illustration Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp person a clasp connected business communication. Even Apple has only carved retired a mini niche successful this space, pinch its Apple Messages for Businesses, utilized by companies for illustration Shopify, Aramark, Four Seasons, Harry & David, Delta, American Express, Dish, Discover, Hilton, Lowe’s and Wells Fargo, West Elm, Kimpton Hotels, Vodafone Germany, and others.

Though entree to Telegram’s caller business features requires a Premium subscription, there’s nary further costs connected apical of that to alteration nan caller options. (They tin beryllium recovered nether Settings > Telegram Business successful nan app.)

Beyond monetizing done Premium subscriptions, nan institution generates gross done Telegram Ads; it recently announced advertisement gross sharing utilizing toncoin (a token connected nan TON blockchain). Now, nan institution has started nan revenue-sharing program, it said connected Sunday.

Previously Telegram experimented pinch nan TON blockchain to auction usernames and launched a crypto wallet successful each markets extracurricular nan U.S.