Blog / WhatsApp Ads: How WhatsApp Chatstart Ads work for new customer acquisition

WhatsApp Ads: How WhatsApp Chatstart Ads work for new customer acquisition

BLog Header Image

By Johannes Mansbart


Last updated at: May 28, 2024

WhatsApp Strategy

WhatsApp Ads: How WhatsApp Chatstart Ads work for new customer acquisition.

In this blog post, we dedicate ourselves to the strategic consideration of not understanding WhatsApp marketing as retention marketing or classifying it in CRM, but also using it for new customer acquisition thanks to WhatsApp Chatstart Ads.

The use of WhatsApp as a communication channel along the user journey.

Thanks to WhatsApp Chatstart Ads, you can also use WhatsApp at the very beginning of the user journey of your customers. Another way of using WhatsApp for new customer acquisition is, apart from WhatsApp chatstart ads, for example QR code lead gen for offline, TV, or print promotion.

WhatsApp marketing is mostly classified in the CRM or retention marketing mix of the online marketing world. This is totally understandable because of the parallels to email marketing. 95% of WhatsApp marketing use cases focus on later steps in the user journey of your customers.

Most of the time, you have either already collected some WhatsApp leads, or you start building a "WhatsApp list" through WhatsApp lead gen. However, it is often forgotten, overlooked or ignored, and just not yet explored, that WhatsApp can also be used for new customer acquisition in an efficient and 100% scalable way. This happens through WhatsApp ads.

Checkout our official META Pixel Integration Documentation here and watch the video below:

Source: Chatarmin, Q1, 2024

Let's first take a look at the uses of WhatsApp as a communication channel along the user journey together. Those KPI's are what you can anticipate, along each step of your marketing funnel:

  • 50-80% more leads for mobile-first user journeys due to one-click chatstarts rather than email-form-fillins
  • 150-250% better lead enrichment as opposed to email, through WhatsApp welcome flows
  • 30d opening rates of 85%+ as well as click through rates of 25%+ and conversion rates of 2%+

Here is a graphical overview prepared for you:

Deploy WhatsApp along the entire user journey of your customers.

From leadgen to support to purchase to service and retargeting - A WhatsApp users' journey with your D2C brand.

Offline Leadgen for new customer acquisition.

Our retail customers such as BAUHAUS Austria or Nah&Frisch print the QR codes for lead generation on print advertising, or use them at trade fairs, on television, or in direct mailings. Such a QR code to the Leadgen looks at the example BAUHAUS Austria in such a way:

BAUHAUS Austria is a Chatarmin customer and uses WhatsApp as a leadgen to acquire new customers.

Source: BAUHAUS Österreich

An eCommerce WhatsApp marketing example is Spacies. The FMCG startup from Essen stands at CRO concerts with its wheel of fortune and only lets Cereal fans spin - and thus only gives those the chance to win prizes - who can prove on their cell phone that they have just joined the Spacies WhatsApp community.

Chatarmin customer Spacies uses WhatsApp chatstart as QR code to let customers spin wheel of fortune

Source: Spacies Instagram

WhatsApp Chatstart Ads for new customer acquisition.

A 100% scalable way to make new customer acquisition or ads retargeting "run on WhatsApp" looks like this: you don't embed a link to a website or a sales funnel as a CTA in the ads. Instead, embed a chatstart link as a CTA in the WhatsApp chatstart ad. This way, you can achieve favorable CPLs and save yourself a tedious, slow, and poorly converting user journey, in which up to 99% of the leads are lost.

What are WhatsApp Ads?

WhatsApp Ads are ads on Facebook or Instagram that are directly connected to your WhatsApp Business Account (WABA).

Leads can start a WhatsApp conversation with your business by clicking on the ad button.

WhatsApp Ads are therefore also called "click-to-WhatsApp ads."

From the moment the lead started the chat with you by just sending a pre-written first message, you saved their number in, as well as created their WhatsApp username.

This WhatsApp username is publicly available and is 85% first name and last name, 10% first name only, and 5% a pet name of the lead in question. From "Johannes Mansbart", to "Buschi", to "Dragonslayer27", we have already encountered everything here. It gets funny when you and your company address the customer personally.

Advantages of WhatsApp Ads

Low barrier to entry. Lowest possible effort with the greatest possible personal approach. Normally, WhatsApp users first have to save a new contact in the phonebook to start a conversation. The same applies in reverse for companies. The "Click-to-WhatsApp" principle simply skips this step.

Free customer conversations. Under WhatsApp's pricing model, user-initiated conversations usually cost around €0.07 and last 24 hours before being billed again.

However, if the customer starts the conversation by clicking on a WhatsApp ad, the first conversation is completely free - even for 72 hours.

To better understand this principle, feel free to read here the official pricing of META WhatsApp Business Ads - as well as "user initiated chat start conversations".

Lead Nurturing. Leads are unprepared and unqualified if you send them to your online store virtually cold. It's like you're being pushed into a store down the street. Via a WhatsApp chat, you can engage with your leads, explain the benefits of your products and only lead them to specific offers when they're ready for them. Much like engaging them in a conversation first via "social selling" principle before landing your sales pitch. You can read more about the Process inside of our WhatsApp Marketing Strategy Guide.

High ROI. The personal chat channel allows you to take your leads through a curated user journey. This makes the ROI on click-to-WhatsApp ads very competitive compared to "normal" ads. Furthermore, once saved, the lead is also suitable for lead enrichment through our native Klaviyo integration, as well as Shopify synchronization. Last but not least, you can always try to convert the lead at a later time via WhatsApp campaigns. The only costs you will incur for this are the "WhatsApp Business API" costs quoted and linked above, which are subject to a global standard catalog, and is the only WhatsApp marketing provider that does not charge extra on top of this.

Disadvantages of WhatsApp Ads

When "cold prospecting", the lead may be reluctant to send a WhatsApp message to trigger an automated welcome flow. If he doesn't, the lead can't be automatically created in your database.

Get started with WhatsApp Ads

1. Create your first WhatsApp Ads

In your WhatsApp business app, go to the Settings tab and tap on Business Tools.

You can also advertise directly from your catalog by going to the Settings tab of the WhatsApp Business app. Then tap on Catalog and tap on the item.

You are now one step closer to your first WhatsApp chat start ad.

2. Initiate your first WhatsApp ad

Tap on "advertise on Facebook".

To do this, tap on "create a new Facebook ad", and choose an image for your ad - either a product from your catalog or a photo or video on your device.

When you select your catalog, you must have created at least one pre-verified WhatsApp template. Because without a verified template, you are not allowed to trigger "business initiated conversations", which are 24-hour time slots that are triggered when you write to your customer via WhatsApp Business API.

You are now almost done with your first WhatsApp Chatstart Ads.

Chatarmin helps you to create your first WhatsApp Chatstart Ad under "Kampagnen" in your Facebook Business Manager.

3. Connect your WABA with your FB Ads account

Tap on "Continue to Facebook"

To do this, connect WhatsApp to your Facebook page, or create a page if you haven't already.

You must be the administrator of your page to connect it.

Confirm your page information and tap on "Connect WhatsApp".

Tap "Next" to create an ad.

Erstelle deine erste WhatsApp Chatstart Ad unter "Kamapgnen" in deinem Facebook Business Manager

4. edit and publish your WhatsApp Chatstart Ads

Scroll down and edit the text, budget, ad category, and audience information of your ad if needed. Now tap on "Publish."

Your WhatsApp Ads will now be reviewed before they are published.

Define from which page you want to run your first WhatsApp Ads.

5. review, adapt and scale your WhatsApp ads.

After your ad is successfully published, you can view the status and results of your ad in the app under "Manage Ads" in Facebook.

Definiere Details deiner Anzeige und skaliere deine WhatsApp Chatstart Ads zur Neukundengewinnung.

Define details of your first "click-to-WhatsApp-ads"

Get the best out of your WhatsApp chat start ads.

Of course, Angle and Hook Testing as well as Copy A/B Testing also pays off with WhatsApp Ads. The offer must also be well thought out. Because as described above, it's okay to offer a longer-term benefit for the lead if they join your WhatsApp list.

This could be "early access promotions", "limited drops" or "secret content" offers.

Because even if you don't convert your lead directly, they will remain in your WhatsApp Audience and can be targeted by you at any time via WhatsApp marketing campaigns.

all time analytics of facebook business manager provided by Jakob Strehlow, scaling WhatsApp ads for a Beauty D2C Brand

WhatsApp Case Study: Jakob Strehlow successfully scales WhatsApp Ads for D2C Brand in the beauty sector

We have a very special nugget for you from the ads account of the established paid social agency Jakob Strehlow. Jakob & Team successfully scaled WhatsApp Chatstart Ads with a beauty fashion brand.

FB Ads Account Insight by Jakob Strehlow: Chatstart Ads for a D2C Brand with Shopify & Klaviyo Techstack.

See here how Jakob Strehlow & Team successfully scaled WhatsApp Ads for a D2C Brand in the Beauty Industry. €58.00 AOV, high margins, juicy ROAS of over 3,000% over a long-term CLTV uplift.

30 days GA analysis WhatsApp Ads Case Study Jakob Strehlow Beauty Brand

Jakob also gave us insight into the Google Analytics of this D2C Brand with Shopify & Klaviyo Techstack. The account scaled well, the ROAS was juicy, the CLTV uplift clear. With Klaviyo enrichment through Chatarmin Welcome Automation, you have your perfect Klaviyo WhatsApp marketing setup for new customer acquisition via WhatsApp Chatstart Ads.

30 days Google Analytics for WhatsApp Chatstart Leads from a D2C Beauty Brand with Shopify & Klaviyo Techstack

All Time GA Analysis WhatsApp Ads Case D2C Brand with Shopify & Klaviyo Techstack

Not quite as profitable as the last 30 days - as of August 2023 - is the all-time performance of the WhatsApp Chatstart Ads of this Beauty D2C Brand with Shopify & Klaviyo Techstack as well as WhatsApp Business Account.

"The key to success was the angle testing of various creatives. These were produced by us." - Jakob Strehlow, August 2023

Ads with the goal "traffic" were played out on Facebook and Instagram. The numbers are impressive:

  • €65.34 AOV
  • 4.61% CVR of WhatsApp traffic
  • €3.01 per session
  • 4,232 sessions from 2,101 users
  • €12,740.61 revenue with €398.89 Adspent

WhatsApp Ads Audience and their performance in a Beauty D2C Google Analytics Account

WhatsApp Ads Pro Tip

You can of course embed different chat start links with unique "embedded customer messages" for different adsets with different angles. Based on this, you can also tag the lead with (dynamic) tags in Chatarmin and thus play out (hyper)personalized offers.

Alternatively, a curated user journey via dynamic or static chatbot is an option that allows you to perform both "lead enrichment" and customer analytics through a quiz funnel, and thus target personalized with your measurable WhatsApp marketing campaigns in the first as well as in later touchpoints.

If you're overwhelmed setting up WhatsApp Ads despite this blog post, feel free to follow the official META support documentation on "WhatsApp Chatstart Ads".

You can find out how best to go about it all in a 25-minute conversation with me, Johannes Mansbart, founder of

Book a slot