After years of playing coy, Facebook is finally ready to show ads on WhatsApp. A vice president for the company says the messaging service will begin displaying ads alongside the Status feature.
During at an event in New Delhi, WhatsApp VP Chris Daniels referred to the ads as WhatsApp’s “primary monetisation mode for the company,” and that it would provide “an opportunity for businesses to reach people.” He didn’t give an official date as to when ads will be rolling out.
The report comes from The Economic Times, noting that the app has garnered 1.5 billion users globally thus far. There have been reports earlier this month that WhatsApp is planning to introduce ads as part of its service, which makes this news fairly unsurprising.
Media reports further say Facebook will be using its native advertising platform and will publish ads that could help users understand and participate in businesses using the messaging app.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Rushing To Throw Ads
Such ambitions have had serious consequences, however. For instance, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s bullish goal to monetize WhatsApp has driven away the company’s original cofounders. One of them, Brian Acton, said in a recent interview with Forbes that the CEO rushed to make the app profitable — to the point where he was willing to undermine the messaging service’s encryption features. WhatsApp, for the uninitiated, features end-to-end encryption, which makes sending messages secure.
“Targeted advertising is what makes me unhappy,” said Acton.
The place where ads will show up, the aforementioned WhatsApp Status, launched early last year as a Snapchat knockoff. It has since become incredibly popular, surpassing even Snapchat, from which it cloned the feature. Status, much like Stories, allows you to publish a combination of photos, videos, text, and other in-lay elements and share them with friends. These, like messages on Snapchat, are also encrypted. They’re also visible to a user’s contacts 24 hours before they disappear.
Ads coming to WhatsApp are no surprise. Questions about how Facebook plans to monetize the service have been ongoing since the app decided to drop its subscription fee in 2016. At the time, WhatsApp promised that users “can still count on absolutely no ads interrupting your communication.”
But as they say, times have changed. Again, its cofounders have now left, and Facebook also found a bunch of ways for the service to make money from businesses earlier this year.