WhatsApp has announced its decision to feature ads in the ‘Status’ feature – breaking the founder Brian Acton’s promise of not monetizing the platform through ads.
This controversial decision was announced at Facebook’s marketing conference. It is reported that Facebook ads will link to WhatsApp for helping people message the brands directly. The advertisements appearing in the ‘Status’ shall take up the whole window and viewers can ‘Swipe up’ to find out more about the advertisements.
Facebook, the parent firm of WhatsApp, confirmed that they are planning on featuring advertisements to monetize the application. It is also said that businesses can directly interact with their customers through chat windows with ‘richer message formats.’ This will include colorful backgrounds and customized product pages on WhatsApp. During the summit, a picture featuring a Facebook advert included an option that said ‘Open on WhatsApp.’
Here’s what Matt Navarra, a social media consultant and commentator tweeted about the latest updates to Whatsapp from Facebook’s annual marketing summit:
Coming Soon to @WhatsApp…
– WhatsApp Status (Stories) to get Ads in 2020
– WhatsApp for Businesses to get richer messaging format options
– WhatsApp product catalog to be integrated with existing Facebook Business Manager catalog
— Matt Navarra | 🚨 #StayAtHome (@MattNavarra) May 21, 2019
Much like Instagram, the advertisements on WhatsApp will pop up in while users browse status updates of other people. The advertisements will feature a swipe up option for users to gain more info or to purchase the particular product. WhatsApp launched an exclusive business version of its app in the name of ‘WhatsApp Business’ last year.
This new feature might benefit small businesses and online stores which do not have a fully functional e-commerce website as they can directly communicate and share product catalogs through WhatsApp messages.
With an End-to-End encryption feature in place, Facebook will be restricted from taking user data from WhatsApp chats to display advertisements and it may have to solely rely on diverting advertisements from Facebook to WhatsApp.
Facebook’s decisions regarding monetizing WhatsApp reveals the plans it had ever since the acquisition of both Instagram and WhatsApp. While Instagram acts as a platform for advertisers to display pictures and videos, WhatsApp is now going to act as a platform for direct communication between businesses and users.