It was bound to happen, eventually. WhatsApp is going to start showing you ads.
Advertisements are coming to the messaging app’s Status feature, WhatsApp Vice President Chris Daniels. “We are going to be putting ads in ‘Status’,” said Daniels. “That is going to be primary monetisation mode for the company as well as an opportunity for businesses to reach people on WhatsApp.”
WhatsApp Status was rolled out on the app in February of last year. Status allows WhatsApp users to add encrypted text, photos, and video to their profile. Statuses delete after 24 hours. It’s a bit like a Snapchat Stories type feature in-line with the company’s similarly cloned Facebook and Instagram Stories.
In 2014, Facebook WhatsApp in a deal that is now — thanks to Facebook’s rising stock valuation — worth $22 billion. From the of the deal announcement, many questioned if WhatsApp could stay true to it’s mantra: “No ads. No games. No gimmicks.” WhatsApp’s founders Brian Acton and Jan Koum’s are notorious for their anti-advertisement stance and ultimately this point of contention is what led to Acton and Koum’s from the company.
The messaging app originally charged users a very nominal yearly fee in lieu of selling advertisements. When the deal was made to sell WhatsApp to Facebook, Acton and Koum specifically had a clause written in that gave the two exit options should the company ever decide to sell ads on the app. In 2016, Facebook , making WhatsApp completely free, which really should have sent the message that advertisements were inevitable.
Since the Facebook acquisition, WhatsApp has grown exponentially. Over 1.5 billion users around the globe currently use the app to send to send encrypted messages, photos, and videos at zero cost. With that sort of user base, it seems Facebook realized they were leaving just way money on the table.