WhatsApp is already working to implement ads in its iOS app, according to WABetaInfo, a reputable name when it comes to WhatsApp feature spottings and leaks. To recall, WhatsApp officials have previously confirmed that ads will be making their way to Statuses in 2019, leaving only a few months for an ad-free experience on the platform. WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton alleges Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had already talked about ads before acquiring the messaging app, though he did promise the co-founders no pressure for monetisation for the first 5 years.
According to a tweet thread by WABetaInfo on Thursday, “after viewing a certain number of statuses, WhatsApp might show an Ad.” The tweets also signify how WhatsApp told its users a blatant lie when it said that “absolutely no ads interrupting your communication” will be shown in its blog post after the Facebook acquisition back in 2014. Yet another WhatsApp blog post from 2012 is cited in the tweets which is essentially a explainer as to why the social messaging does not cater to advertisers. The post includes reasons like “disruption of aesthetics”, insults to your intelligence”, and “the interruption of your train of thought”.
It is not yet clear whether the ads appearing in Statuses will be targeted, as WhatsApp messages are encrypted — a huge obstacle for harvesting data to target ads at users. One workaround could be mapping the phone numbers — a user whose Facebook profile includes the phone number could be shown Status ads based on their Facebook activity.
WhatsApp Status, a feature borrowed from Snapchat’s Stories, recently hit the 450 million Daily Active User (DAU) mark as announced by CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the F8 developer conference in May this year. The ad model discussed above will likely be similar to the one currently offered on Instagram Stories, where users are shown an ad after a certain number of stories are played simultaneously. In fact, WhatsApp seems to have already started testing the ad feature with over 100 companies on board. These include names like Uber and Singapore Airlines. It was announced just a day ago that Facebook Stories and Messenger Stories will show advertisements soon.
Another way in which monetisation might be possible on WhatsApp is through WhatsApp for Business. The company last month announced that it would charge a fee from companies for late replies to customers and for sending notifications.