Facebook is preparing to put ads on WhatsApp as it looks for ways to monetize the messaging service that it paid around $21 billion to acquire in 2014. The social media giant has built an empire valued at nearly $500 billion on the back of strong advertising revenues and with WhatsApp, it will complete the trifecta of services that show advertisements. There have been multiple rumors and reports detailing WhatsApp’s proposed in-app advertisements but Facebook is confirming it for the first time. The company has announced that in-app ads are coming to the messaging service by 2020.
At the annual Facebook Marketing Summit in the Netherlands, the company announced that is bringing ads to WhatsApp. The slides detailing how ads will appear on WhatsApp were shared on Twitter by Matt Navara and Oliver Ponteville. These slides show that Facebook wants its users to communicate with business via WhatsApp, and the ad feature is being described as “Ads that click to WhatsApp (FB)”. The second plan involves Instagram where ads click to WhatsApp and it is dubbed as “Ads that click to WhatsApp (IG)”.
The third plan is bring native ads to WhatsApp and Facebook plans to display them in Status, just like it does with Instagram Stories. This is planned for 2020, according to the slides shared on Twitter. Facebook is also planning richer messaging formats for business, which already use WhatsApp Business to reach their customers. The slides shown at Facebook Marketing Summit also includes one previously shown at its annual developer conference F8 early this year. Facebook wants users to not only message businesses but also see their product catalog and see products before placing order.
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 (@MattNavarra) 21 May 2019
It is pretty much clear that Facebook not only sees WhatsApp as a platform to display ads but it sees as the only way to communicate with business. The company recently killed Direct, a standalone direct messaging service for Instagram. The move could be meant to bolster WhatsApp’s credentials as a messaging service while Instagram remains the hub for sharing photos/videos and do commerce. Facebook was initially rumored to bring banner ads to WhatsApp but these slides suggest the company is not planning any aggressive move there.
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While watching status from your friends on WhatsApp, Facebook plans to show ads from business where profile picture area for your contact will be replaced by that of an associated advert. Users will be able to swipe up to visit the advertisement or associated link, just like they do with Instagram Stories. After all the backlash, including from WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum, Facebook seems to have decided not to be overly intrusive with ads. As Facebook prepares to push ads to WhatsApp next year, the underlying question would be where these ads could break the end-to-end encryption that served as basis for WhatsApp’s success.