Starting next year WhatsApp will display advertisements in the Status section, a feature it calls Status Ads.
Digital marketing agency Be Connect’s head of media, Olivier Ponteville, tweeted the announcement which was made at the Facebook Marketing Summit in the Netherlands this week. Facebook is the parent company of WhatsApp.
The ads will take up the whole screen and like Instagram Story ads, users can get more information by swiping up. And just like with Instagram stories, WhatsApp’s Status feature lets users broadcast text, photos and videos that will disappear after 24 hours.
He also revealed that Facebook and Instagram ads would connect users to the advertiser’s WhatsApp account if they wished to chat with the company.
Social Media industry tipster Matt Navarra corroborated, tweeting that WhatsApp Status will get adverts by next year.
He also tweeted that WhatsApp for Businesses will get richer messaging formats like images with text and PDFs with text, which are already available for standard users.
WhatsApp’s product catalogue will also be integrated with the existing Facebook Business Manager catalogue, allowing businesses to message potential customers about a product and show its catalogue. For businesses, the name of the company will be shown instead of the name of the contact in the conversation.
WhatsApp has more than 1.5 billion global users and has been ad-free for about 10 years, although it did experiment with an annual subscription fee several years ago.
Facebook acquired WhatsApp five years ago for US$19bil (RM79.47bil) and it appears that it’s finally trying to monetise the company’s app.
WhatsApp first announced its intention to display ads in the status section last November – its vice president Chris Daniels said it will be a primary monetisation mode for the company.