A new tweet from industry insider Matt Navarra shows how Facebook will become more aggressive in monetizing WhatsApp through a wider rollout of Status Ads and improvements in WhatsApp for Business.
Since last year, reports emerged that WhatsApp will roll out what it calls as Status Ads. When the report first emerged, there were very few details that detail how the messaging platform will implement advertisements.
However, an image shared by Navarra shows that advertisements will appear like Instagram Stories, wherein the ad fills up the entire screen. The chat platform will indicate which of the Stories is a sponsored post. Swiping up the advertisement will likely allow users to view more information about the product or the business.
Navarra claims that the rollout of advertisements will begin next year, although beta versions of the messaging application distributed last year already implement ads.
Aside from rolling out advertisements on the messaging platform, Facebook will also deploy ads that open to WhatsApp in other social media platforms it owns, including Facebook and Instagram. These advertisements show a button or link which the user could press to switch to WhatsApp and send direct messages to businesses.
In addition to deploying advertisements, Facebook intends to monetize WhatsApp through the WhatsApp for Business platform, and this service will receive additional features within the next few weeks. This new functionality allows businesses to send files like images and pdf files along with their message. This feature allows owners to share more information with users or deliver files that customers need.
Furthermore, Navarra also mentioned that the WhatsApp’s existing product catalog will now be integrated with Facebook Business Manager. Product Catalog is a feature that allows users to view the products sold by businesses, and it also permits companies to share additional information about their offerings through private conversations with customers.
Integration with Facebook Business Manager makes it easier for establishments to manage WhatsApp accounts for business, alongside other ad accounts and pages present on the tech giant’s main social media platform.
The inclusion of advertisements on WhatsApp is a controversial topic that likely led to the departure of co-founders of the messaging platform from the social media giant Facebook. In an interview, Brian Acton, one of the co-founders of WhatsApp, noted that he left Facebook after the strategy of the social media giant for its messaging platform went contrary to the visions he had for WhatsApp, specifically in issues related to in-app advertising.
Acton repeatedly refused to introduce advertising on the messaging platform, and his departure eventually allowed Facebook to monetize its investment on WhatsApp through ads.
However, the inclusion of ads raises concerns about user privacy, more specifically about the data that can be extracted from private conversations. The issue related to security and privacy of user data was recently highlighted in a blog post by the founder of Telegram, Pavel Durov. Aside from issues related to privacy, Durov also highlighted poor security practices of the messaging platform, allowing surveillance agencies to snoop on its targets and prosecute them.