Yes, you heard that right, Whatsapp is going to be introducing advertising to their platform in 2020 with Facebook (parent company to Whatsapp) making the announcement at its marketing conference.
The reason Facebook has decided to do this is like most reasons companies go into the business - to make money.
Currently, Whatsapp is a free to use service that users don’t have to pay for and hasn’t been monetised at the time of writing.
Just like Facebook + Instagram, nearly all of the revenue generated from these platforms are from advertising.
Promotional images will appear in Whatsapp’s status feature, which looks very similar to the stories feature on Instagram and Facebook.
There will be 4 ways for businesses to use Whatsapp advertising as far as we know:
Whatsapp Status - ads appear between updates, like Instagram Stories
Business account holders will be able to message customers
Facebook + Whatsapp will be linked with Facebook ads giving users the ability to speak to business owners directly (perfect for local trade businesses)
Whatsapp product catalogue will also be integrated with existing Facebook Business Manager catalogues
Brian Acton left the company not long ago and some believe he was concerned about the privacy concerns with regards to Facebook using data from users to advertise to them.
The original founder goes against the promise he made about never bringing advertising to Whatsapp.
Here’s what he said on Facebook in one of his posts announcing his departure:
Businesses will be able to message users with promotions and advertising using chat windows.
We’ve already seen the rise of messenger chatbots on Facebook with many marketing experts touting them as the future of advertising and customer service so this could be highly lucrative for businesses who take advantage of the Whatsapp platform.
Facebook insisted at the time that messages sent between WhatsApp’s users would remain encrypted.
However, a number of security experts have said that it could be possible for Facebook to derive keywords from people’s messages and use them to target people.
Users will be able to click on the ads and then upon clicking, be redirected to the advertiser's website where they can talk with the brand.