WhatsApp, a free and popular messaging Facebook-owned app, is set to be no more ad-free. It its not clear when the exact date in which the ads will be implemented into the platform.
“As we said last year, we will start showing ads in status in the future,” a WhatsApp spokesperson in an e-mail to Communicate. The announcement was officially confirmed by Facebook at its recent Facebook Marketing Summit in the Netherlands, stating that the ads will be launched on the app by 2020.
The Head of Media at Be Connect Agency, Olivier Ponteville, tweeted, “WhatsApp will bring Stories Ads in its status product in 2020.” He also tweeted a picture of a slide, alongside, showing how ads will be featured on WhatsApp.
— Olivier Ponteville (@Olivier_Ptv) May 21, 2019
Introduction of WhatsApp ads is expected to open up a new market for advertising agencies. As an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mass Communication at the American University of Sharjah, Dr Mohammed Ibahrine said, “Brands and agencies will always explore any opportunities in any digital platform.” He added “WhatsApp is still an uncharted medium and thus less ad-cluttered. So, it is a great place for engagement and for personal communication where cultivation of long and lasting relations can thrive.”
However, the platform’s previous ad-free feature might prove to be a challenge for agencies to ease into targeting their audiences. “The challenge is how brands and agencies can tell branded stories in a tactical, creative, and targeted approach. As usual, brands need to test the effectiveness of their ads on this platform and strategically evaluate ROIs before making any major digital media decisions,” Dr Mohammed Ibahrine added.
The advertisements will pop up on the stories of WhatsApp’s status section, similar to story advertisements on Instagram. Users can use the status section to upload pictures, videos and texts that will disappear in 24 hours.
“The launch of WhatsApp ads would positively affect business by increasing traffic. As a messaging platform that people use every day, if utilised properly, businesses could benefit from a lot of ads in terms of revenues and visibility,” said Mukesh Pandey, Marketing Director of Leads Dubai.
The ads will fill up the full frame as the stories with the company’s name on top and users can swipe up for more information on the product or services displayed.
Previous, co-founders of WhatsApp, Brian Acton and Jan Koum departed the company in November 2017 and April 2018 respectively, following tensions regarding monetizing WhatsApp with ads, an idea they opposed.