Last Updated: September 19, 2023, 10:00 IST
WhatsApp chief rubbished media reports that the platform is exploring ads for its users. The messaging app started off as the go-to option for chats, making the traditional SMSs redundant and offering iPhone users the best alternative to iMessage and letting them chat with Android users.
WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook (now part of Meta) for $16 billion as per the official records, and most people were surprised to see such a hefty price tag for a messaging platform. Industry experts since then have forecasted WhatsApp eventually getting ads, something that other Meta-owned products like Instagram and Facebook extensively rely on for their revenues.
WhatsApp’s valuation was based on the huge user base it already had and the potential to acquire millions in the years since the official takeover was confirmed. So, when Will Cathcart said the report from FT was wrong earlier this month, it didn’t exactly close the chapter about the rumours of bringing ads on WhatsApp.
In fact, the murmurs have only increased and Meta’s prior history with these kinds of promises doesn’t leave us with a lot of confidence that it won’t introduce ads on your WhatsApp chat screen.
And if Meta does backtrack on its statement, it won’t be a shocking move, as the company has been gradually laying the groundwork for bringing ads to the platform, especially with its cross-platform integration moving in full swing.
Imagine the day when you have ads sprinkled over the WhatsApp chat screen, a platform that supposedly offers end-to-end encryption and lets you chat with people securely. WhatsApp could sell the space to brands, who might get other benefits to connect with these WhatsApp users.
All these reasons are strong enough to suggest that just because WhatsApp has said it is not planning for ads doesn’t mean the company won’t change its stance later.
Apple has been vocal about the need to minimise ads, but now you have ads showing up on the Apple App Store. Meta has thrived on digital advertising for years, and WhatsApp could be the next bet to boost revenue. As we said, we won’t be shocked to see this happen in the coming years.