A hot potato: For as long as it’s been around, WhatsApp has avoided shoehorning ads into the app, but that’s about to end. Company vice-president Chris Daniels has confirmed to Outlook India that advertisements are coming to the world’s most popular messaging platform, and they’ll appear in the ‘Status’ section.
The Status section is essentially WhatsApp’s version of Instagram/Facebook’s Stories: a place where users can post text, photos, videos, and GIFs that disappear after 24 hours. The feature is one of several that the Facebook family of apps ‘borrowed’ from Snapchat.
“We are going to be putting ads in ‘Status’. That is going to be primary monetization mode for the company as well as an opportunity for businesses to reach people on WhatsApp,” said Daniels.
WhatsApp had always insisted that it would stay away from ads, but the writing was on the wall when Facebook bought the company for around $19 billion in 2014. Speaking about the deal, WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton recently said: "At the end of the day, I sold my company. I sold my users' privacy to a larger benefit. I made a choice and a compromise. I live with that every day." Acton also said that Facebook had plans to push ads onto WhatsApp even before the acquisition was complete.
No word on when these targeted ads might arrive, though they’re expected to hit WhatsApp early next year.