Whatsapp VP, Chris Daniels, has confirmed that sometimes during the first trimester of 2019 the company will start showing ads in the ‘Status’ section of the app.
The idea behind this bold move is to make ads the main monetization mode for Whatsapp and enable businesses to reach their target audience.
In an effort to refresh our memory, we should remember that the application’s “status” feature is primarily made for users to post content such as photos, videos and text intended to stay around for only 24 hours– just like Snapchat and Instagram ads.
Are Advertisers Ready for Whatsapp’s New Functionality?
It does not come as a surprise that Facebook–at 1.5 billion users–decided to make money out of Whatsapp ads.
Now, advertisers will attain their mass audience while marketing their goods and services.
However, there are a number of warnings which concerns Whatsapp’s real mission.
Differently from Instagram and Snapchat, Whatsapp was essentially conceived to serve as a reliable and private communication tool. Some might even argue that by displaying ads, Whatsapp is violating its fundamental privacy value.
Advertising professionals are of the same mind, highlighting the need for pertinent and interesting content on ads.
So, what brands can do to familiarize themselves with this uncluttered and closed environment is to begin with test campaigns.
On the other hand, personalized content will enable advertisers to engage with audiences as if they are discussing with a friend.
Until now, the whole idea behind Whatsapp was to only serve as a free messaging app without asking users for further information–it didn’t matter to know one’s email address or age–the phone number was a pretty reliable credential.
Flashback to a 2014 statement made by Whatsapp
“Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA, and we built WhatsApp around the goal of knowing as little about you as possible.
You don’t have to give us your name and we don’t ask for your email address.
We don’t know your birthday.
We don’t know your home address.
We don’t know where you work. We don’t know your likes, what you search for on the internet or collect your GPS location.
None of that data has ever been collected and stored by WhatsApp, and we really have no plans to change that.”
To say the least , this decision has sparked outrage among Whatsapp “loyal” users as they are already talking about dropping the application as soon as the ads start showing in their “status” section.
From our side of the game, we are quiet curious to see which ad format will perform better on Whatsapp once companies start testing different ad types.
With an online audience of 1.5 billion users, the Facebook-owned company might represent a one in a million opportunity for businesses to actually engage in real time conversation with their customers.
Even though advertising on Whatsapp seems challenging now, some marketers are willing to take a chance on the app.
Its convenient interface and uncluttered design invites businesses to engage with their audience, and eventually build brand awareness.