One of the WhatsApp bosses has revealed that the apps “status” feature will soon be ‘filled’ with ads.
Unlike other Facebook companies, WhatsApp has always been resistant to advertising. Its original founders committing not to fund the app by harvesting data, for instance, which is central to Facebook’s business model.
But since it was bought, Facebook bosses have looked for a way to make money from the vast success of WhatsApp and have repeatedly suggested that ads could be on their way.
Now WhatsApp vice president Chris Daniels has suggested that its status feature could be the place to show those posts.
That will be the “primary monetisation mode for the company”, The Economic Times reported Mr. Daniels as saying. It will serve as “an opportunity for businesses to reach people”, he said.
The status feature is something like the stories tool that appears on Instagram and Facebook, as well as WhatsApp. It allows people to post updates that will appear to all of their friends, letting them share photos or text and then letting it disappear afterward.
WhatsApp has struggled to come up with ways to show its users ads: without a feed, like Instagram or Facebook, there are few places for them to be injected.
When it dropped its subscription fee in 2016, the company posted a blog post making clear that ads would never “interrupt your communication”, further adding to the issues about how advertising could be shown within the app.
But the status feature appears to have solved that problem, allowing WhatsApp to slide marketing posts in between updates from friends like it does with Instagram stories.
As well as serving as something like a feed, WhatsApp’s status feature has quickly become a huge part of the app. It now has a huge number of users and is more popular than many major apps like Snapchat.