Whatsapp Will Start Showing Ads Soon

Ever since Whatsapp got acquired by Facebook, we have been watching Whatsapp bring in changes to the platform. Not a surprise there. However, it recently announced that it will share/synch its users’ account information with Facebook, and will allow businesses to find and shoot ads as messages.

Whatsapp CEO, Jan Koum, had said back in 2012 that advertising and user data are simple not what the company is interested in, and also that users are products when advertising is involved. But, four years later, and a billion dollar deal later, looks like things are taking a swing. Facebook is absolutely planning to milk every dollar out of the deal – Whatsapp updated its terms and privacy policy for the first time in four years to bring in businesses into the picture while still giving users an experience without third-party banner ads.

The update will share user account information to Facebook, but not messages. This can be avoided by following these steps to opt out within 30 days. Facebook will thus have information such as users’ phone numbers and contacts, and will use it to connect various accounts on Facebook, aiming to enable better and more relevant ads. According to Koum, collaborating with Facebook will enable not only better ads to Whatsapp users, but will also offer better friend suggestions. Through this coordination with Facebook, Whatsapp claims to be able to fight spam on the platform by tracking basic metrics.

“Even as we coordinate more with Facebook in the months ahead, your encrypted messages stay private and no one else can read them. Not WhatsApp, not Facebook, nor anyone else. We won’t post or share your WhatsApp number with others, including on Facebook, and we still won’t sell, share, or give your phone number to advertisers.”

The updated policy will allow businesses to send messages regarding order/transaction/appointment/shipment details. These messages can also include offers and product/service updates from businesses. This is a total déjà vu and takes us back to what Facebook did with Instagram after its acquisition. It first collaborated users’ accounts across the platforms, gathered as much information as possible about the users involved and finally applied the information to throw relevant ads to these users. Also, it is similar to how message ads from businesses started coming to messenger. Facebook sure has its sleeves rolled up this year. Wonder what’s next!?

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