WhatsApp chief confused media reports that the platform is investigating ads for its users. The messaging app introduced the option to start conversations, making traditional text messages redundant and giving iPhone users the best alternative to iMessage and allowing them to chat with Android users.
Facebook (now part of Meta) bought WhatsApp for $16 billion, according to official records, and most people were surprised to see such a hefty price tag for the messaging platform. Industry experts have since predicted that WhatsApp will eventually receive advertising, which other Meta-owned products such as Instagram and Facebook rely heavily on for revenue.
WhatsApp’s valuation was based on the huge user base it already has and the potential to acquire millions over the years after the official takeover is confirmed. So when Will Cathcart said the FT’s report was wrong earlier this month, it didn’t quite close the chapter on rumors about bringing ads to WhatsApp.
In fact, the rumblings have only increased, and Meta’s past history with promises like this doesn’t leave us with much confidence that it won’t bring ads to your WhatsApp chat screen.
And if Meta backs off 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 as its cross-platform integration is in full swing.
Imagine the day you have ads on your WhatsApp chat screen, a platform that supposedly offers end-to-end encryption and allows you to chat with people securely. WhatsApp could sell the space to brands who can get other benefits from connecting with these WhatsApp users.
All of these reasons are strong enough to suggest that just because WhatsApp has said it doesn’t plan to advertise, it doesn’t mean the company won’t change its stance later.
Apple has talked about the need to minimize ads, but now ads appear in the Apple App Store. Meta has been successful in digital advertising for years, and WhatsApp could be the next push to increase revenue. Like we said, we’re not shocked to see this happen in the coming years.