When Facebook bought WhatsApp for 19 billion back in 2014 a lot of people were baffled as to why Facebook would spend so much money on an app that had no business model. Though WhatsApp didn’t have a clear business model, they had a bucket load of users and it seems like Facebook might reap the financial rewards of that purchase 6 years later in 2020.
Facebook has confirmed that ads will arrive in their apps Statuses next year. The ads you’ll see on your phone will work similarly to the ads on Instagram, which take up the entire screen.
Ads here, ads there, ads everywhere
Considering that WhatsApp has over a billion users this will be a gold mine for Facebook but it’s not exactly clear what the impact will be on users. One thing we know, is that users consuming any service are not usually big fans of ads but users will put up with ads for a free service (as we’ve seen with most social media companies).
The only bit of this equation that has me worried is that in order for Facebook to make advertising on WhatsApp worth it for advertisers they may have to give away some user data. That way advertisers can target users more accurately and increase chances of conversions.
This model has been widely accepted on social media but it’s not clear how acceptable it would be in a far more personal messaging service. It’s also not clear what data Facebook will be willing to give away with advertisers to make the service lucrative but this will definitely be a more unique approach and it will be interesting to see what the response from users will be.