Omar Oakes
Jan 20, 2020

Facebook rethinks plan to insert ads into WhatsApp

Team tasked with integrating advertising into app has reportedly disbanded.

WhatsApp: features end-to-end messaging encryption
WhatsApp: features end-to-end messaging encryption

Facebook has reportedly abandoned its plan to introduce ads to messaging service WhatsApp this year. 

The social media giant, whose revenue is completely dependent on advertising, has disbanded the team in charge of integrating ads into WhatsApp, according to The Wall Street Journal

Facebook is now reportedly rethinking its approach to generating revenue from the messaging platform, which it bought for US$19bn in 2014. As well as charging a $1 subscription fee in some regions (until 2016), Facebook had planned to monetise the popularity of WhatsApp through advertising.

Instead, Facebook will now focus on features that allow businesses to communicate with customers and organise those contacts, the WSJ reported, quoting an unnamed source. 

WhatsApp, which has an estimated 1.6 billion monthly active users worldwide, has made privacy an essential part of its brand and uses end-to-end encryption when people send each other messages. 

However, this private environment makes monetisation difficult: users have long used the platform without the intrusion of ad formats, while advertisers are not given access to in-depth user data that would allow for ad targeting.

Mobbie Nazir, chief strategy officer at We Are Social, told Campaign: "Partly the environment on WhatsApp isn't right for ads – but that's similar for all social media, where people go to connect with their friends and family, not to be sold to. This issue of advertising on social platforms is a challenge – but brands should see WhatsApp's move as a good thing, a reminder that we can't just pay to get attention. It forces us to think about the value equation.

"Whatever WhatsApp's intentions are with advertising, there's still plenty of ways for Facebook to start to recoup its investment – metered access to the platform, building e-commerce capabilities or monetising WhatsApp data through its other platforms, for example.

Nevertheless, in November 2018, WhatsApp confirmed that it would soon allow companies to purchase ads within WhatsApp Status, its version of Stories, the short-form content stream format found on Instagram and Snapchat. 

Facebook was unable to immediately respond to a request for comment from Campaign.

Source:
Campaign UK

Related Articles

Just Published

4 hours ago

LinkedIn logs out: Is it the end of the road for ...

SOUNDING BOARD: Industry experts weigh in on the future for LinkedIn and other non-native tech platforms in China, as the business-networking site confirms it will shrink to a jobs board in the market.

4 hours ago

Japan continues to witness high ad fraud while ...

Grappling with high CPMs, Japan and Singapore report some of the highest fraud rates for IAS, while local brands pull rates down in Indonesia.

5 hours ago

Digital Media Awards 2022: Call for entries

The DMAs celebrate outstanding ideas, work, agencies, brands and talent in the Greater China region.

5 hours ago

BrandZ China: Tencent overtakes Alibaba; Kuaishou, ...

The top 100 most valuable brands in China gained 57% in brand value year-over-year, reaching $1.56 trillion, according to Kantar's latest ranking.