WhatsApp to completely change in 2020 with advertisements, richer formats, & more

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New Delhi | Published: May 22, 2019 3:23:38 PM

WhatsApp's Chris Daniels had confirmed that advertisements will be coming to the app soon

When Facebook detailed its monetisation plans for the world’s most popular chat app WhatsApp, it was not received well. But Facebook is adamantly moving ahead with its plans to inject advertisements to WhatsApp Status, a clone of Instagram Stories that itself was copied from Snapchat. But it was not clear when those plans will be coming to fruition. Now, the uneasy question of when WhatsApp is finally getting advertisements seems to have been answered.

At the Facebook Marketing Summit organised in the Netherlands, the Mark Zuckerberg-led company said advertisements will roll out to WhatsApp Status as early as 2020. According to Olivier Ponteville, who heads media at the Be Connect agency, WhatsApp advertisements will be one of the several changes that have been pipelined by the company. The advertisements on WhatsApp will be similar to those available on Instagram Stories. In a carousel of Stories, the brands throw in advertisements that play automatically along with the ones from contacts.

WhatsApp will copy this pattern to show advertisements to the users. It is one of the plans that Facebook has devised to monetise WhatsApp. The other one is customer engagement on the WhatsApp Business app, which was recently introduced. But WhatsApp Business is getting more features – there will be a rich messaging format available in the app that will support formats such as image+text and PDF+text. It is not clear whether these features will make it to WhatsApp Messenger.

Facebook also said that the WhatsApp product catalogue will be ‘integrated’ with the existing Facebook Business Manager catalogue. This would mean that all the products will be accessible to both platforms. Any other details beyond this information are not available yet.

Last year, WhatsApp vice president Chris Daniels confirmed, at an India event, that advertisements on the platform are imminent. The reactions were mostly negative to the speculation, including the ones shared by prominent figures. Brian Acton, who left Facebook last year, proactively spoke up about the malpractices rampant inside the company that have often come as contradictory to WhatsApp’s ethos. Besides Acton, many ex-employees of Facebook have been vocal about the company’s plans to drive more money at the expense of customer’s data.

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