In 2019, it was announced at the Facebook Marketing Summit that advertisements would be appearing in WhatsApp Status. Recently, Facebook disclosed it has quit plans to start posting ads on WhatsApp.
— Olivier Ponteville (@Olivier_Ptv) May 21, 2019
According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, the team that was set up to work on integrating ads to the app was dissolved and as a result, their work was “deleted from WhatsApp’s code”. Though the app up to this time is ad-free, Facebook still plans to harmonise ads into WhatsApp’s Status feature.
The report further said that Facebook's plan to monetise WhatsApp is part of what made WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum exit the company in 2018, closely followed months after by his fellow co-founder Brian Acton.
Also, the drawback in putting ads on WhatsApp has led Facebook to alternatively focus on WhatsApp features that will “allow businesses to communicate with customers and organize those contacts.”
Acquired for $22 billion (₦7,974,956,000) in 2014 by Facebook, WhatsApp is one of the most used social media platforms in the world and in Nigeria especially, according to a report. And with new features been added to the Facebook-owned apps, it may seem that the company is unrelenting in making its platform indispensable.
It can be recalled that in 2019, Facebook introduced ‘catalogs’ to its WhatsApp Business app and also Facebook Pay to the market. These features are however yet to be available in the African market.
Presuming that ads on WhatsApp would be ultimately launched, the WhatsApp status feature which was copied from Snapchat stories might be carrying ads in between the status just like Instagram stories.
On a brighter note, ads in between WhatsApp stories would be of an advantage to small business owners who already use their WhatsApp status as a tool to market their services. Additionally, these businesses could also create ads to target their prospective customers on the app.
It would also be another huge source of revenue for Facebook as WhatsApp is yet to be monetised while Facebook and Instagram are already generating revenue for the company via customer replies through its new WhatsApp Business API, Facebook Marketplace, ads placement on Instagram and so on.