Facebook is bringing in-app ads to WhatsApp

Facebook will be bringing in-app ads to WhatsApp in 2020, according to an announcement at the Facebook Marketing Summit in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Facebook said the full screen ads will pop up within WhatsApp Statuses, much like Instagram Stories. To learn more about the ad, users can swipe up and be redirected via an embedded link.

According to the slides from the summit, Facebook wants users to communicate with business via WhatsApp, with its first new ad feature called “Ads that Click to WhatsApp(FB).” The second ad feature, focused on Instagram is called “Ads that Click to WhatsApp(IG).” The third does not have a confirmed title but involves bringing in-app ads to the status section of WhatsApp and then promoting it on Facebook.

The more than 1.5bn current WhatsApp users are reacting with mixed messages, considering when the app was originally launched, its creators promised an ad-free environment. Since the app was purchased by Facebook in 2014 for $19bn, users have increased dramatically, but Facebook is much keener on advertisements. Before 2014, users were charged a 99-cent yearly membership fee to cover the cost of running WhatsApp. 

Facebook has been under scrutiny for years now, following multiple privacy scandals. Some WhatsApp users are weary of Facebook selling their data to advertisers or exposing their personal information for financial gain.