WhatsApp, the popular messaging app with over 2 billion users worldwide, is navigating its way through an evolving ad strategy. Will Cathcart, the head of WhatsApp, recently clarified the company's stance on advertisements within the platform.
In a conversation with Brazilian media, Cathcart emphasized that WhatsApp has no intentions of showing ads in the main inbox. The core messaging experience will remain ad-free. However, other areas of the app might see advertising.
Cathcart explained, "The reason I qualified [sic] the answer is that there could be ads in other places - channels or status. For example, channels might charge people to subscribe, they might be exclusive to paid members or the owners might want to promote the channel. But, no, we won't put ads in your inbox."
WhatsApp had previously explored the idea of introducing ads in its Status feature, which is similar to Stories on other platforms. However, despite mentioning it as a possibility, no such ads have been rolled out as of now. A Meta spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch that Status ads are not currently being tested in any country, but the company did not provide further details on the matter.
Earlier this year, WhatsApp introduced the Channels feature, which allows users to create and join public and private channels for broadcasting messages to a wide audience. At the time of the launch, WhatsApp mentioned exploring tools like promotion within the Channels directory, hinting at potential advertising avenues.
Meta, WhatsApp's parent company, has not disclosed specific plans or timelines for introducing ads in either the Status or Channels features. Until now, WhatsApp has primarily relied on business messaging and click-to-WhatsApp ads on platforms like Facebook to generate revenue.
While WhatsApp users can breathe a sigh of relief knowing their main inbox will remain ad-free, the possibility of ads in Status and Channels suggests that the platform is actively exploring new revenue streams, aligning with evolving trends in the messaging app landscape.