Facebook ‘Backing Away’ from Selling Ads Inside WhatsApp

Facebook has decided not to sell ads inside WhatsApp. The company has disbanded the team working on this feature in recent months and deleted all their work from WhatsApp’s code.

The decision to show ads inside WhatsApp was one of the major reasons for the app’s co-founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton to resign from Facebook in 2016.

Facebook had acquired WhatsApp for $16 billion in 2014 and planned to show ads inside the service to monetize the app. While the company still intends to show ads in WhatsApp Status, it now won’t do so in any other part of the app.

WhatsApp in recent months disbanded a team that had been established to find the best ways to integrate ads into the service, according to people familiar with the matter. The team’s work was then deleted from WhatsApp’s code, the people said.

Instead of monetizing the app by showing ads, WhatsApp will now focus on features that will allow businesses to better communicate with customers. The company had also announced a couple of years ago that it intends to charge businesses using its platform for slow replies to customers.

Our Take

While Facebook’s decision to not sell ad spots inside WhatsApp is a good one, it remains to be seen how much the company is able to monetize the app using business tools. WhatsApp is primarily used for personal messaging among consumers, though in parts of Asia, it is also used by companies for quickly communicating updates to their customers.

[Via WSJ]