Facebook-owned WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging applications out there. With over 1.5 billion active monthly users from around the world, there is no service that can boast of a wider userbase. Facebook had unveiled plans in 2018 to monetize WhatsApp by selling ads, a decision that WhatsApp’s founders were strongly against. Now, according to a new report, Facebook has dropped the ideas of selling ads on WhatsApp for now.
To monetize WhatsApp, Facebook had reportedly hired a team to do it in the most efficient manner. The report from The Wall Street Journal reports that people familiar with this matter have revealed that this team has now been disbanded. The work that the team had undertaken has also been deleted from WhatsApp’s code.
Although, it’s important to know that the idea of introducing ads on WhatsApp hasn’t been completely dropped. The social media giant still plans to introduce ads to the WhatsApp Status feature at some point in the future. The implementation is expected to be similar to that of Snapchat’s.
At the moment, Facebook is shifting its focus on generating revenue from businesses by allowing them to communicate with their customers. WhatsApp for Business currently allows businesses to sort automatically respond to queries. It can also show in-app product catalogs. Hence, instead of making money from end-customers by introducing ads to WhatsApp, Facebook could improve monetization on the Business side of things.
WhatsApp, when launched in 2009, was actually a paid application. The application was eventually made free and the fee was converted to an annual subscription fee of $0.99. This subscription fee was also subsequently dropped when Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014. Since then, WhatsApp has been a completely free service. This and the introduction of calling and video calling are major reasons why WhatsApp is the most widely used messaging application in the world right now.