One of Meta’s flagship apps could have new revenue streams in the future. Will Cathcart, WhatsApp’s president, said the company is considering placing ads in Channels or Statuses. Currently, services for small businesses and large companies are the main source of revenue for the messenger.
Cathcart’s statement was given in an interview with Folha de S.Paulo. The executive explained that WhatsApp is not preparing or even discussing ads in the inbox the app’s Chats screen.
On the other hand, Cathcart says he made this distinction because other areas of the app may receive ads. He mentions two: Channels and Statuses.
Status ads have been discussed for years in 2020, it was already expected that they would be launched. Since this feature is very similar to Facebook and Instagram Stories, it’s not hard to imagine and implement the format. On other networks, advertisements appear when the user jumps from one contact’s posts to the next.
Channels, on the other hand, are a recent feature they were released to all countries in September 2023. They function as public pages, which can be followed by other users. Telegram has had a similar feature for years.
Cathcart says that channel owners could charge subscriptions and make them exclusive, or they could promote their channels on the app.
WhatsApp makes money with features for businesses
In the same interview, the president of WhatsApp explains what are, today, the two main ways that the app uses to make money.
The first is services for small businesses, such as advertising your numbers on Facebook and Instagram. Since these smaller businesses usually don’t have websites and solve everything through WhatsApp, getting your number seen is very important.
The second is services for large companies. WhatsApp offers a paid API for integration with existing customer service systems. Thus, consumers can talk to businesses using the app, and the business can respond using its current customer service system.
According to Cathcart, Meta’s messaging tools including Facebook Messenger and Instagram generate $10 billion a year.