Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger to become ad supported

Facebook Messenger will become ad supported and Facebook is currently investigating whether it will also add advertisements to Whatsapp, said David Marcus, head of Facebook’s messaging products during a conference.

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Besides developing Facebook Messenger, the company also acquired Whatsapp. The popular messaging app has currently more than 700 million active users, while Facebook Messenger, which is required to send private messages on Facebook, is used by more than 500 million users.

Although both apps have a huge user base, they don’t generate any profits for Facebook. Whatsapp always stated they would never add advertisements to their application, but Marcus now states this might change. Facebook will first investigate how it can generate revenues with Messenger and then copy that method to Whatsapp.

Shortly after Facebook acquired Whatsapp, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated the company had no short term plans to make money from Whatsapp. The founder of Whatsapp, Jan Koum also promised that the messaging app would have “No Ads, No Games, No Gimmicks.”

According to Marcus, Messenger shouldn’t be filled with ads and the company is investigating different ways of advertising. Instead of banners also sponsored messages could be an option. The main priority however is to generate revenue with the messaging apps, but according to Marcus Facebook isn’t in a hurry. According to him Facebook is betting on different horses to eventually find a way to generate revenue.

One example is that Facebook is investigating whether Messenger can used by companies to communicate directly with their customers, such as a customer who bought a plane ticket but still has a couple of questions.

Marcus promises that there are no plans to merge Whatsapp and Messenger because the apps both offer different possibilities. Whatsapp is, according to Marcus, mainly a text app which is available for nearly every mobile phone. Messenger on the other side, is according to him, mediarich but only targets Android and iOS and Facebook has the goal to have a billion monthly users for each of its messaging apps.