WhatsApp, a popular instant messaging app owned by Meta, has been free for all users, but a shift is on the horizon. While the app offers all features without charge, this may change as WhatsApp is considering incorporating advertisements to boost it’s revenue.

The primary revenue stream for most social media apps is advertising, and nearly all such platforms feature paid advertisements. WhatsApp may soon join this trend, potentially affecting the user experience. However, the positive news is that ads will not intrude into the chat box or appear between messages; instead, they will be confined to other sections of the messaging app.

WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart confirmed this development in an interview with a Brazilian publication. During the interview, Cathcart discussed the app’s future and it’s role in generating more revenue for Meta. He clarified that ads would not disrupt the inbox or chat experience when asked about including ads in the app.

He said, “We don’t think that’s the right model. When they open their inbox, people don’t want to see advertising“. On the other hand, he did not rule out the idea of having ads. He also said that Public channels and statuses could eventually show ads, which makes sense.  Will Cathcart further said there are other ways to monetize the app, such as asking people to pay to join a channel. “Channels might charge people to subscribe, they might be exclusive to the paid members, or the owners might want to promote the channel”, said Cathcart.

While personal WhatsApp usage remains free, the app currently generates revenue through the WhatsApp Business API and the business app. The API enables small and large companies to connect with their customers through the platform, contributing significantly to the app’s yearly revenue of $10 billion.

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