Last week after Facebook announced a $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp, the founders of the tech startup said that the app would remain the same with no ad integration whatsoever. Jan Koum, the CEO of WhatsApp, even went as far as calling advertising ugly, insulting and interruptive. Yeah, but we’ve heard that before #amiright.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we:
With complaints that Facebook is too ad heavy becoming more and more prevalent, it’s quite hilarious to think that Mark Zuckerberg was once on an anti-advertising crusade for his social network.
Biz Stone, co- founder of Twitter, once said, “advertising, it’s just not quite as interesting to us.” Twitter, you know, the social network inundated with native ads.
Initially, the founders of Google (the largest Internet advertising company) were notoriously against ad integration, scared it would tarnish their brand. Ha!
“We’re pretty opposed to advertising, it really turns our stomachs” – that was David Karp, founder of Tumblr. The same man who just sold Tumblr to Yahoo for a cool $1 billion (who’ve already announced ad integration).
In spite of Jan Koums’ claims, inevitably the pressure of being a profitable investment will force WhatsApp to evolve, so what can we expect?
1. Compulsory Facebook Login
Considering WhatsApp’s dominance and extraordinary growth in markets that Facebook has failed to captivate, a compulsory Facebook login would instantly convert millions of users – putting Facebook in pockets all around the world.
2. Media Integration
In a way to subtly introduce ads, it’s predicted that platforms like Spotify and Vevo will be integrated into the app.
3. Brand Communication Tool
Suggestions that Facebook Fan Pages be integrated into WhatsApp would make the messaging app an incredibly valuable communication tool.
4. Data Analytics
The potential for brands to mine the lucrative data analytics that WhatsApp can provide is possibly the most exciting part about the acquisition.
For now, WhatsApp will remain the same but the imminent opportunities this acquisition presents are definitely exciting. How will WhatsApp fit into your future?
Lachlan Stewart is the Social Media Coordinator at BCM