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Messaging app WhatsApp has been providing its services for free to its 1.5 billion users spread over 180 countries. The company now plans to generate revenue from the app through ads. WhatsApp’s parent company, Facebook, has confirmed that the messaging app would start serving advertisements in 2020.

At the annual Facebook Marketing Summit in the Netherlands, Facebook has revealed that WhatsApp would start showing ads from 2020. The initial plan is to feature ads in the WhatsApp Stories section, just like Instagram and Facebook Stories. Olivier Ponteville, the media head at BeConnectAgency, uploaded a few images from the event on Twitter to show how ads would be incorporated in WhatsApp.

The photos suggest that ads would be shown between WhatsApp Stories. The demo also indicates that ads would be displayed entirely on the screen and come with a link that can be swiped up to redirect to the website. This is similar to how ads work on Instagram.

Facebook did have plans in the past to introduce ads on WhatsApp for generating revenue. This is also the very reason why WhatsApp’s former CEO and co-founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton decided to quit the company over disagreements with Mark Zuckerberg.

At the summit, the company also revealed that it would include richer message formats and introduce product catalogues for WhatsApp Business. Facebook at F8 had announced that, in a bid to improve user experience while chatting with businesses, the company is testing a feature that would enable businesses to add their product catalogue directly into chats. The feature would be useful to small businesses that do not necessarily have a website and can use the platform to promote their products. Users can check the list of products through the catalogue without leaving the app.
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