Are Advertisements Okay in Chat Apps?

More ads are coming...
"If you are not paying for it, you are the product" is the mantra widely adopted by many internet companies today, and frankly we are used to it. But where do you draw the line on intrusive tailored ads in a free service? Given that you can only show so many of them in a given time frame without annoying the user, it's no surprise companies are looking for different ways to deliver ads.

Facebook, which last year warned it's running out of places in News Feed to show ads, began experimenting with advertisements in the middle of videos earlier this January, and today it has announced its expansion to Messenger with sponsored targeted ads (see image). The feature, already under testing in Australia and Thailand since the start of the year, is expected to roll out to its 1.2 billion users worldwide by the end of 2017, according to VentureBeat.

As instant messaging becomes the next platform for delivering content, apps like Line and WeChat have taken the ecommerce route to monetisation, while other rivals, like WhatsApp and Apple (including Messenger), are luring corporates with business chat features. Google, for its part, may still lack a clear messaging strategy, but it, like Facebook, has been bundling quite a few AI features in hopes of attracting new users. Whatever be the primary messaging app of your choice, it's clear the battle for the next ecosystem is on.