WhatsApp: what are the new in-app messages for

WhatsApp launches a new feature: now it can send us messages directly inside the app, but will they also be used for advertising?

The famous instant messaging app changes again: WhatsApp introduces a new feature and, at the same time, changes its terms of service. And the new feature is being used by WhatsApp itself to show off the new terms: the latest innovation from WhatsApp is in fact in-app messages.

In-app messages, or ads, consist of a new form of notification to the user that is not sent to the normal notification area of the smartphone but is visible only when you open the app. Messages are clickable and can take the user to a site outside of the app or to other screens to make them perform a gesture. With this potential, it's a given that everyone is already asking the usual question: will WhatsApp's new in-app ads be used for advertising purposes?

Whichsapp in-app messages: how they work

First of all, let's specify that WhatsApp's new in-app ads feature will be for everyone and is not one of the many new features reserved for beta testers: it was in fact included in the latest stable version for the general public of Android and iOS apps.

At the moment, it is only used to show the new terms of service on the American apps: a small banner appears in overlay, which has the peculiarity of not having the classic "X" for closing. The banner, therefore, remains until the user performs the required action. In this case, the action is to read WhatsApp's new terms of service.

When the user taps on the message, a tab opens up that very briefly summarizes what's new in the terms of service and contains clickable links, which lead to further insights, and a large button to accept the new terms. Once you accept the terms, the in-app message disappears and doesn't appear anymore.

Whichsapp in-app messages: will they be used for advertising?

In-app messages made this way, then, are quite invasive: if the user doesn't read the message, the banner doesn't go away. This suggests that it is unlikely that this feature (at least in this form) will be used to convey advertising through WhatsApp apps: it would be too annoying for users, who would rebel en masse.

The new in-app ads, more likely, will be used to alert users about some changes in the service or the arrival of new features. That is, at most, to advertise WhatsApp itself and push users to try out new features and continue using the app.

Many of WhatsApp's new features, in fact, are not immediately visible to users: just think of the new custom backgrounds, which the user has to go and set in every single chat. If you don't know you have them, you never will. The same goes for ephemeral messages: if you don't know them, you won't use them.

Another possible use of in-app messages will be to warn the user if soon his smartphone will no longer be compatible with WhatsApp: the platform, in fact, as time goes by, stops supporting older smartphones.